Archive for November, 2012

Rich and compassionate?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Nov. 26, 2012

My post-election blog brought negative responses from readers in California and the UK.

A reader in California wrote, “Fairness, compassion and concern for our fellow man is what attracted the blacks, Hispanics, young people, and women to the Democrats. Romney, the Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers do not comprehend these needs. … He [Romney] would have been the BOSS, making the USA more competitive by reducing workers salaries.  A nation of big business and big banks.  We all know the concept of trickle-down growth is a sham.  Your win-win economic approach would increase more wealth for the rich, but who wants to live that way.”

The reader in the UK wrote, “Vast riches abound in the United States that it is nothing short of obscene that there is so much poverty and so much sadness abroad throughout the land. I have to look beyond the political agenda and instead turn to face the moral decay that infects so much of society. It’s not a matter of economics it’s a matter of compassion, a matter of helping out those less fortunate than ourselves. The fact that a rather less than bright multi billionaire with questionable views considers himself the man to lead the free world beggars belief…if the Republican party ever wish to see power again they will have to find a presidential candidate who appeals to the less fortunate and the less well heeled. Vastly wealthy right wingers don’t cut it with the working class.”

Even a wealthy retired doctor I know here in Madison said he would not vote for Romney because he was “too rich.”

Should being rich disqualify you from political office? Winston Churchill was rich. I would bet my UK friend that most of the leaders of the socialist Labor Party in his country today are a lot richer than he or I. So are many Democratic leaders of past and present: FDR, the Kennedy’s, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Jay Rockefeller, Diane Feinstein and a host of others—including Barack Obama.

Can a rich man (or a rich nation) be compassionate?

As Al Smith, a former Democratic Presidential nominee said, “let’s look at the record.”

The left leaning UK newspaper The Guardian reported recently on the World Giving Index put out by the Christian Aid Foundation. It looked at each country’s record for giving to charities, helping strangers and volunteering to help others. Australia, New Zealand and Ireland were the top compassionate countries, followed in order by Canada, Switzerland, United States, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Surprisingly, the Scandinavian welfare states Sweden, Norway and Denmark scored below poor countries like Turkmenistan, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Guatemala.

The OECD Life Satisfaction Index is a measure of health, happiness, pride, education and general life satisfaction. Both the UK and U.S. scored higher than the European average, the U.S. slightly higher than the UK. The bottom 20% had a lower score than the top 20% in all countries. Our bottom 20% was (slightly) lower than the UK bottom, and our top 20% was (slightly) higher than the UK. Our low 20% had the same score on Life Satisfaction as the comparable group in France, and better than the poorest 20% in Italy or Spain.

I don’t put much faith in these subjective measurement rankings but at the least they call into question the wholesale subjectives of my friends in California and the UK.

I do object vigorously to “we all know the concept of trickle-down growth is a sham.” Not so. Here the evidence is clear and solid for the opposite view. The long-run proof is the American Dream itself. For over two hundred years we have had unprecedented growth in population, resources and real wealth in all western countries that have capitalist “trickle-down” economies. This unprecedented growth has happened with all classes, especially the middle but it has been true also for the poorest among us.

Almost certainly these huge increases are due to the free-market capitalist principles that the moral philosopher Adam Smith listed in 1776 in his book, The Wealth of Nations. To get wealthier wrote Smith, three things are necessary—private property, specialization of labor, and free trade—free-market win-win trickle-down capitalism in other words. If the government (and Smith stressed that a strong government was vital) can protect and promote these three things wealth will follow as night follows day.

And so it came to pass. Our bloody Civil War and the dreadful two World Wars that shook the faith of so many intellectuals were hangovers from the constant wars of the ten-thousand-year-long agricultural age, zero-sum fights for resources and wealth. Only after the Second World War did the victors learn the win-win lesson of capitalism and instead of punishing the losers, helped them recover and join the free trade competition and community.

The decades after WW2 have been remarkably pacific compared to earlier ages. The challenge of an outdated Muslim world may change the 21st century picture but that is not the fault of win-win capitalism, it’s one more of the century-long challenges moving from the ten-thousand-year-long agricultural age to the only two-hundred-year-young scientific and industrial age of free-market liberal democracy.

For instance…

For the last three decades, using the same “trickle-down” win-win capitalist principles, we have seen spectacular economic growth in many non-western countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and Korea. These are countries where famine, disease epidemics, desperate poverty and violent repressions were the norm just a few decades ago when they followed command-economy socialist policies. These policies do manage to spread the wealth—but talk about sham! They  make everyone equally poor and equally oppressed. Capitalism does lead to inequalities but it also leads, with minimal coercion, to vast increases in income, wealth and wellbeing for everyone—rich, middle class and poor.

Leftists today often quote Gini coefficients (measures of wealth inequality) to prove how brutally unequal we are in the U.S. The latest Gini numbers released by the OECD do show that the U.S. has a (slightly) higher quotient than other western democracies including the UK. And yes, inequality has increased in the U.S. by 16.4% since the early 1970s. Leftists don’t point out that inequality in the UK has increased by 21.6% over the same period. Even in Sweden (often cited as a model) inequality has increased by 18.1%, more than in the U.S. over the same period.

Leftists also don’t tell you that the great bulk of the large increases in national wealth (GDP) in all western democracies since the 1970s, have not gone to the rich. Most of the money has been used for massive increases in social welfare benefits, especially in this country on the local and state levels. It’s true that the middle classes and poor did not get the big increases in pay or personal wealth that the top 20% did. The middle classes and the poor however did get very large increases in health care, pensions, early retirement, education and other entitlement and environmental benefits. These benefits for the most part have been paid for by taxes on the rich. Unfortunately lately governments have relied more and more on borrowing from grandchildren and working Chinese.

To add to the uncertainty about inequality the Gini coefficients of the European countries in most serious trouble now—Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and France—are the lowest of all. These democracies in other words are the most equal. The inequality quotient of Greece for instance has decreased by 34% since the 70s. For Spain the decrease has been 17%. There is scant evidence that the “compassion and moral decay” of these countries has changed for the better as their citizens have become more equal.

As the proverb goes, be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. Americans didn’t go for Romney but they sometimes do go for a BOSS like Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), owner of Rick’s Café and gambling rooms in Casablanca. In a recent interview of Leslie Epstein, son of screenwriter who wrote the script for that movie, he said Rick was the  “archetype of how Americans would like to think of themselves—as tough (“I stick my neck out for nobody”) but underneath there’s a heart and they do the right thing.”

Thanking my ancestors

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Nov. 19, 2012

This Thanksgiving I want to thank my ancestors.

I claimed last week that “The progressive new spirit rising is the exceptional American Dream—freedom and opportunity for all.” My grandmothers, grandfathers, great grandmothers, great grandfathers, great-great grandparents, etc. etc. all deserve some credit for the success of this American Dream. For instance…

Last week I met an African-American man in the locker room of the Senior Center where Jane and I go for a daily swim. I had seen him in the pools before with a young boy. We chatted a bit and he told me the boy was his grandson and he had thirteen more like him. He added with pride and genial foreboding, “and they will all be home this Thanksgiving!”

My own great grandfather, William L. Stonebarger, deserves some of the credit for his pleasure this Thanksgiving. William was a private in Company E, 183rd regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His company was part of General Sherman’s Union Army that took Atlanta and marched to the sea to end a bloody Civil War that liberated some of my African-American friend’s ancestors from slavery.

William’s father, Adam Stonebarger, and his mother, Sarah (nee Zug), also deserve some credit for coming over the Allegheny Mountains in a wagon to advance the American Dream in the Midwest. Their branch of the Stonebarger clan (12 children) was one small part of the hardy pioneer flood in the 19th century that led the way to the freedom and opportunity that my African-American friend and I enjoy today.

And then there was Adam’s father, Yost Stonebarger, who fought with General Washington and was wounded at the battle of Brandywine near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We lost that battle but won the war a few years later to make the American Dream a reality.

I discovered these personal facts in recent research into my family tree. Thanks to Yost, Adam, William and their wives, Harriet, Sarah, Elizabeth, I am able to live the life I do today.

Just where my genes came from is problematic though. When you go back six generations the chances are slim that I got many genes from Lieutenant Yost Stonebarger in Washington’s army. I got half from my mother and half from my father, but only a quarter from each grandparent; one out of eight from each great grandparent; and only one out of sixty-four from the sixty-four ancestors whoever they are and wherever they lived in the 18th century.

The opposite is true of memes. I inherited almost all of them from the ancestors listed above, and where memes are concerned the list expands to include all of their friends and acquaintances in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scotland, or wherever. No doubt many memes today came from still further back, a few all the way back to theHomo sapiens pioneers in Africa many eons ago who were the remote ancestors of us all.

Genes are responsible for our physical natures as thinking animals. Genes are responsible for a goodly portion of our intelligence, athletic ability, height, weight, susceptibility to diseases and personality traits. Our environment influences these traits. The respective percentages, genetic and environmental, are in lively dispute today.

We can’t do much about our genes though new research shows it is possible to enhance or suppress some of their effects. My wife Jane is a good example. She has a defective gene that causes CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia) but a new drug Gleevec outsmarts the gene’s effects and keeps her blood normal. You might get genes for athletic or musical ability but you need tons of training, practice and grit to achieve on the basketball court or concert hall.

Memes are different. They are 100% environmental. Memes are what we think, the contents of our minds. They come in the form of language, habits, concepts, definitions, prejudices, values, songs, poems, beliefs and nonsense. We can change the memes we inherit. It’s not easy though.

Language itself is the most important meme. It shapes our lives in subtle ways few suspect or understand. Other memes inherited by all Americans are critical to all of our histories.

Unlike my ancestors who came here willingly, many of my African-American friend’s ancestors were brought here by force. Nevertheless my ancestors and his (kidnapped, kidnappers and masters) all shared common memes thousands of years in the making and common to all languages. Among these were: slavery was natural; a zero-sum economy was the only way people could survive in an agricultural world; resources of all kinds were severely limited; wealth was land, gold and slaves; land was useless unless you had enough serfs or slaves to work it; people were unequal, some are destined to be masters and some to be peasants, serfs or slaves; and finally God (or Gods) decreed this was the way it should be.

These memes were dominant in human societies everywhere for thousands of years. Occasionally prophets, saints, and philosophers challenged some of them, but their challenges rarely made much difference in practice anywhere. Our Declaration of Independence in 1776 led the way to a real difference in practice everywhere. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Of course the founding fathers were terrible hypocrites since most were slaveholders. It took the bloodiest Civil War in all of human history to abolish slavery in this country. After it was illegal, memes that said some human groups were inferior—not only former slaves, but women, homosexuals, immigrant and ethnic groups not our own—were still powerful and destructive.

In the 20th century this inequality meme has been in full retreat in the Western World. (Unfortunately it is still prevalent in much of the non-western world, especially in countries dominated by Islam.) Women got the right to vote in this country in 1920. Civil Rights laws in the 1960s gave a deathblow to Jim Crow. Recent campaigns and laws to foster equal opportunities for women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, African-Americans and all other ethnic minorities, have helped millions get their constitutionally respected right “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

In desperate modern times (Germany in the 1930s, the Soviet Union and Mao’s China through much of the 20th century) destructive memes from past centuries flamed up in violent forms in the West and in the East—genocide; cruel and unusual punishments; glorification of war and violence; draconian suppression of dissident art and science; class war; extreme militarism; artistically and emotionally impressive rituals of obedience; slavery in concentration camps and slave-labor gulags.

Not as commonly recognized is the continuing stealthy power of other memes inherited from agricultural ages and still in favor today. I am thinking especially of the memes that say resources are severely limited and wealth is zero-sum. If I get more, you get less. If you are rich, I will be poor. These memes are the unseen power that supports policies to soak the rich, bring back class war, oppose immigration, protest Wall Street, fuel fears of population growth and resource depletion, suspect profits, denigrate capitalism and support socialism.

In the long run this fearful zero-sum meme is going to handicap the grandchildren of all of us as seriously as other outdated agricultural memes have done to this generation.

Of course not all agricultural age memes were bad. One good one was Thanksgiving.

On this Thanksgiving let’s give heartfelt thanks to all of our ancestors for the boost they gave to the exceptional new spirit rising, now fast becoming the meme of choice everywhere in this world—the American Dream.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. For more detail and perspective on the major gene and meme changes over the past thousands of years, see my new book: Twilight or Dawn: a Traveller’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy.

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Looking to the Future

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

The bad news is we lost. The good news is the winning quarterback stole our game plan. Our best hope is that he uses it for the next four years.

I claimed last week that “The progressive new spirit rising is not atheism or socialism; it is the exceptional American Dream—freedom and opportunity for all.”

The President seems to agree. In his victory speech last Tuesday night I thought he was eloquent, “Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. …This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth. The belief that our destiny is shared, that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedoms which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.” (Italics mine)

For good measure the President put in a good word for work and opportunity for all.

“I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you live. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”

All things considered these sentiments are a pretty good description of the American Dream that has offered freedom, opportunity and responsibility to all of us immigrants—including African-Americans brought here in bondage but liberated by a bloody Civil war and advanced in freedom and opportunity by Civil Rights legislation in the 60s and affirmative actions today. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Greens can agree on this big stuff now, though we often differed violently in the past and we differ vociferously today when we look to the future.

I don’t despair as some libertarian conservatives do. We do need national health care reform. Obamacare may be overly complicated but it’s not the wicked witch of the west some Republicans claim. Entitlements like Social Security and Medicare need fixing but most of us agree they are needed and good basic programs. No one nowadays is advocating wage and price controls. Almost everyone today, including the President, is in favor of curbing regulations on business that cost more than they benefit.

Racial, sexual, ethnic, political and religious minorities have never been freer or had more opportunities than they have today. Marijuana laws are easing. Most everyone including the President is in favor of small business. Most everyone including the President realize that socialism and communism are dead issues.

I for one am not even doctrinaire in opposing more revenues for the government. And yes, the bulk of the new revenues will have to come from the wealthy. As bank robber Willie Sutton remarked when asked why he robbed banks. “That’s were the money is.” I just think all of us middle class folk should pony up a bit more too, spreading the responsibility around as well as the wealth.

Unfortunately freedom, opportunity and responsibility were not major parts of the President’s campaign. Rather than promoting the American Dream he concentrated on trashing his opponent’s character, wealth and success. (Romney’s success, ironically enough, is a good example of what Obama praised in his victory speech, “You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”)

I am grateful that the President came down on the side of the American Dream in his victory speech. I am grateful also that, unlike some of his democratic supporters in academia and the media, Obama seems to recognize that freedom, opportunity and responsibility are what makes our nation exceptional. The hard part comes looking to the future.

Obama won 50% of the vote. Romney got 48%. Obama promised in his victory speech to listen to and be a leader of 100%. I admit to some skepticism here but I’ll take him at his word. (As you can guess, I am doing my best to make lemonade out of the lemons of defeat.)

One important reason for the loss may have been the harsh illegal immigrant stands that Romney took in the primaries. They came back to haunt him in the election when he lost big with Hispanic voters. My skeptical side says Obama also won the election not by appealing to the American Dream, but by promising to take more from the rich, fuel the class war, and encourage dependency by promising more goodies to already overly-dependent citizens. He didn’t dwell on redistributing responsibility or reducing deficits and bringing down national debts.

This strategy was forced on him by the lefties I listed in a recent blog along with assorted middle class OWS protesters and yuppies who pay little if any taxes but have come to expect more and more government benefits.

The Democrats won with a forward slogan. Talk is cheap but most of the things the left wingers support as I enumerated in last week’s edition have a pronounced backward tilt: zero-sum economics; indiscriminate condemnation of corporations and Wall Street; expansion of command-economy programs; suspicion and fear of new science and technology unless it is green, etc. etc.

Note that I qualify this criticism by limiting it to left wing Democrats, many of whom find it well nigh impossible to cross the aisle and work with people who have different ideas. (Right wing zealots are also a problem I admit, but they are fewer and have less clout in our culture today.)

The President promised in his victory speech, “In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil.”

Good luck Mr. President.

I voted for Romney and Ryan because I thought they would have done a better job over the next four years. I could be wrong. We’ll never know. Obama’s victory words sound mighty close to the game plan of Romney and Ryan. If he can keep his left wing from dominating his second term and reach out more boldly to the 48% of Americans who did not vote for him, we will make genuine progress.

For now though I must eat crow and congratulate President Obama on his victory. And I do.

I also look forward to him keeping his word and leading us to more freedom, opportunity and responsibility in this still new spirit rising exceptional country and world.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. Administrations come and go. We have had our share of progressive and reactionary ones for over two hundred years. For more detail and perspective on the major worldwide changes over the past thousands of years, see my new book: Twilight or Dawn: a Traveller’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy.

Remembering the Past

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Oct. 5, 2012

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The quote is from the Spanish philosopher George Santayana. He wrote other lines relevant to this week’s election.

“We still understand the value of religious faith. We still appreciate the pompous arts of our forefathers. We are brought up on academic poetry, sculpture, painting, and music. We still love monarchy and aristocracy, together with that picturesque and dutiful order which rested on local institutions, class privileges, and the authority of the family. We may even feel an organic need for all of these things, cling to them tenaciously, and dream of rejuvenating them.

“On the other hand, the spell of Christendom is broken. The unconquerable mind of the East, the pagan past, and the industrial socialistic future confront it with their equal authority. Our whole life is saturated with the slow upward filtration of a new spirit, that of an emancipated, atheistic, international democracy.

“This spirit is amiable as well as disquieting, liberating as well as barbaric so that a philosopher in our day, conscious of both the old life and the new, might repeat what Goethe said of his successive love affairs, ‘It is sweet to see the moon rise, while the sun is still mildly shining.’”

I can see brows crinkling. What in the world have these quotes to do with Obama or Romney?

Bear with me. Regardless of who wins the election tomorrow we are, as both parties like to claim, on the cusp of change. All politicians say that of course. What kind of change? For Santayana change is measured in centuries not four-year bites. In that kind of long-term change what exactly is the old that is “still mildly shining?” What is the new that is “sweetly rising”?

I think I know.

The sixteenth century was the time of William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther and Galileo Galilei. It was the end point of the Renaissance; the peak of the Protestant Reformation; the Enlightenment was on the horizon; modern science had just been born. The 16th century also saw daring explorations of New Worlds in Asia and the Americas by sailors from Spain, Portugal and England.

Monarchy and aristocracy and the pompous arts of our forefathers were in high style, but showing signs of dementia. Charles Dickens said of his day, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The 16th century was that in spades.

“In 16th century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to the historian Norman Davis, ‘The spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized.’” (Quote from Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature: How Violence Has Declined.)

That kind of unbelievably cruel mind-set was common in the ten thousand year-long agricultural ages. And not just to cats. Samuel Pepys made this entry in his diary in October 13 of 1660…

“Out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered, which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy. … From thence to my Lord’s, and took Captain Cuttance and Mrs. Sheply to the Sun tavern and did give them some oysters.”

Public entertainment like this happened not just in Paris and London, but east and west, north and south—everywhere on earth.

For ten thousand years humans lived in societies where wealth was land, gold and slaves. Societies where less than 1% of the population was fabulously rich and over 99% were desperately poor peasants, serfs or slaves; societies with zero-sum economies where any gains for one came at the expense of another; societies where poverty, illiteracy, theft, war, fiendish torture, prejudice against strangers, racism, sexism, hereditary status and roles, gigantic inequality and genocidal violence were the rule not the exception.

Yet all of these agricultural age societies in Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, Persia, Mongolia—in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas—also produced great art and literature; had many kings, queens, and aristocrats now celebrated in movies, biographies and novels; had philosophers, poets and saints whose works can still inspire; and most critical of all, had and passed on long-lasting local, organic, moral, religious, family and class structure memes—some good, most not-so-good and some evil.

These achievements and memes are the old that is still mildly shining.

Santayana is correct that our life today is saturated with the slow upward filtration of a new spirit. He is mistaken I think in his description of this new spirit. Santayana is a Spaniard and a European. Europeans, and Spaniards especially, suffered greatly from clerical domination, stupidity and cruelty during the infamous Inquisition of the 15th and 16th centuries. European countries, Spain especially, welcomed socialist and communist parties to their political life from 19th century Karl Marx extending to the present day. Santayana writes of the atheistic and socialist future as the heart of the new spirit. To me a much better choice would be the American Dream.

The progressive new spirit rising is not atheism or socialism; it is the American Dream—freedom and opportunity for all.

The election tomorrow is one small step in that giant step for humankind. Obama and the Democrats are following the lead of European democracies by emphasizing wealth redistribution and social welfare expansion as key steps. Romney and the Republicans are emphasizing opportunity and wealth-creating free trades as key steps.

Today the Democratic Party (or at least its left wing) is reactionary rather than progressive. Despite their forward rhetoric, their policies have a backward tilt: promoting zero-sum memes; opposition to modern corporate structures; suspicion of profit-making enterprises; expansion of government command-economics; redistributing wealth (charity in the old terminology) rather than wealth-creation; solutions that focus on local, organic, land-based, low-technology, high-labor, collective rather than individual actions; fear and loathing of science and technology in chemicals, fertilizers, golden rice, nuclear power, genetic engineering, coal, oil, pipelines, high voltage transmission lines, plastics, vaccines, pesticides, herbicides, digital information advances, new drugs and new superhighways—for the most part on dubious environmental grounds. (To be fair, left-wingers do promote green technologies albeit with generous government subsidies.)

Democrats are also on shaky ground when it comes to finances. Our local, state and national levels rising deficits and crushing debts are near certain to bring catastrophe if not tackled sooner rather than later. Democrats often use European countries as shining examples of social welfare progress. Alas, considering the current problems in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and France, they may have to reconsider their admiration.

In the 19th century our Statue of Liberty welcomed millions of poor immigrants from zero-sum agricultural-age Europe yearning to breathe free. In the 20th century millions of immigrants from Asia and South America, escaped from zero-sum agricultural-age societies and came to the U.S. like their European predecessors in search of freedom and opportunity.

Remember too that in my lifetime the United States has rescued Europe twice—once from the hideous barbarism of Hitler’s fascism and a second time from the utopian hell of Soviet communism. (Worthy of note, Hitler had few sympathizers in America but the Soviets had many fellow travellers, especially among the intellectual set.)

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

My suggestion—we continue to lead the world by expanding freedom and opportunity, exporting the American Dream over there. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President Hawkhill

P.S. For more detail on this historical change see my new book: Twilight or Dawn: a Traveller’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy.