Rev. Moon believes that the best economic system is Free Enterprise. The other name for free enterprise is capitalism. He made a strong statement on economics to the Soviet Union when communism fell. He gave an interview to the Soviet newspaper, Za rubezhom, saying, "I would like to encourage the efforts you are making in business and commerce, to develop a wider-based individual incentive system. When people are stimulated, they are inclined to work hard and produce more. This is the secret of success of the free enterprise systems."
This chapter will deal with the laws of economics. We live in a physical world that has laws guiding it such as the law of gravity. There are laws just as powerful for the creation of wealth. The thesis of this book is that people must realize that many laws of the universe have already been discovered, and it should follow them. For example, the Boy Scouts have an oath and 12 laws that I had memorized and they helped to guide my life. One of the laws that the Victorian founder of Scouting, Lord Baden-Powell taught was the virtue of thrift. In the 19th century most people owned their own home and rarely took out loans. The 20th century, as usual, threw it out for the instant money of loans. That is why there was a depression in the 1930s and half a million people file for bankruptcy every year. People want to get rich quick. The difference between the 19th and the 20th centuries is the difference between the hare and the rabbit in Aesop's fable. The hare won, the rabbit lost. Aesop lived thousands of years ago, and that truth will always be fresh. Men should save and accumulate money for many reasons. One of them is to invest in businesses. Zig Ziglar is a devout Christian and one of the greatest motivational speakers on salesmanship and wealth. He and others like him such as Norman Vincent Peale correctly interpret the Bible and teach how money is spiritual.
Leaders such as Franklin Roosevelt with his high sounding idealistic New Deal programs shifted power from men to Uncle Sam and emasculated the men of America. President Johnson's Great Society sounded good, as Satan makes his ideology sound good, but America became less great because men became less good. Why be good if solutions only come from the Emerald City from Washington D.C. Politicians threw out the virtue of paying as you go and now we have an astronomical debt. Robert Schuller has an excellent book on the debt and the grotesque deficits our so-called leaders run up every year called America's Declaration of Financial Independence. The inside cover says,"The American government is $5 trillion in debt! Is this any way to run a country? Eighteen percent of the federal budget is allocated to pay the interest on the national debt. The national debt is more than 70 percent of our Gross National Product."
The Power of Being Debt Free
"In 1985, Robert Schuller, popular author and pastor of the world's largest televised church audience...warned about the dangers of an escalating national debt in his book, The Power of Being Debt Free (updated to America's Declaration of Financial Independence ten years later). In a year when the debt stood at $1.8 trillion, they predicted that if America just 'muddled through," it would be $5.9 trillion." His prediction has been"frighteningly accurate." He shows in his book why and how it is possible to be debt-free."It's a moral issue," says Robert Schuller. 'Thou shalt not steal.' You have a right to borrow money, but you don't have the right to borrow money if you never intend to repay it. We are stealing from our children." I agree that it is wrong to have our children pay for our loans, but I'm not as casual as Schuller is about saying loans are all right. I feel the government should pay as it goes. And it should have a savings for emergencies, just as a family should. The only time to borrow money is if the U.S. is fighting a physical war with another country who is invading us. Let's look at WWII to illustrate. The Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor and the U.S. government needed to mobilize the country. It was right to borrow money and have the same generation pay it back. It was wrong that we were weak militarily. It was wrong that we were not debt free already. It was wrong that we did not have emergency funds. It was wrong to encourage married women to leave the home and work as Rosie the Riveters. It was wrong to incarcerate Japanese Americans.
There are many books on the national debt and our annual deficit spending. I think Sculler's book is the best to start out with. Being debt-free brings power. Burdening our children is immoral as Schuller says,"American children today are inheriting a burden they did not ask to bear the freedom to grow into healthy and happy individuals in a stable economic society. Not only are we stealing income from our children, but we are also robbing them of economic freedom. This is not just unfair; it is irresponsible, unjust, and immoral."
"The time has come for the people of the United States of America to call for a declaration of financial independence. Let us unite to pay off the national debt and give our children the opportunity of enjoying the fruits of their labor and creativity."
"We can be a debt-free nation! To be debt free would give us real wealth and real power: power to maintain our middle class; power to wipe out poverty; power to educate all citizens." It is difficult to walk the line and not cross over and do the wrong thing. We can be critical of Congress for poor leadership. Looking back and criticizing is easier than being there and fighting. I'm not trying to be a Monday morning quarterback criticizing the Presidents of the U.S. I don't mean to sound arrogant and negative. The U.S. did its best. Truman was gutless and fired McArthur. But I thank him for going in and at least saving the messiah's life. FDR made a mistake in creating Social Security and other domestic agencies, but he was strong in fighting Hitler. I could go on and on dividing the babies and the bathwater.
God is for being debt-free. There are always exceptions. A mortgage on a house is the only one I will consider. Never on cars, furniture or credit cards. I don't even think loans for college or to start a business are right. There is too much risk of going bankrupt. We must become masters of money. We have to become greater than Christians like Zig Ziglar and greater than Mormons like Stephen Covey and Marriott. Father wants us to be awesome and superior. It is all right that he borrows money, but it is not right for the average person. If we borrow we will end up losers like the rabbit. We have to go down a different road than this world.
Some people are beginning to see the fallacy our century has done by rejecting some of the old-fashioned values. The most famous Christian finance counselor is Larry Burkett. He is a best-selling author and teaches why and how to get debt-free. I don't believe everything he says, but he is basically on target. Satan corrupted economics by 1920 to thwart the Messiah by creating a chaotic environment. Knowing that, we can read even more significance into what it really means when we read, "Prior to the 1920s, Americans were characterized as frugal, self-reliant people who had a strong faith in God. Debt was certainly not unknown, but it would have been unusual for the average American to borrow for anything other than the purchase of a home, and even that loan was for no more than seven years or less." Some financial advisors, like Larry Burkett, teach that everyone should pay off a home as soon as possible. Make double payments and pay it off in 10 or 15 years instead of the usual 30. I believe that any loan is deadly. Everyone should rent until they can buy a home with cash. We should be absolute in our values and we should absolutely not take a loan at any time. If we ever need help we should ask for a gift and never ask for a loan. Loans destroy relationships. I know. I know. You're thinking that this is too much. Some people have taken loans and managed them their whole lives. Some people have taken loans and used the money to start businesses and became wealthy. My argument would be to compare with the example of smoking. Some people smoke until they are 90 and some people who don't smoke get lung cancer. Loans are as deadly as cigarettes. It is a spiritual law of the universe that we should not smoke because we are to be physically healthy. Likewise we should not take loans because we are to be financially healthy. And we should be financially healthy for generations. Taking loans by individuals and by governments has caused the downfall of many individuals and nations. There would never have been the stock market crash of 1929 and the depression of the 30's if the country had not gone crazy going into debt in the 1920's.
Burkett writes, "Having a debt-free home should be one of your primary financial goals. If you're like most homeowners, you probably did a double take when you read this principle. After all, the common wisdom is that it's always best to have a mortgage on your home so that you can take advantage of interest write-offs on your tax returns."
"But I take issue with this common advice. In the first place, it's relatively recent common advice. As mentioned earlier, during the 1920s nearly everybody in the United States owned his home debt free. But today, nearly everyone leases a home with a mortgage attached. In other words, we've shifted from a principle of outright home ownership to a principle of home leasing through indebtedness. Not only has this trend placed the average American family in peril of losing its home, but it has also driven the cost of homes out of the range of the average family's income. Any sizable financial crisis will find most families unable to make their house payments."
"There's a tendency these days to look at people who redirect assets toward paying off their home as a little 'odd.' On the contrary, the person who works to own his or her own home is one of the wisest among us. The simple truth is, a mortgaged home is always in jeopardy of being repossessed. It only takes an occurrence only a matter of the right (or wrong) economic conditions. A debt-free home represents economic security."
"In our high-inflation economy, why should you want to pay off your home? And what about the loss of your tax deductions for mortgage payments? First of all, nobody ever made money by paying out interest to a bank, and especially not at the exorbitantly high rates lending institutions now charge. The only way you can make money on a mortgage, except through whatever equity increase you may get on the underlying property, is to put the money that might go for a house purchase into income-producing investments that can earn more than the interest paid on the mortgage. That's hard for most people to do consistently, and it still leaves the home in jeopardy. For example, what happens if the investment dries up?"
"Also, having the security of a place to live, even if you're without a regular job, is an almost immeasurable psychological advantage in hard times. I counsel many professional athletes, who have quite high incomes for a short number of years and then often have very little coming in during the transition period between leaving their sport and finding a regular job. One of the first goals we encourage is to pay off their homes."
"Many of the tax attorneys and accountants disagree with this advice, pointing out the usual tax-write-off arguments of a mortgage. But these athletes and particularly their wives have a much more solid foundation to operate from when they know they have a place to live. The knowledge that their families are secure in a debt-free home has gone a long way toward reducing marital tensions and heading off potential divorces."
"It is unfortunate that most Americans have been duped into accepting long-term debt on their homes as normal. With the prices of homes being what they are today, most young couples need extended loans to lower their monthly payments initially. But any couple can pay their home off in 10 to 15 years simply by controlling their lifestyles and prepaying their principal a little bit each month."
"A simple investment strategy to follow is to make the ownership of your home your first investment priority. Then use the monthly mortgage payments you were making to start your savings for education or retirement. If you can retire your home mortgage before your kids go to college, they can graduate debt-free (and you too)."
"The most common argument against paying off a home mortgage early is the loss of the tax deduction for the interest. Allow me to expose this myth once and for all." I can't quote forever. You'll have to read his books to get all the arguments. He knows what he is saying is controversial, especially with financial planners. They will say this makes no economic sense. Members should be the sharpest people in the world and see through Satan's lies. He is a master at making his ideology seem good. Everyone should be debt-free and should stay away from financial planners. There are good books on finance. Don't have blind faith. Brothers especially need to manage money and not give that responsibility to their wives or someone else. The very first thing a brother needs to do is make sure he has a ton of life insurance so his family can live in a debt-free home and have income from investments if he dies. Most insurance companies push whole life that gives very little protection. Term insurance is what everyone needs. And lots of it. Almost all financial planners are snakes. One of the best articles on the reason to buy only term life insurance is Venita Van Caspel's chapter in her book Money Dynamics. Use this chapter to fight off financial planners who push whole life.
And don't take money out of equity to give to a financial counselor to invest in distant mutual funds. Impersonal mutual funds are not spiritual. We should invest only in what we can love and control. Where would you want your money if the economy turned bad? In mutual funds or in a rental unit you own? You have no control over the mutual funds. You don't even know what companies you are investing in. You do know your little rental house for rent, and you probably can do something to make it produce wealth. You can lose your mutual fund at the blink of an eye. You have a chance with your rental unit. And if it's paid off all you have to come up with are taxes. You probably won't lose anything. It would be better for brothers to get together and buy rentals or little businesses and love them. Let's build our own local little mutual fund companies that consist of friends loving a piece of ground and buildings that they can touch and personally make things blossom. There is no love involved in mutual funds. The managers of mutual funds are not loyal to any company. They will drop them in a second and rush over to some other company. What has this got to do with being spiritual? Spiritual means to look long-term, not short term profits.
Mary Pride in her book All the Way Home has a chapter on personal finance that goes into this concept of personal investing. Burkett gives good reasons for paying off a home instead of listening to financial counselor's reasons that it is smarter to take advantage of tax deductions on the mortgage and invest in their securities. This is Satan's trap. Run from them.
We can't witness unless we have peace of mind and money problems cause so much anguish. Don't depend on distant, impersonal companies. Get a home paid off as soon as possible. Maybe there will never be a depression again, but if it comes you will have a roof over your head instead of some financial counselor for some New York investment firm calling you up to say he is very sorry, but you have lost everything overnight. My mother is retired and trusted one of these big companies and lost a good part of her investment because he invested in some Houston real estate investment trust that went belly-up and in some gold mine in South Africa that practically went bankrupt. There are too many books out there showing the horrors and tragedies these investment counselors have caused. There is risk in anything, but we must not gamble. And mutual funds are gambling in my book. You will need Larry Burkett to give to financial sharks to explain why you're first financial goal is to have a debt-free home and to never take equity out of it. Burkett has spiritual reasons as well. One of them is that women need a home that is safe. As long as there is a big mortgage, she isn't safe.
James Paris is a Christian financial writer who is not concerned with the national debt and sees people like Burkett as gloom-and-doom. He says good things like buy term insurance over whole life and no load mutual funds over paying a commission to a broker, but I feel it doesn't matter if the economy goes under or not, it is best to live in a community that helps each other and invests locally in things they control.
Your Money or Your Life
Another good book on finance is Joe Dominquez's Your Money or Your Life which shows why and how to be debt-free and financially independent. With disciplined saving and being frugal and goal-oriented anyone can do it. An example given is Amy and Jim Dacyczn. They "had a simple dream. They wanted to raise a family in a big farmhouse in a rural area." But after twenty years of marriage and both of them having worked full-time, they had only $1500 in savings to show for it. They focused on their goal. They visualized it. And they started to be frugal. The number one rule for being frugal is to stop eating out and focusing on wholesome but inexpensive food like whole grains. Amy quit her job as some kind of writer and graphic design artist and focused on the children and being frugal in her home. She came up with hundreds of ways to save money. It was even fun. Often when women give up their job and go home, the family starts having more money. This happened with them. An added benefit was that there was more love between them. We read, "They thrived on this challenge to their creativity, and their relationship thrived on their shared purpose. In seven years they had saved $49,000." They are now in their rural Maine farmhouse, and Amy is famous for her book about this experience, The Tightwad Gazette which is full of practical tips on how to be frugal. They have lots of kids and prove that people can be happy living on one salary. Mary Pride and her friends write that this is the way to live and anyone can do it. Pat Schroeder, the liberal congresswoman who's life's ambition is to get women into combat, writes as many do on the Cain side that "no one" can live off one salary. To live off one salary and within one's means and to pay for everything with cash is spiritual and deeply rewarding. The book being reviewed says it well, "Their story is testimony to the fact that simple dreams, like having a house in the country and staying home to raise a family, are truly within reach." Shakespeare was right: "Neither a lender nor a borrower be." The Bible teaches, "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
The Alternative to Budgeting
Dominquez has many good points on how to get control of money. For example, under the topic of budgeting he says most people don't budget and he gives the reasons why. The following is an idea that has helped me in budgeting. It is the idea of keeping track of every penny.
He says,"Write down everything you spend, every day. It helps to list your expenditures in specific categories, so you can see your running total at a glance for evaluation purposes. Soon you will have a clear picture of where your money is going. At first it may seem difficult to remember to do, but don't give up. Psychologists have learned that it takes just three weeks to make or break a habit. (Incidentally, this principle holds true for establishing any habit, whether it be a daily exercise routine, teaching your kids to make their beds and even quitting smoking!)"
"Remember that no expenditure is too small to be recorded, not even a 50-cent candy bar. There is no cheating allowed on this money diet! As you use this system, you will find that you avoid impulse purchases because you know they will be recorded and reviewed by the family."
"Next, establish a regular savings program, which you can call your 'stake.' This is your investment capital. Don't make impulsive purchases because you know it will take money away from your stake."
"We have found that when people examine their own spending habits, two things generally happen. First, they are often shocked to discover where their money has been going. 'We can't be eating that much!' is a common reaction. Second, and more significantly, they automatically begin to make adjustments that cut the waste from their monthly expenditures, without having to establish a formal budget."
"Once you have decided to use this 'no-budget' budget, you will find that it is very easy to implement. Soon, and without any painful effort, you will begin to make intelligent choices about how you use your money. It is a wonderful feeling to know that, finally, you are controlling your finances instead of letting them control you!"
Writing everything down may not be the answer for everybody. But for those who are serious about wanting to gain control of their spending habits, it is an important beginning."
"If this process seems to be time-consuming, be assured that you will not need to do this for the rest of your life. We have found that a year of intensive self-evaluation is generally enough time for most people to change their attitudes about money and gain control of their spending habits. After that, the evaluation techniques will become an automatic, subconscious element of your spending decisions. You may want to resume the practice occasionally when you face major financial changes -- growing family, different income levels, moving to a new town or adjusting for inflation, for example."
"We conclude that strict formal budgeting will never work for most Americans for one overwhelming reason: it requires a lot of hard work and discipline over a long period of time. Too many forces are at work making it easy to go off the budget --easy credit, impulse buying, inflation and government tax policies that encourage spending. Writing it all down, item by item, on a daily basis will help you get hold of your financial picture."
"The system we have presented here will tell you where you are spending. The next chapters will tell you how to start saving."
Every person should see the spirituality in money. Money represents this earth and getting it consumes the majority of a man's time and effort. How we earn and invest money is highly spiritual. Money can come and go. Millionaires find themselves broke overnight. Big businesses go under. If we handle money correctly it will grow forever. We should look at everything long range. We should earn money honorably and with so much service we have customers for life and we invest in a way that it grows for generations. We should be more in tune with forces of wealth than anyone. Father says we have "to be involved in economics activities." We "must become a professional in economic activities. If not, you can only become a beggar in the satanic world."
To make sure we never become beggars we should invest in our children and grandchildren. If we earn money all of our life and never retire we should be able to set them up with all their physical needs taken care of and they can work to build houses, businesses etc. for their descendants. Children should be set up when they turn 18 with a debt-free house and income from investments so they don't have to worry about every day, mundane concerns and can concentrate on doing work that matches their creativity and personality. In God's ideal a person doesn't work to provide for himself, but for his descendants. There is a deep foundation of wealth coming from well managed businesses that are debt-free and vast. The money should be spread out in everyone's name so that if one person were to lose control of his investments because he got possessed or because he was attacked, as Father has been taken court, if he lost everything then other members of the family and community could come to his aid after he has lost from his lawsuit. No matter what happens everybody should have this kind of insurance as back up to make sure he has food, clothing and shelter and income guaranteed for life, no matter what happens. This doesn't mean that everyone has equal money. If someone becomes a billionaire he doesn't have to distribute it evenly to all relatives. I'm not talking pure socialist equality.
Money is often lost by descendants of wealthy people because they are not united. Blessed couples will be the beginning of empires that will be so united that eventually we will own every square inch of this earth. Our future descendants will never know job or financial insecurity.
How much and how do we tithe?
There are many testimonies of people who say they have been rewarded 10 to 1 by tithing to their church. The UC needs to write a detailed statement about this important topic. Do we give 10%? Or are we supposed to give 20 or 30 percent? Do we give a percentage calculated after taxes or before? Who do we give it to? A percentage to headquarters and other percents to the regional, state and local centers. Are members supposed to tithe if they are poor and don't have the basic necessities? If a member inherits a fortune or earns a large income is he to give it all to the church? Is this decision up to him or is he to ask his immediate Abel and do as he says?
The Decline of Thrift
I really like this passage from The Decline of Thrift in America about the Victorian black leader, Booker T. Washington: "Washington went on to build his own Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and, declaiming that thrift and toil and savings were the highway to progress and equality, he gained a reputation as black America's leading orator. Washington climaxed the Yankee missionary gospel of thrift and piety to black America. Individuals and civilizations who succeeded were those who saved time and money, Booker emphasized in his Sunday evening Tuskegee chapel talks: 'We cannot get upon our feet, as a people, until we learn the saving habit; until we learn to save every nickel, every dime and every dollar that we can spare.' Saving money required self-control, the ability to say no: 'I want you to be able to go by a store and, as you notice the things in that store -- whether candy or spring hats, or whatever it is that attracts you -- to be able, notwithstanding the fact that you have the money in your pockets to buy, to exercise a self-control that will enable you to pass these things by and save your money to invest it in a house.' Saving should not be postponed until after marriage; all young people should save: 'Resolve that no matter how little you may earn, you will put a part of the money in the bank. If you earn four dollars a week, put two dollars in the bank. If you earn ten dollars, save four of them. Put the money in the bank. Let it stay there. When it begins to draw interest you will find that you will appreciate the value of money.'"
"Booker's message of economic self-sufficiency was shared by virtually all black leaders at the turn of the century. Professor W.E.B. Du Bois spoke for black capitalism and savings bank frugality. Religious leaders, such as Reverend E.C. Morris, president of the National Baptist Convention, advised: 'Let every man among us get a home, improve it, and then add to that a good bank account. Go into the unbroken forest, buy forty, sixty or a hundred acres of land, build a house, move into it and stay there until the last dollar of the purchase price has been paid. Never come to town, except on business, and then to sell rather than to buy. Let the politician, the office-seeker and the merchant look for you, instead of you looking for them."
The author explains how America began to lose the value of thrift in the 1920s. The 19th century championed it. He goes into detail giving the history of thrift. I don't have time to even summarize what he says, but I will quote one passage to give you a flavor of how people in the past valued thrift. He writes, "The YMCA ran a program in cooperation with bankers. The Y, which had added thrift to its religious concerns during the war, continued to support the cause through a National Thrift Week in January, declaring thrift a fundamental part of character development: 'The Association has come to see that habits of wastefulness and extravagance rot character. They make a man poor, they rob him of his judgement, steal his health and undermine his integrity. Most of the evils that beset and ruin the individual go back to the gaining, dividing and use of money.'"
Victorian virtue of thrift
One tactic of Satan to destroy the world was to take away the Victorian values (or virtues as they called them). One of the deepest held virtues was thrift and paying as you go. By making homes leased with mortgages Satan was able to take away the security of women in having a debt-free home. This is a major cause of women leaving the home and for divorce. Satan creates a tense atmosphere where there is little safety. By corrupting the self-discipline of saving and living debt-free, Satan created a hyped atmosphere in the 1920s that led to a thinking of get rich quick and in 1929 the stock market crashed leading to a protracted depression that led to FDR starting the alphabet soup agencies such as the ponzi scam of the misnomer Social Security. From every angle Satan destroyed every virtue of the Victorians in the 20th century.
Again, I can't emphasize enough that the Victorians were not perfect. But they were on the right track on many basic issues. Father was to elevate them even higher by having them teach these values to the world. Instead Father had to start at the bottom. A good book on the destruction of the virtue of thrift is David Tucker's The Decline of Thrift in America. He writes,"Faith in hard truths from the age of scarcity had faded amid the prosperity of the twenties. 'We are living in the midst of that vast dissolution of ancient habits,' Walter Lippmann observed in A Preface to Morals (1929). The culture -- schools, pulpit, and press -- no longer pressed the importance of foresight and savings upon the young. The National Education Association had abolished its Committee on Thrift in 1925 and sales of Horatio Alger novels had declined so sharply that in 1926 the publisher ceased to reprint these nineteenth-century celebrations of industry, frugality, and thrift."
"Character and morality were no longer required for success. Public morality had broken from the old-style inspirational oration that had always restrained the self .... Popular speakers of the 1920s could no longer be expected to speak from within religious restraints." The author goes on to criticize"the amoral orator of the new success ethic, Dale Carnegie" who is into"personality, style, and psychology -- rather than character and morality. In the popular culture, success had little to do with character and morality .... Certainly, islands of belief in the old values still existed; the prohibition amendment remained in force with the support of rural and small town values. But in advertising, psychology, literature, and religion, the culture of self-restraint had lost its dominance." This is what Stephen Covey says in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People although he hasn't the guts to mention Carnegie by name and to give the values people are to live by. Covey is amoral in his popular secular best sellers. The only modern motivational speaker who will mention traditional values is Zig Ziglar. Even he is pretty weak on explaining them and emphasizes technical things like goal setting and time management like all the rest. I love motivational speakers, but they need to give right values.
In The Return of Thrift: How the Coming Collapse of the Middle-Class Welfare State Will Reawaken Values in America, Phillip Longman gives some excellent insights into how government has destroyed our economy and spirit. He not only gives good theoretical arguments but gives stories of real people to illustrate his points. He begins with this example to show the absurdity of impersonal bureaucracy to help people. "It was the kind of story that sets conservative radio talk show hosts to howling. Uncle Sam, a congressional report revealed, was regularly mailing benefit checks to forty indigent alcoholics, in care of their local Denver liquor store. The tab came to $13,000 a month, most of which, no doubt, went straight for Colt 45 and Thunderbird."
"How could this be? Well, the Denver drunks were entitled, it turned out. The Social Security Administration had deemed all forty alcoholics to be 'disabled' by virtue of their 'illness." These men lived on the streets and got this income from the branch of government called Supplemental Security Income (SSI), an entitlement program that pays benefits to the poor and disabled. In 1993, SSI paid out $1.4 billion to 250,000 addicts. Very few are required to seek any kind of treatment. Some are dealers with a criminal record. He writes, "This sort of government benevolence, remarked the director of a Denver homeless shelter, amounted to nothing less than 'suicide on the installment plan."
The writer teaches that middle-class Americans take more unearned money from the government than genuinely poor people. He writes, "Middle-class Americans know and think a lot these days about addiction. The bookstore shelves groan with self-help titles about overcoming dependency, whether to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sweets, speed, sex, and even romantic love. The concepts and cliches of recovery programs ('denial,' 'co-dependency,' 'twelve steps,' 'stinking thinking') now pervade the popular culture -- even our humor. 'Denial ain't no river in Egypt,' Stuart Smalley jokes on 'Saturday Night Live.' Never before in our history has the stigma associated with addiction and dependency been stronger."
"With one huge exception: dependency on government benefits."
"During the Great Depression and even as recently as the 1960s, the biggest problem met by social workers in the United States was convincing down-and-out Americans to overcome the 'humiliation' of accepting a helping hand from government. Today every American -- rich, poor, and middle class -- knows he or she is entitled to a plethora of social benefits as a matter of 'earned right .... This book will confront middle-class America's $2 billion-a-day addiction to entitlements."
He writes, "Middle-class Americans have plenty of reason to be alarmed and angry about the degree of welfare dependency in today's poorer neighborhoods. But don't scapegoat 'those people' on the other side of the tracks for running up your taxes or the national debt. Certainly they are part of the problem, but the rest of us are a far bigger part. In 1990 fully 75 percent of all direct outlays for federal entitlements went to families earning $20,000 or more annually. Even families earning $50,000 or more, it turns out, are major consumers of the welfare state."
Social Security is a Ponzi scam
He explain how Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and old people are cashing in. "In the retirement villages of Florida and Arizona, few residents could afford to have retired as early as they did, or to shop and travel as they do, without being able to rely on Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlements as a financial base." These monies are windfall profits paid for by future generations. "When speaking among themselves, politicians often refer to Social Security, for example, as the third rail of American politics: 'Touch it,' they say, 'and you die.' Tampering with the home mortgage deduction is equally, if not more, politically incorrect."
"Behind all the political sloganeering in support of entitlements lurks a darker reality -- one that most Americans privately suspect but still often want to deny. It's that middle-class America's binge on entitlements is as unsustainable as a welfare mother's crack habit. While Newt Gingrich has been busy trying to reinvent the orphanage, another Victorian idea is in even greater need of rehabilitation: middle-class thrift and self-reliance."
Once again the most perceptive critics of society are turning toward the values that were good in the nineteenth century and the twentieth has thrown out. He writes, "Thrift. In the 1870s, that most eminent Victorian and popular moralist Samuel Smiles became famous for his lively defense of what was then the orthodoxy of the striving middle-classes in both Europe and America. 'It is the savings of the individual which compose the wealth -- in other words, the well-being of every nation,' Smiles asserted in his relentless volume, simply entitled Thrift. 'On the other hand, it is the wastefulness of individuals that occasions the impoverishment of states. So it is that every thrifty person may be regarded as a public benefactor, and every thriftless person as a public enemy.' For Smiles, as for most other Americans of his era, individual thrift was not only a virtue in itself. Its widespread practice was considered a requisite of civilization and nation building. Americans who hope to attain or maintain middle-class status in the next century will have to adopt a similar thrift ethic."
He says that when the welfare state collapses people are going to "become more reliant on family ties" and return to being extended families. "The elderly will need the support of their adult children much more than they do today, and will find themselves in much greater need of maintaining proximity and usefulness to their adult children."
He says that Americans have to restore the work ethic. Life spans have increased and the age of retirement has decreased "leaving American workers free from labor for up to 30 percent to 40 percent of their adult life spans." He says the middle-class will be "forced to become more self-reliant" and "change their view of the proper relationship between government and the individual." People have to stop thinking they are victims. "Beginning in the last century, farmers saw themselves as victims of an industrial economy in which farm prices lagged behind rises in the cost of living, and so argued that they were entitled to crop subsidies. Senior citizens, particularly in the 1970s, saw themselves as victims of inflation and of a youth culture that denied their generational achievements, and so believed were entitled to generous Social Security pensions. Today beneficiaries of the home mortgage deduction claim they are owed this tax subsidy because they bought their homes on the assumption that it would always be available. And so it goes."
"As we shall see in this book, traces of the attitude can be found as far back as the days of Valley Forge, when General Washington's officers threatened to desert him if he didn't grant them half-pay pensions for life. The difference today is that ordinary citizens have developed a righteous sense of entitlement without ever having marched barefoot through the snow for their country. The process of corruption was so subtle and gradual that hardly anyone noticed it was occurring. Today understanding how and why the middle class became addicted to entitlements is essential to understanding our present predicament and what it will take to survive its consequences in the future."
Like this book, the author sees that America needs to restore the good values of the past that this century has thrown out. He writes, "It was a harsh code, but the bourgeoisie of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were convinced (correctly, it turned out, in the long run) that American greatness depended at the very least on middle- and working-class Americans not accepting benefits they had not earned." The turning point was the passage of the Social Security Act in 1935. He goes on to tell the story of how Senator Carl Curtis of Nebraska fought it, but everyone liked it including President Eisenhower. Senator Curtis spent 40 years in the senate and supported Father on his Watergate statement and represented America on Father's 60th birthday celebration in Korea and gave him a gift. Everyone saw Social Security as insurance when it was really a scam. He writes, "Both the politicians and the people had come to love this wonderful, seemingly harmless high provided by getting something for nothing." I don't have time to go into all the details he gives on the entitlements. His chapter called "Subsidizing Suburbia" on the home mortgage deduction is something no one thinks about. He says that the average person gets housing aid directly and indirectly and "his dependency on government can objectively rival that of many welfare mothers. And in many ways, the results of such an addiction are no less harmful."
Entitlements "erodes the bourgeois spirit in American life, creating in its place a mass of dependents who look to politicians to fulfill their expectations of the good life .... A nation saving less than 1 percent of its income, as the United States currently does, cannot expect to realize rapid increases in productivity. Moreover, if we have learned anything as a society in the last thirty years, it is that affluence is not automatic and that growth of the economy does not necessarily eliminate growth of the underclass, the national debt, or other compounding claims on the next generation's wealth."
"The ultimate solution to the crisis of the U.S. welfare state will be a cultural revolution among the American middle class that will elevate the prestige of such bourgeois values as thrift, work, and family .... Americans will have to rediscover the values that propelled the United States as an industrial power in the last century: they will have to reinvent themselves as sturdy, independent, and thrifty bourgeoisie."
"So pervasive has our debt-driven consumer culture become that it is next to impossible for any individual to see it for the dangerous addiction it is .... Why is the current culture unable to rediscover or reinvent the thrift ethos it so desperately needs to restore long-term prosperity? One reason is that thrift still has no champions." Unfortunately, he goes off the deep end and pushes for "the federal government" to "undertake a public education program about the importance of saving, similar in scope to the campaigns it has launched against smoking." He goes on to say the government should even force people to save as the Japanese government has done. He says many countries have "mandatory savings plans." You know where I stand about government. It's none of their business. He is not looking deeply enough at how to get people to do right. You do not do it with a gun to their head. He says, "Without coercion, tens of millions of Americans will fail to save adequately to finance their old age or prepare for other life contingencies." He's wrong. It would only make people less responsible.
He correctly says at the end of his book, "The demise of the middle-class welfare state will also foster another cultural change many Americans today say they yearn for: stronger families. In a world without Social Security and other middle-class subsidy programs, more and more stigma will attach to divorce, just as in Victorian times, because of the huge financial risks it will pose to all involved. Similarly, middle-class parents will once again have an extra and all-important incentive to invest their time, money and energy in the well-being of their children: they will need their children's gratitude and support in old age. For many Americans, saving up enough to be protected against all potential financial threats will be impossible. Thus, Americans will have more reason than ever to build strong family relationships and other mutual aid networks, just as pioneers on the prairie did. And like those pioneers, we will all be able to take pride in our independence from distant governments." He says "the pain of withdrawal will be excruciating, but every generation has its challenges." He says "we are all the beneficiaries of that discipline [thrift and industry] practiced by previous generations; our only burden is now to take up the same torch and to carry it into the twenty-first century."
The 19th century believed in individuals and communities taking responsibility for their lives. The 20th century believes that elites living thousands of miles away should guide them. The 19th century focused on the private, the intimate, the personal. The 20th century focus on the public, the bureaucracy, the impersonal. Father is into the 19th century, America is into the 20th. He is for decentralization; America is into centralization.
The Third Blessing is dominion over creation. In the ideal world everyone has adequate food, clothing and shelter. Satan works very hard to create a world where people live in hunger, rags and shacks. For decades an average of 40,000 children die of hunger and disease every single day. In America, millions of pets are fed better than millions of people in poor countries. The question is how do we organize the world so everyone and every pet eats good food every day forever. Father says he wants to end world hunger by having everyone live in international communities. I'll discuss some ideas on communities in chapter nine. The question is what is the blueprint for communities and nations.
Father is for capitalism. Don't believe me? Answer these questions. Is Father for entrepreneurs and decentralization, or is he for elites planning everyone's lives at headquarters? Let me say it another way. Is he for public schools or private schools? Let me say it in still another way. Is he most interested in what goes on in the grass roots little governments of people's homes where he says the man is the president, or is he more interested in bureaucratic big government playing Big Brother or Big Daddy?
Father has consistently been for decentralization. The core difference between capitalism and socialism is that capitalism is decentralized and socialism is centralized. Those who hate capitalism teach Satan's lie that capitalism is centralized because a few greedy billionaires take money from the poor and then go eat caviar on their yachts. Socialists, who think they are more sensitive, idealistic and spiritual, say the materialistic capitalists creates inequality and teach that we must force the rich to give to the poor. They are robin hoods fighting the evil rich in their lavish castles.
The problem gets down to the word "equality." Communists, socialists and feminists are obsessed with this word. They see capitalism as too messy, too dirty, too competitive. Competition disgusts them. They want gentle, warm, gooey cooperation. Capitalism scares them. It is too rough and tumble. It is too full of surprises. Socialists are neat freaks. They want everything to be in its place and predictable. They see most people as stupid and selfish and therefore in need of their wise guidance.
Father is spending billions helping those who are for decentralized economics and politics. And he wants to see the world organized into communities where people help each other locally. At one of his science conferences, Father gave Nobel prize winner of economics, Friedreich von Hayek, a check for $50,000. Hayek is one of my heros. I've been reading him for fifteen years now. I love this champion of capitalism and this great fighter of socialism.
Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal
Ayn Rand named a book Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal. She meant laissez-faire capitalism, not the mixed economy we have now. Capitalism is truly an unknown ideal to most people. Capitalism has been unjustly criticized for over a hundred years. Lately, there is beginning to be a turn around in the academic community toward appreciating it. Arthur Seldon's book Capitalism goes into this.
Hayek writes eloquently that this should be a treasured belief. Murray Rothbard writes, "Hayek has written that one of the great attractions of socialism has always been the continuing stress on its 'ideal' goal." Hayek writes, "We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. What we lack is a liberal Utopia (by liberal, Hayek is using the 19th century word for free enterprise)...a truly liberal radicalism...which is not too severely practical and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible. We need intellectual leaders who are prepared to resist the blandishments of power and influence and who are willing to work for an ideal, however small may be the prospects of its early realization. They must be men who are willing to stick to principles and to fight for their full realization, however remote...Free trade and freedom of opportunity are ideals which still may rouse the imaginations of large numbers, but a mere 'reasonable freedom of trade' or a mere 'relaxation of controls' is neither intellectually respectable nor likely to inspire any enthusiasm. The main lesson which the true liberal must learn from the success of the socialists is that it was their courage to be Utopian which gained them the support of the intellectuals and thereby an influence on public opinion which is daily making possible what only recently seemed utterly remote."
Marx's written goal came true
When Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto his goals, who would have thought they would have come true in America. He wrote the goal for substituting home school for public school. And 100 years later America does exactly what he wants. What was considered dangerously socialistic became years later"mainstream." He was crystal clear in his goals. Christians were vague. Socialists are dedicated and keep pushing their agenda and everyone gets tired of saying no and just gives in. Senator Rudman left the U.S. Senate after 12 years and wrote a book saying that if could do it over again he would have stood against his party and President Reagan when they increased the national debt. He is right that we must stand up for principles instead of just going along.
Hayek is right in that we must fight as the socialists fight for their beliefs. They are long range and chip away until they win. God's side is in a fog and thinks there is some truth to what they say and progressively accept their ideology. It's the story of the frog getting boiled and not knowing it until it is too late. Hayek is doing his best to teach America and the world the evil of socialism and few listen. Even conservatives will look at him and say he's too "extreme". Milton Friedman is respected in the Republican Party, but he is labeled "extreme". The UC is "extreme" in teaching an ideal world. We should be teaching "extreme" libertarian economics and not letting up till we win. Hayek says, "Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost."
Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations
The classic book on the magic of capitalism to produce wealth is Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. God works through capitalism. Smith said in a famous passage that there is an "invisible hand" that works mysteriously in free enterprise, private property and competition. He says, "As every individual, therefore, endeavors as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry...every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it .... and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it." God works in mysterious ways. God made it that billions of people can concentrate on their talents and by doing so the work of the world gets done without some bureaucracy. God and Father hate bureaucrats. Government regulators can't keep up with and get in the way of capitalist's creativity.
Common sense says that if you just leave people alone, if you have the attitude of laissez-faire, people will die of starvation. Common sense also says the earth is flat. Freedom works. It is a law of nature as powerful as the law of gravity. The 19th century was close to being laissez-faire capitalism, and we had giants like Jefferson and Lincoln. Entrepreneurs like Edison gave us light, and the Wright brothers gave us flight. There was a burst of invention and wealth the world had never seen. God wanted the 20th century to continue being capitalist, but Satan brainwashed everyone through such socialists as Marx and Engels. America gave up their children to state schools and their local associations to help the poor to state welfare. Power went to the top instead of being at the bottom. Taxes went from 10% to 50%, and problems increased ten-fold.
Satan has everyone thinking they have gone "beyond" the Victorians. Libertarians teach that that view is wrong. Robert Ringer in Restoring the American Dream says that people are wrong in believing that capitalism was cruel to people in the 19th century. Mankind was going through a growth period and what capitalists offered was better than what they had without them. It was bad in the factories, but it was worse in the country. He writes, "The conditions of the factories, by comparison, were like the Promised land to him. Never before had he lived so well. People do not voluntarily leave one job for another if the new job offers lower pay, longer hours and inferior working conditions." Hayek in Capitalism and the Historians presents a truer picture of what happened during the Industrial Revolution than the common myth everyone believes. Hayek writes, "Who has not heard of the 'horrors of early capitalism' and gained the impression that the advent of this system brought untold new suffering to large classes who before were tolerably content and comfortable? ... The widespread emotional aversion to 'capitalism' is closely connected with this belief that the undeniable growth of wealth which the competitive order has produced was purchased at the price of depressing the standard of life of the weakest elements of society." Hayek goes on to explain how capitalism developed to produce an economic miracle and brought "enormous improvement" to the masses.
In Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World the author says,"The nineteenth century was the ultimate product and expression of the intellectual trend of the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, which means: of a predominantly Aristotelian philosophy. And, for the first time in history, it created a new economic system, the necessary corollary of political freedom, a system of free trade on a free market: capitalism."
"No, it was not a full, perfect, unregulated, totally laissez-faire capitalism -- as it should have been. Various degrees of government interference and control still remained, even in America -- and this is what led to the eventual destruction of capitalism. But the extent to which certain countries were free was the exact extent of their economic progress. America, the freest, achieved the most."
" Never mind the low wages and the harsh living conditions of the early years of capitalism. They were all that the national economics of the time could afford. Capitalism did not create poverty -- it inherited it. Compared to the centuries of precapitalist starvation, the living conditions of the poor in the early years of capitalism were the first chance the poor had ever had to survive. As proof -- the enormous growth of over 300 per cent, as compared to the previous growth of something like 3 per cent per century."
There is a mistaken notion that if you took the wealth from the rich and distributed it, everyone would have all they need. One man told this to John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men in the world. He responded by taking out a silver dollar and threw it on the table saying, "Here's your portion." Marx hated the rich. Stalin killed them. There are not finite pieces of pie in economics. Because one man has more money than another does not mean he has taken from someone else.
George Gilder in Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise says in his chapter "The enigma of enterprise" that disparity of wealth is good and criticism of those who have money is wrong. Doesn't Father have a lot of money? Is he the only person on earth who is spending it wisely? Gilder gives reasons why it is good that entrepreneurs have money. He says, "Why should the top 1 percent of families own 20 percent of the nation's wealth, while the bottom 20 percent have no measurable net worth at all? On a global level, the disparity assumes a deadly edge. Why should even this bottom fifth of Americans be able to throw away enough food to feed a continent, while a million Ethiopians die of famine? Why should the dogs and cats of America eat far better than the average citizen on this unfair planet?"
"We all know that life is not fair, but to many people, this is ridiculous. These huge disparities seem to defy every measure of proportion and propriety .... Most observers now acknowledge that capitalism generates prosperity. But the rich seem a caricature of capitalism. Look at the 'Forbes Four Hundred' list of the wealthiest people, for example, and hold your nose. Many of them are short and crabby, beaked and mottled, fat and foolish." Many, he says never finished high school or college. "But capitalism exalts a strange riffraff with no apparent rhyme or reason. Couldn't we create a system of capitalism without fat cats? Wouldn't it be possible to contrive an economy that is just as prosperous, but with a far more just and appropriate distribution of wealth?
"Wouldn't it be a better world if rich entrepreneurs saw their winnings capped at, say, $15 million. Surely Sam Walton's heirs could make do on a million dollars or so a year of annual income."
"Most defenders of capitalism say no. They contend that the bizarre inequalities we see are an indispensable reflection of the processes that create wealth. They imply capitalism doesn't make sense, morally or rationally, but it does make wealth. So, they say, don't knock it." He says some people defend greed as making the system go. Gilder criticizes Adam Smith for having such a cynical view of people for saying "it is only from the entrepreneur's 'luxury and caprice,' his desire for 'all the different baubles and trinkets in the economy of greatness,' that the poor 'derive that share of the necessaries of life, which they would in vain have expected from his humanity or his justice."
"In perhaps his most famous lines, Smith wrote of entrepreneurs: 'In spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they proposed from the labours of all the thousands they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires...they are led by an invisible hand...and without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of society.' Thus did capitalism's greatest defender write of the rich of his day." Gilder says people like John Kenneth Galbraith today "speak of the rich wallowing in their riches and implicitly bilking the poor of the necessities of life."
Gilder is disgusted with this attitude towards hard working, creative people who provide goods and services: "What slanderous garbage it all is! This case for capitalism as a Faustian pact, by which we trade greed for wealth, is simple hogwash. America's entrepreneurs are not more greedy than" most other people. He says, "they work fanatically hard. In proportion to their holdings or their output, and their contributions to the human race, they consume less than any group of people in the history of the world."
Gilder loves capitalists. He says it is worth bringing out violins and getting teary eyed at the cornucopia of abundance and beauty they give. Instead of looking at all the things at the mall as greed, we should be inspired and excited. Once my wife went shopping with an early member of the UC, Lady Doctor Kim. They went into a mall, and my wife saw how excited this lady was at all the beauty. She told my wife that the ideal world will be so beautiful, and everyone will have all these nice things.
Gilder is the 20th century's greatest apologist for capitalism as being spiritual. He gives capitalism a theology. It is socialists who are unspiritual. He says, "Far from being greedy, America's leading entrepreneurs -- with some unrepresentative exceptions -- display discipline and self-control, hard work and austerity that excel that in any college of social work, Washington think tank, or congregation of bishops .... If you want to see a carnival of greed, watch Jesse Jackson regale an audience of welfare mothers on the 'economic violence' of capitalism, or watch a conference of leftist professors denouncing the economic system that provides their freedom, tenure, long vacations, and other expensive privileges while they pursue their Marxist ego-trip at the expense of capitalism."
Gilder explains that the rich have their money tied up in businesses that can go under the next day. The world is changing so fast that nothing is secure. Everyday you have to compete and win the customer. The competition to serve is great. It requires constant attention. All my life I have typed on a typewriter from a company that dominated the industry, Smith Corona. Last year they went out of business. Computers came and everyone went that direction. The free market is exciting, not a dog-eat-dog world. It is as exciting as watching athletes compete or playing chess. The president of the UC was not chosen at random. He won the favor of Father. He works hard and pleases his boss. He has equal value to me, but we do not have equal access to Father. There is order here. Should Father have to report to anybody to make that decision? Of course not. Why should the owner of a barber shop have to report to anybody? But he does. He has to report to many government agencies that tell him in a hundred ways how to run his business. Father had to report to these socialists, the IRS, and they took him to court. Regulators are everywhere, and they use force if you don't do as they say. The only role of government should be to protect people from violent criminals and to be an umpire to settle disputes in court. That was the vision of our Founding Fathers. They left people alone to build their dreams whether it was a garbage company or a church.
Gilder says, "In a sense, entrepreneurship is the launching of surprises. What bothers many critics of capitalism is that a group like the Forbes Four Hundred is too full of surprises. Sam Walton opens a haberdashery and it goes broke. He opens another and it works. He launches a shopping center empire in the rural south and becomes America's richest man. Who would have thunk it?" God works in mysterious ways. The messiah is the ultimate surprise. God wants people to be open to surprises. He wants a free market so the messiah isn't crushed by socialists who are out to protect everyone.
Automatic transmissions -- frivolous luxuries?
What is one man's greed today, often becomes common household items tomorrow. When automatic transmissions came out on cars just before WWII, few could afford them. Some at that time said it was a frivolous luxury. Of course, it is common place now. When WWII came, both America and Germany were trying to perfect them to use in military vehicles but because America had so much experience from the private sector using many thousands of these transmissions on personal cars, the Americans quickly applied it to military purposes. The military used it build a tank and that helped us to win the war. Socialists are nay sayers and don't know the effects of what they call greed. Who knows how much electronic games have contributed to inventing military devices that keep us safe. The marketplace produces cigarettes, but it also produces books teaching against it. It is better to win through persuasion than forcing people to do right. Socialists make more mistakes than the marketplace. Socialists killed Jesus and tortured Father in their quest for world peace.
Here is the story about the technology that helped us win the war because of what some would call greedy, hedonistic people absorbed with luxury. In Mainspring Henry Weaver says before the Second World War he read an article in a magazine on inventions. The author said that America needed government social planning. He said that there was too much wasted effort by people working on "non-essential gadgets" instead of "useful inventions. He was particularly critical of automobile design and made special mention of the trend toward automatic transmissions as an example of gadgetry gone rife. To make a long story short, it added up about like this: 'Right at a time when the world is tottering on the brink of disaster -- right when so many important things need to be done--the automobile industry is prostituting its talents and diverting its engineering genius to working out gadgets that relieve people of the inconsequential task of shifting gears by hand.'"
"Well, it was quite true that the world was tottering on the brink of disaster and it was also true that some of the automotive engineers had worked out a way to shift gears automatically. I didn't quite agree that it was a useless gadget, but maybe I was biased." He goes on to say a few years later during the war "tanks were being equipped with automatic transmissions .... This made the driving of a tank so simple that the operator could be trained in a matter of hours instead of weeks. The job no longer called for a muscular giant, and in a pinch the driver could help with the fighting. Along with these advantages and of even greater importance, the gears could be shifted without bringing the tank to a stop. This reduced the danger of getting hit." These automatic transmissions "made in American automobile factories played an important part in winning the war for ourselves and our Allies."
"Adding it all up, my thoughts began to turn back to the article that tried to draw hair-splitting distinctions between essential inventions and unnecessary gadgets." He goes on to explain how free people are creative and achieve more than people who are not. God works in mysterious ways, especially when people are free.
Entrepreneurs (like Father) drive socialists crazy because they come out of nowhere and mess things up. Socialists want to make people like widgits that can be categorized and made mathematically equal. There is no creativity. People are cogs in a machine who are predictable. Everything is neat. Entrepreneurs give socialist social engineers headaches. Gilder says, "entrepreneurship overthrows establishments rather than undergirds them, the entrepreneurial tycoons mostly begin as rebels and outsiders. Often they live in out-of-the-way place-- like Bentonville, Arkansas; Omaha, Nebraska; or Mission Hills, Kansas (or Israel and Korea) -- mentioned in New York, if at all, as the punch lines of comedy routines."
Socialists know the price of everything, but they don't know the value of anything. They don't know how to create wealth for all, just for the few. Gilder says, "The means of production of entrepreneurs are not land, labor, or capital, but minds and hearts .... The wealth of America is not an inventory of goods; it is an organic, living entity, a fragile pulsing fabric of ideas, expectations, loyalties, moral commitments, visions. To vivisect it for redistribution would eventually kill it."
"This process of wealth creation is offensive to levelers and planners because it yields mountains of new wealth in ways that could not possibly be planned. But unpredictability is fundamental to free human enterprise. It defies every econometric model and socialist scheme. It makes no sense to most professors, who attain their positions by the systematic acquisition of credentials pleasing to the establishment above them. By definition, innovation cannot be planned. Leading entrepreneurs...did not ascend a hierarchy; they created a new one. They did not climb to the top of anything. They were pushed to the top by their own success. They did not capture the pinnacle; they became it."
"This process creates wealth. But to maintain and increase it is nearly as difficult. A pot of honey attracts flies as well as bears. Bureaucrats, politicians, bishops, raiders, robbers, revolutionaries, short-sellers, managers, business writers, and missionaries all think they could invest money better than its owners. Owners are besieged on all sides by aspiring spenders -- debauchers of wealth and purveyors of poverty in the name of charity, idealism, envy, or social change."
"The single most important question for the future of America is how we treat our entrepreneurs. If we smear, harass, overtax, and overregulate them, our liberal politicians will be shocked and horrified to discover how swiftly the physical tokens of the means of production collapse into so much corroded wire, eroding concrete, scrap metal, and jungle rot. They will be amazed how quickly the wealth of America flees to other countries."
"Even the prospects of the poor in the United States and around the world above all depend on the treatment of the rich. If the rich are immobilized by socialism, the poor will suffer everywhere. High tax rates and oppressive regulations do not keep anyone from being rich. They prevent poor people from getting rich. But if the rich are respected and allowed to risk their wealth -- and new rebels are allowed to rise up and challenge them -- America will continue to be the land where the last regularly become the first by serving others." Gilder says the UC is one those great surprises to the elite in New York and within the beltway of Washington D.C. Gilder sees the salvation of America is in the entrepreneur -- the creative geniuses that pop up from nowhere. Gilder includes the UC in his list of those who will bring "renewal" to America. He writes: "The idea that America might find renewal from a melange of movements of evangelical women, wetbacks, Dartmouth Review militants, South Asian engineers, Bible thumpers, boat people, Moonies, Mormons, Cuban refugees, fundamentalist college deans, Amway soap pushers, science wonks, creationists, Korean fruit peddlers, acned computer freaks, and other unstylish folk seems incomprehensible to many observers who do not understand that an open capitalist society is always saved by the last among its citizens perpetually becoming the first." I love George Gilder. I also love my enemies the socialists. But I sure don't want to be around them. I would rather read and be around George Gilder and those who believe in capitalism such as the Republican Party and Libertarian Party instead of being around the Democratic Party and Socialist Party.
It is exciting to read the truth. One book that helped me was John Hosper's Libertarianism. I wish I could go into all the arguments he gives. It is clearly written and touches on so many topics in this debate. Skip the chapters on national defense. That's where Satan gets them. Some books have lists of books. David Bergland has a list in his book Libertarianism in One Lesson. A bookstore that focuses exclusively on Libertarian thought has a catalog they will send you of hundreds of books: Laissez Faire Books, 942 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103, (800) 326-0996. The longest running libertarian magazine is Reason. You might want to check out the Libertarian Party Headquarters, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute -- all in Washington D.C. I wish I could introduce you to more authors, but this book is just introductory thoughts.
Richard Lewis, the editor of the UNews, wrote an article once praising a book, The Economy in Mind by Warren Brookes. He said, "This book will be of great interest to those who are developing Unification Thought. One of the purposes of Unification Thought is a critique and counter-proposal to Marxist philosophy. However, although Marxism has a well developed economic theory, there is a conspicuous lack of one in Unification Thought. Economy in Mind fits nicely into that gap and should prove a great help in the development of our philosophic system.'" George Gilder writes the foreward to the book.
Warren Brookes asked Milton Friedman why people have little or no appreciation of America's successful free-market system: "I asked Nobelist economist Milton Friedman why most American students still graduate from high schools not only with low performance but with such a socialist perspective .... His answer was characteristically clear: 'Because they are products of a socialist system. How can you expect such a system to inculcate the values of enterprise and competition, when it is based on monopoly state ownership?'"
Religion stands up to big brother
There is even a Christian libertarian movement. Insight magazine on June 7, 1993 had an article called "Religion Stands Up to Big Brother" that said Rev. Robert Sirico formed the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty that is "challenging the intellectual consensus long held in religious circles that socialism is morally superior to capitalism." The article said, "These libertarians abhor drug use and pornography, but believe the government shouldn't regulate such social ills, and their laissez-faire views extend to economics and foreign affairs." As usual the truth is mixed with lies. They are right to campaign for legalization of drugs, but they are wrong in being isolationist. Mother took a stand against distributing condoms in schools. We must make a stand on every issue from capital punishment to abortion to ERA.