April 19, 2009

Fascism 101 and Conservative Hypocrisy

Here is one of the best explanations of economic fascism that I have seen. A lot of people blame the economic crisis on the free-market when, in fact, our system is full of government intervention. What we are moving towards is a form of socialism most commonly associated with the tenants of fascism (corporatism).

I love this cartoon because it exposes many so-called conservatives for what they really are: hypocrites. They tout the idea of lower taxes while at the same time advocating higher government spending and bailouts. The real cost of government is NOT what it TAXES, but what it SPENDS.


Taylor & Stephanie Cane said...

So I agree with what you are trying to say about corporatism and fascism. But Ben, I know it's important to you to point out that there are lot of "fake" conservatives and I agree with you there are. But I honestly think there are more in congress and the senate then there are among the average folk. Most republicans really do want less taxes AND less government spending. I think the average shmoe republican actually wants it more than most of the "representatives" we have in congress.

Now is the time to unite with those who want less government, not divide ourselves in order to make a point about some difference. By all means stand up for what you believe in, but just as we as members of the church need to unite with those of other faiths to stand up for what's right, we need to do the same politically.

I know this sounds cliche but now is the time to band together on things we DO agree on.

S. Logan said...

I respectfully but absolutely disagree that it's just (or even mostly) the "representatives" in office; after all, who put them in office in the first place? It was the "average folk". Typically the doctrine of voting for the "lesser of two evils" is now presented, but this travesty of sophistry is best discussed another time.

Against the popular notion and empty political slogans, it is a natural principle that freedom actually is free. The ability to exercise it takes eternal diligence from the encroachment of man, for it is the disposition of man when he gets a little power (as he supposes) to exercise unrighteous dominion (yes, even in the GOP). Either rights, liberty, and freedom are inalienable, or they're not. The exercise, however, of these inalienable principles (as given by our Creator) may be physically prohibited by government (a collection of individuals) through usurpation and tyranny. Freedom exists naturally, without any "law" to say it exists. Step outside your home and take a deep breath... No "government" or "law" gave you that freedom and right of breath, it is yours naturally. How then do we, as men and women, believe that freedom exists through legislation? The Constitution was not a "law" towards the people, but a "compact" (Thomas Paine) of the people towards the government; it did not govern the people, but it governed government. The people simply existed and operated within their inalienable freedom.

A change toward freedom will only ever happen as we realize that the people are over government, not the government over the people. The creation is not better than the creator. No amount of erected "laws" make men free. As Bastiat said, "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." Sadly, the conservative movement has lost its way and become more leftist than it realizes. The new-conservative movement answers the neo-liberal ideology with "Democracy at the point of a gun" and "mandatory health insurance". Men are supposed to be accountable (no one disagrees), but the new-conservatives want to force them to be accountable. Seriously? If you allow man his freedom and do not control him to take care of another (liberalism) or force him to take care of himself (new-conservativism) then he is left with two choices naturally: Work, or do without.

Why do I disagree so ardently that the "fake" conservatives are rampant in this country? Because politicians don't elect themselves.
And because while the conservative movement screams and yells about socialism, they love their public schools; they scream about communism, but they openly support government mandates passed by the Bush Admin to infringe on the rights of individual citizens; they hate welfare, but they fight for their social security, unemployment checks, food stamps, WIC, and government grants! The conservatives want their government programs, they just don't want to pay for it. They want all the benefits of living in a socialist paradigm (having their cake), but without the lost freedoms, increased taxes, and heightened government that is associated with it (and eating it too). At least the liberals are honest enough to say "I want my government programs, but I'm willing to pay for them through higher taxes". Sadly, as a staunch conservative, I look around and find myself asking, "who are the REAL hypocrites?"

What am I going to "band together" to? When, as a conservative, I find myself finding just as much in common with the left as I do the right -- there is no "banding together" in any effective manner. Ever feel like Joseph Smith? I wonder what would have happened should he have just "banded together" with as many sects as he thought had the right views, and, by so doing, created the "Church" accordingly. This concept becomes a political twinkie. It looks good, smells good, tastes good... but it is hollow and has little-to-no-substance at all. I have personally supported men, in my ignorance, who supported a particular ideology (I "banded together"), but who later subverted freedom and liberty in a dozen other various ways. What did I then gain? Absolutely nothing. No, the answer is not found in empty slogans, cliche remarks, or nationalist dogmas, but in absolute principle, knowledge, pure understanding, and adherence to these things.

It was the acceptance and compromise of conservative leaders that allowed the socialistic trends and philosophies to enter conservativism. The neo-conservative movement has wreaked havoc on traditional conservatives and classic liberals, as conservative leaders succumbed to false philosophies.

Do what is right, let the consequence follow. Those who share in luke-warm philosophies will find that it leads them absolutely no where but merely another revolution in the cesspool of ideology.

Taylor & Stephanie Cane said...

I simply disagree with the assumption that most conservatives are hypocrites. I do think there is a portion of conservatives that want all their social programs and don't want to pay the taxes for them, but they are a minority.

The fact is politicians LIE profusely. NO "conservative" politician campaigns for more government spending (not that I'm aware of anyway). People elect people based on what they hear about them (their campaigns) and for the most part conservative campaigns are in deed fairly conservative. It's when these people get elected that everything goes down the drain. They only keep their conservative promises when it's politically convenient. (voting record Bush bailout vs. Obama bailout)

It would be easy to say that our government officials are just a reflection of the will of the people but unfortunately that would be giving more credit to functionality of our democracy then is due.

Marianne said...

I for one think it would be easier to say it's the fault of lying politicians who we can vote out of office than to say it's the fault of people too lazy to do their research. It's a lot harder to try to change your neighbor's views than to just complain about the lies of politicians. As a group, they certainly portray their share of falsehoods, but we as a people have rewarded that behavior. Why do politicians keep lying? Because it gets them elected. We have to start being more aware of who and what we are voting for, which takes actual research - a thing that most Americans are too busy for. But unless and until we do, our rights will continue to be eroded as we whine about how the mean politicians keep fibbing...

S. Logan said...

Elect a man once, and shame on him... but elect him twice? Yeah, "democracy" sucks the first time around, but the second, third, and fourth? Seriously? I look over the track record of Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett to see some of the most anti-conservative ideology imaginable. Why are THEY still in office? Chris Cannon only lost against Chaffetz because he didn't tap into his war chest, not because people were tired of his neo-con voting record. Yes, politicians lie, but their voting record doesn't (yet another reason why Romney's a fraud). Talk all they want, they can't erase the voting record. Look at the voting record -- who has the strongest and most consistent voting record in Congress? ..nods.. Yeah, you guessed it.

How many conservatives do you know that are against public education? An increase in spending and total revamp and promotion of public education was the very platform that Gov. Huntsman was elected on! And this in the "most conservative state in the union"! The Salt Lake Tribune did a state-wide survey a few years ago and polled the people asking them what they wanted the Utah government to do with the first excess money in over 50 years: Save and put it towards the next year's projects, or to create new government programs. Over 80% of Utahns said they wanted more government programs! More spending, less saving, and more government programs! Really? Again, and THIS in the "most conservative state in the Union". You're right, people elect candidates based on their campaign promises; however, their campaign promises are socialist! It appears that so long as you include the word "responsibility" with your socialist campaign platform that this makes everything okay. Even the "conservative GOP" candidates. Sorry, that's just the sad, sad truth.

How many conservatives are against government grants? You now how many thousands of students at BYU receive Pell grants every year? Again, this at one of the absolute most "conservative schools" in the United States. We can ignore the facts (they're not "assumptions"), or we can realize where the conservative movement has actually gone. Sure, we're all against the bail-out, but we're all for our government checks! How many Utahns returned their "stimulus check"? That's right, they "deserve" it, right? They're "entitled" to as much money as they can possible squeeze out of the system, right? They've been screwed to the point that anything they can milk the system for is justifiable, right? Well, apparently so, because we praise Huntsman for reaping as much money out of the Federal government as absolutely possible. Yeah, it seems we're all conservative until money is involved... we're all just a little more hypocritical about it. As I said, at least the liberals don't mind giving up their money for their social programs.

A former member of the Quorum of the Seventy, Elder H. Verlan Anderson, used to quiz his students when he taught at BYU to find out how many of them adhered strongly to socialist philosophies. He wrote about his findings over decades of teaching at BYU: Well over 95% of his students claimed to be staunch conservatives, but their answers to the questionnaire showed that they were well over 75% staunch socialist! Interesting? Well, I dunno, maybe he was just a liar.

The truth is, there just isn't much difference between the left and right anymore. When it really comes down to it, if you want to keep just a little bit more money (and still enjoy all of your social programs), keep a few pf your guns (albeit you agree that they should all be registered; yet another thing from our neo-con friends), scream against abortion in all cases under heaven (which isn't even in line with LDS church doctrine), and campaign against anti-fag legislation -- this is apparently all it takes to make someone a conservative anymore. Oh, and you have to adhere to at least a little blood-lust for foreign wars, and kill people before they have a chance of verbally threatening you. Mmmm, gotta love the new taste of conservativism.

I'd suggest a great read by LDS Church President, Spencer W. Kimball; Hugh Nibley said this was one of the greatest messages ever given by a Latter-day prophet, and said that the members on the Wasatch Front reacted with the "great freeze" of never-ever talking about it. It's entitled "The False Gods We Worship" (you can find it on lds.org), and I think this quite perfectly illustrates exactly what the conservative movement has evolved into.

BEN said...

This discussion is turning into another topic I wanted to address: how to effect change. I admit it is a difficult issue for me to approach. On the one side, I want to believe that I still have political power to preserve freedom through the political process. On the other hand, I see the blatant disregard for the ideals of freedom by virtually every politician out there that "represents" the people.
This is the one of the main reasons I started the blog. I feel that education is the best way to ultimately change the course of things. Truth is most often spread from individual to individual. It seems that lies are most often spread on the larger, more universal scale. That seems to be the role of political speeches and the sophistries of the media.

Taylor & Stephanie Cane said...

Well it is true that many who call themselves conservatives do participate in social programs I personally don't see this as something that deserves removing the title of conservative form them. Did you go to public schools shilo? So are you a neo-con? I'm sure you didn't know it though right? so couldn't the same logic be applied to those who accepted their refunds? after all isn't it just their own money they're getting back?

As you well know we live in a mixed economy. Forms of socialism exist all around us. Some of them are actually OK, it's called a social contract. The time to argue about whether we should head down a path of socialism was back in the early 1900's.

I believe that if you asked the same BYU students if they would give up their $2000+ pell grants if it meant paying $2000 less in taxes every year, they would say heck yes as would most conservatives. But I do understand what you mean when you say it's hypocritical to protest high taxes while accepting your SS checks etc. and I totally agree with that. But it's become part of our way of life, part of the "system" if you are going to improve the "system" you need to take steps toward true conservatism and capitalism. Like I said before, there is nothing wrong with compromise if it's leaning the right direction. The only reason our country exists is because of it.
That's one thing Ron Paul really did not do very well at. He didn't try to explain things in a way that made sense to people. Abolishing all these government programs all at once sounds dumb to people and it should. It would be a disaster! Do those same people who thought what he was saying was dumb disagree with him? When it really comes down to it, I think they would agree with most everything he had to say if he just had said it right! Of course there are other factors that might make people disagree with his stances but some of that is simply an undue sense of loyalty to president Bush, not because they are actually socialists and don't know it.

I truly believe that privatized schooling would be better! But am I going to send my kids to public schools? Unless I'm rich... You bet! Such has become American life. Needless to say it needs improvement I just think it's meaningless to go around defining who's a neo con and who isn't. If your definition means any conservative that partakes in socialist programs, my goodness, we are ALL neo-cons including yourself.

BEN said...

Taylor Taylor Taylor...Before Shiloh responds, I wanted to warn you that all the accusations you just made against him are false. He does not participate nor has he ever participated in socialized programs. He does not take tax rebates, because he does not participate in the looting of the socialist system. I agree with him on this principle and I think it a solid one. That is not to say that it is advocated for all to live this way. It is a personal decision. But if you believe in a principle and don't live it just because you don't think it is "practical" then you got another thing coming. Shiloh will have more to say about practicality and principle I am sure.

Taylor and Stephanie said...

Ben your wife works for the public school system.... (and there's nothing wrong with that) nuff said..

With regards to practicality and principle... Shiloh there is no way on earth you haven't participated in a socialist program at some point. That being said, I'm sure you will point out that you did it in ignorance. If so, why not show the "average folk" the same mercy you bestow upon yourself. After all, they are only ignorant.

Just a thought.

P.S. Shiloh I'm sure conversing with me is annoying but I like what you have said thus far, your posts make me think. Thanks!

BEN said...

As far as what I do or do not participate in, I have made a concerted effort to apply the principles of liberty as best I know how. I have made mistakes in the past because I have been ignorant of certain principles. There are certainly things I could do better. My wife being a public school teacher is something that we have discussed. I certainly don't dismiss the apparent contradiction there however.
As far as ignorance, you know as well as I do that you are held accountable for the laws that you have learned and not for ones you have not. Once a person has learned a law, he is obligated to abide by it, or he is under condemnation. I am not sure if you are justifying your planned participation in public schools as practical or principled, but the fact remains that you recognize it as a socialist program. Just because it flies in the face of your experience, doesn't mean it is an exception to the principle. Would you admit that it is in fact not based on true principles? If so, how you would justify your participation, given that it contradicts your principles?
Personally, I don't see how I could participate voluntarily, feeling the way I do about certain principles.
Because of the circumstances that I am in, there are certain things, like Social Security, taxes etc, that I am not currently at liberty to eschew. But, if liberty is an eternal principle for which we are eternally responsible, why would the way not be prepared for us to abide by its laws? I argue that one CAN live by the laws of liberty, no matter how difficult the circumstances may make it. Some exceptions may apply in areas where one is coerced beyond his ability to resist. In all other matters, as long as certain institutions are voluntary (public schools, grants etc) one still has the power to apply true principles in practice. That is the faith that believing in liberty requires. I think we can agree on this point.

S. Logan said...

I apologize for writing this late; I was busy with finals. Ben, the book you gave me is quite interesting, and I’m reading as much as possible. Thanks.

Taylor, as Ben said, we’re held accountable for the laws we know; however, we’re also held accountable for our apathy in not coming to know the law. Words offer the means to meaning, and if you redefine the meaning of a word, what word is to take the place of the old meaning? What is a "conservative"? It used to stand against socialism in all forms; however, today, it takes on an accumulation of meanings. Most conservatives have given up the fight against socialist tendencies, and have capitulated to the “system” – they are weary of the battle and have largely given in. They, however, are not so quick as to leave their old title of “conservative” behind. They want to accept their new behavior, but they want to take their old title with them. Hence, the classification for a new type of conservativism: neo-conservativism. This is not conspiracy, it is not harsh, it is not the frenzied mind of a “Ron Paul terrorist” (as said by Glenn Beck), this is simple political theory 101. People, however, get guarded when you call them on their apathy and socialized acceptance of society and they think you’re attacking them; this just isn’t so.

We do live in a mixed economy, so what? The “social contract” you speak of is a political twinkie spoken of in Political Science 110 classes, but it doesn’t mean anything. Whose version do you adhere to? Hobbes, Locke, or Rousseau? I personally accept Proudhon’s version before Rousseau. It’s a lie to believe that socialism needs to exist in some form to provide for social networks such as roads, stop signs, etc. These things can operate under the principles of Republican Government (as opposed to Democratic Government). If you glance at the US Constitution (Article 4, Section IV) you’ll find the only guarantee in the entire document is for a “Republican Form of Government”. If you read Machiavelli, who Madison (the “Father of the Constitution”) was an ardent student, you’ll find the dichotomy between Republics and Democracies; furthermore, if you read the words of the founders, you will be looking for the rest of your life to find a quote wherein the American Founders ever specifically spoke kindly of “Democracy”. They hated Democracy. Indeed, this dichotomy between Republics and Democracies is itself at the heart of our debate, but I will save this conversation for another time.

It is a socialist mentality to say, “I’ve been screwed, so I’m going to get mine”. This is at the very heart of class-war; this is the very system that the Aristotelian government model was capable of settling. Just because this is the way our society has become gives no leniency whatsoever to our obligation to fight it; the argument “everyone else is doing it” will never justify anyone (temporally or eternally), especially as members of the LDS Church who have been commanded to be better.

I know the context of “compromise” wherein you speak; I’ve argued this point extensively with many Political Science students, and I firmly disagree with it’s implication in the foundation of our country. Again, I’ll save this argument for another time.

As for me, no, nothing you have said has fit me. Without going into detail, I’ve never participated in government larceny. I did not attend public school, nor will I send any of my children there. I have never taken a government handout, although I thank the Lord for friends and family who have stood next to me to help me in my family’s time of need. I accept help freely given, but I cannot face my God knowing that I have forced another man to bear my burden or my stewardship (we have been promised to never be given something too great that we could no handle it) – regardless of how many people around me are telling me that it is okay to do so. “This, with God’s help, I have done” is something I adhere to strongly. If you are more interested in how and why I have never participated in the socialist system, then I will be more than willing to tell you everything outside this forum.

The argument should never be given, “I agree with something in principle, but it’s just not practical right now”. What would our have happened if our Savior, while suffering through the atonement, simply stood up and said, “This whole suffering thing works great in principle, but it’s just not practical”? He is our greatest example, and we should learn from him that principle is always practical, even if our society, culture, government, and overwhelming masses are telling us otherwise. Such a thought in Christ’s experience would certainly have been the work of the adversary; how can we say any differently when this principle is applied to our own lives? We live according to principle, for that is our heritage in these Latter-days. Why would we cheapen this by accepting something so far below who we are? There will be an accounting one day and we will be asked how we acted in accordance to our fellow man, and will we be justified by saying, “I participated in mass-government larceny, but everyone else was doing it”? The D&C teaches us, “Verily, verily, I saw unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God” (D&C 10:28). The principle is thus established: if we try to suck from the system, because we have been taken from, we have no escaped the justice of God. How can we thus obey the words of Christ in Matthew 5: “Whosever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (vs 39). Our system of government and economy is thus corrupt that we have no savings or actual monies in any place in our government. All money you send in is directly given to someone else immediately; you have no “savings” or “actual” accounting with the government. It is all take and dole immediately. Our participation in this system is an immediate theft from our neighbor, and any retaliation to regain what we thought we’ve lost is in violation to these two scriptures (among many others).

I could further elaborate, and I’m sure there are questions. But I will end here.

S. Logan said...

Oh, and Taylor, no, your posts haven't been annoying. It's a good conversation.

Taylor and Stephanie said...

Wow. I am truly impressed Shiloh. Haha, I was not expecting that response. Good stuff.

I think all of us (participating in this blog) value liberty. I think the difference lies in how much we value liberty. I honestly have never even spoken to anyone in my entire life who obviously values the principle of liberty more than you and Ben do. Impressive.

There are several other issues I wanted to discuss in more depth such as practicality and principle and compromise but I think if we continue here it will spillover too much into other discussions.

Bravo Ben! Next discussion please!