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Obama-Mania

(originally launched into cyberspace on 11/01/2008)

The ones I most hope read this message are, unfortunately, the ones
least likely to do so. People like to have hope; they like to have
something to believe in, something to cheer for. And when they
think they've found something to be proud of, something to have
faith in, something worth supporting, they become psychologically
attached to it, which often makes them unable to objectively
examine what it is they are supporting. If you call into question
their supposedly noble cause, they are far more likely to question
your motives than they are to listen to what you have to say.
However, the truth should always be stated, whether people want to
hear it or not. So here goes:

Hardly anyone is pleased with the political status quo in this
country these days, as evidenced by the fact that the very phrase,
"status quo," has a derogatory implication. Every politician knows
this, which is why every one, including those who have been in the
establishment for decades, speaks about wanting "change." After
all, who would ever win an election with a campaign based on, "I
like things the way they are"? Nobody.

And a desire for real, significant change is certainly
understandable, given the cesspool of corruption and deception
which our federal government has devolved into. So when someone
stands up and says, "I want something different!," many people
instinctively cheer. They want something different, too. In fact,
almost everyone wants something different, so much so that they
often forget to ask WHAT will be different, and how. "As long as
it's not what we have now..." The assumption is that it can't be
any worse. Well, it can be. A lot worse.

A lot of people are deeply excited about the candidacy of Barrack
Obama, whose campaign theme, as everyone by now has noticed, is
"change." The structure of the message is not new or unique: "What
we have now is rotten, but if you put me into power, it will change
dramatically." Such a simple, persuasive message is what put Adolf
Hitler into power. And Mao Tse Tung. And all the communist tyrants
in the former Soviet Union. And Castro in Cuba. And Pol Pot in
Cambodia. The list goes on forever: the vast majority of names that
we now associate with suffering and death acquired the means to do
what they did by promising to change the way things are.

Of course, a lot of good people, who accomplished a lot of good
things, also stressed the message of change. The point is, "change"
in and of itself is neither automatically good nor automatically
bad, but has the potential to be either. But, in order to avoid
being enablers of evil, any potential adherents must set aside
their enthusiasm and hope long enough to ask themselves, "WHAT
change is being advocated here? What will be changed, and how, and
what will the effects, short term and long term, be?"

How do supporters of Barrack Obama answer those questions? In
short, only those with mental telepathy powers can answer them at
all, because no one in the campaign is saying precisely WHAT the
"change" is going to be. There are the usual vague, feel-good
politician lines, such as "Everyone will have affordable
healthcare." That would be a nice outcome, but unless Mr. Obama has
a magic wand and pixie dust we don't know about, there has to be a
MEANS to achieve that noble-sounding end. So what is it? And the
same can be asked of any of the other promises, from Mr. Obama or
anyone else. When they paint the picture of hope, love, and
happiness for all, how do they propose getting there? If merely
WANTING those things would make them happen, they would have
happened centuries ago. So what is the mechanism through which Mr.
Obama proposes to achieve such things?

It is in this paragraph that most current Obama supporters will
simply refuse to continue reading. They like the feeling of hope
that Obama-mania gives them, and they like to believe that this
could be their chance to help make a better world. So they don't
want to hear it, and so will shut their eyes and ears, when someone
like me breaks the news to them: Mr. Obama's proposed "change" is
not unique; it is not new; and most importantly, it always results--
every single time--in increased suffering and destruction. Today
this "change" is decorated with rainbows and sunshine, and images
of unity, love and happiness. But underneath the window dressing,
the "change" proposed has a name: "communism." It does not promote
unity, love or happiness; it is horrendously destructive, and
utterly incompatible with human civilization.

When most people use terms like "communism" or "fascism," they use
them for shock value, or as generic derogatory terms. Most people
who use such terms can't even define them. I, on the other hand, do
not use such terms for their emotional effect, or as meaningless
insults. I use them to precisely and literally describe belief
systems, and the types of "governments" they naturally lead to.

We've all seen videos of the cheering throngs at speeches given by
Adolf Hitler. Were they cheering because they were all evil? No, of
course not. The were cheering because they believed his lies, and
allowed their best virtues to be twisted and exploited by the
deceptive rhetoric of people who were driven entirely by love of
dominion. In light of that fact, I would strongly urge any
supporter of Mr. Obama--and any supporter of Mr. McCain, for that
matter--to take the time to read the following, before throwing
your support behind this latest unspecified pitch for "change."

Communism's Soul

"Communism" is a dirty word these days, but though almost everyone
knows it means something bad, they can't actually define the term,
and can't really say for sure what's so bad about it. All they know
is that it's something nasty, and that lots of people have suffered
as a result of it. But there is a specific, simple principle behind
all collectivist philosophies, and there is a very logical reason
for the horrendous things they have led to throughout the world and
throughout history. Though the terms "communism" and "socialism"
have slightly different academic definitions, the underlying
premise of both is collectivism.

The concept of collectivism is all about property and ownership,
not only of material things, but also of human beings. In a
nutshell, it is the idea that every individual, rather than
belonging to himself, is the rightful property of the people as a
whole--the "collective." Whatever an individual creates, or
whatever he receives in trade (such as getting paid for doing work)
does not--in the eyes of collectivists--actually belong to that
individual any more than it belongs to anyone else. The
collectivists' view of property is summed up nicely in the line,
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his
need."

At first glance, it seems like a nice idea: everyone will be
productive, and the less fortunate will get what they need. So why
does it always seem to end up as death and destruction when put
into practice? The answer is actually painfully simple and
understandable, though you won't get it from the media or from
academia (both of which are devout advocates of collectivism).

Suppose you come home from work at lunch time one day, and are
craving an egg salad sandwich. Maybe you have your own chicken
coop, or maybe you buy eggs from someone else. What you don't make
yourself, you can get by trading the stuff that you get paid for
doing the work you do. You then sit down in your kitchen, combine
and process the ingredients, and voila: an egg salad sandwich. Just
before you take a bite, your collectivist neighbor walks in.

"Hey, what's up?" asks the collectivist.
"I was just about to eat my sandwich," you respond.
"What do you mean YOUR sandwich?" he inquires.
"My sandwich. I just made it."
"Well, how hungry are you?"
"Pretty hungry," you answer, and try again to take a bite.
"Well, I'm sorry to break the news to you," Mr. Collectivist says,
"but I'm extremely hungry, so it's actually MY sandwich."
"What are you talking about? I bought the ingredients, with money I
earned, and I put it together. That makes it mine."
"Oh, you capitalist exploiters are so ignorant," Mr. Collectivist
responds, adding, "Don't you know that your ABILITY to make the
sandwich obligates you to make it, but my greater NEED for it
entitles me to have it?"
"Look, I still have enough stuff for you to make your own. Heck,"
you add, starting to feel rather annoyed, "I'll even make one for
you, if you'll just shut up."
"No, no, that won't do. You see, it's not yours to give. It's
rightfully mine, because I NEED it. For you to eat it would be
stealing. In fact, I must insist that you give me my sandwich right
now."
"I bought the stuff, I made it," you growl, "and that makes it
mine. I was going to be nice and make you one, but now forget it.
Get out of my house."
"What do you mean YOUR house? I have more kids than you, and more
furniture than you, yet your house is bigger than mine. You
obviously don't NEED this house as much as I do, and therefore it
rightfully belongs to me, not you. So get out."
"Are you out of your mind? You think you supposedly 'needing' it
matters more than the fact that I'm the one who pays the dang
mortgage every month?"
"Absolutely. Your outdated bourgeoisie concept of private property
is oppressive and unjust. In truth, you are robbing me merely by
having something that I need. Once again, I must insist that you
get out of my house. Oh, and give me my sandwich on your way out."
"Wow, you've really gone off the deep end, haven't you? If you
think you can pay all the bills, you can go get your own house."
"This IS my own house. My need entitles me to it. And besides, I'm
not going to be paying the bills. You are. I'm not able to pay all
those bills, as you know. You have the money, so you are obligated
to pay the bills."
"So you want to take this house, and you want me to pay all the
bills, too? And what if I don't?"
"Well, I really must insist. Since my need makes all of this
rightfully mine--not just the house, but the water and electricity,
among other things--then you would be stealing if you refused to
provide these things to me, and I can't allow that."
"Before I kick your lunatic rear end out of here, I have one more
question for you. If all the time, effort and money I've put into
this house doesn't make it mine--if NEED determines who owns all
this--then why would it be yours? Why wouldn't it all rightfully
belong to some homeless guy who has nothing, and who 'needs' it a
lot more than either of us?"
"Because I was here first!"

Granted, the foregoing hypothetical conversation seems
unbelievable. This is NOT, however, because it does not accurately
reflect the basis of all collectivist philosophy, but because in
real life, collectivists are never that honest about what they
actually believe. They know that to have their beliefs accepted by
the mainstream, they must be hidden under many layers of
euphemisms, distractions and obfuscations. For example, here is
what a discussion might very well sound like between me and just
about any politician:

"We need to do more to help the less fortunate," says Mr.
Politician.
"I give pretty much, though these days I feel like I AM the less
fortunate," I answer. "But what are you actually proposing? Are you
just asking me to please give a little more to charity?"
"Well, no," he answers. "I'm saying that we need more government
funding and programs to assist the poor and needy, so they can have
a better standard of living, affordable health care--"
"Sorry to interrupt you there," I rudely cut in, "but where does
government get the money for that stuff?"
"Well, from taxes, of course," he answers, beginning to fidget a
bit.
"You mean from what the government takes from me, and lots of other
people?"
"Of course. Taxes are the price we all must pay in order to have
the great civilization that--"
"By 'must' pay, do you mean that we really ought to, or do you mean
that the government will punish us if we don't?"
"Well, I'm proud to pay my taxes, knowing that it helps those less
fortunate, and that--"
"Okay, I wasn't really asking whether you like paying it. I'm
asking, am I free to choose to pay this or not, or will the
government do unpleasant things to me if I don't pay?"
"Well, of course we need the people to pay their taxes. There have
to be penalties for those who don't comply."
"So if I don't go along with it, they'll take even more, or throw
me in prison? What justifies that threat of force against me?"
"Well, there are people who are in poverty, who need various
services and goods. And since you have money--"
"So my supposed ABILITY to hand over money makes it okay to rob me,
and their alleged NEED entitles them to receive it? In other words,
from each according to his ability, to each according to his need?"
"Um, I have to go now..."

Collectivists like to imagine themselves to be charitable, when
they are nothing of the sort. In fact, the philosophy of
collectivism is utterly incompatible with true charity. Charity is
when a person chooses, of his own free will, to give his time,
effort and/or money to someone else. To give away someone ELSE's
property is not charity, especially when it is taken from them
against their will. Furthermore, it is not charitable to be robbed,
even if what is stolen from you is given to someone truly needy.
There cannot be true charity unless there is free will--unless the
giver VOLUNTARILY gives to someone else--and that is never how
"government" works.

In fact, because collectivists view "need" as the basis of rightful
ownership, the needy person already OWNS whatever he "needs," and
so the person who gives it to him, even willingly, is--in the eyes
of collectivists--merely returning stolen property. The concept of
"giving" depends upon the concept of private ownership. If you own
nothing, you can give nothing. And for the collectivists, only
"need" creates legitimate ownership, rendering charity and kindness
literally impossible.

Another glaring flaw underlying all collectivist beliefs is the
fact that "need" is something that is utterly impossible to
objectively define or determine. Imagine some lunch room at a work
site. You walk in with an egg salad sandwich, and ask, "Who needs
this the most?" What are the chances that among a dozen workers,
everyone would agree who "needs" it the most? Anyone who is hungry
will WANT it, and will claim to "need" it.

Even if someone invented a "hungerometer," that would not solve the
problem. If one guy is more hungry, but has a full lunch box in his
locker, the less hungry guy next to him, who has no lunch box,
would have the greater "need." Unless that guy has plenty of pocket
cash, and so could easily go buy food, in which case the next guy
over, who has no cash and no lunch box, has the greater need, even
though he's not very hungry at the moment. Then the biggest guy
says his need counts for more, because he needs to eat more food.

Suppose that, in spite of the thousands of different factors
involved, everyone there agreed on who "needs" the sandwich the
most. After the guy has eaten half of the sandwich, or even one
bite, the equation changes again. He has now eaten a bit, and some
of the others have had nothing, so their "need" now outweighs his.
They could spend hours coming up with a complex mathematical
formula, taking into account dozens of variables, to determine that
Worker #1 is entitled to 16.3456% of the sandwich, and that Worker
#2 is entitled to only 7.2345% of the sandwich, and so on. What are
the chances that everyone would agree on the results? Slim to none.

And that's just for one sandwich among a dozen people. Now imagine
applying such a standard to all the material wealth in the world,
to be divided up among six BILLION people. Because "need" is always
a subjective concept, there can never be mutual agreement on
exactly who "needs" what, even among a dozen people, much less six
billion. And that is why every collectivist state quickly becomes a
question of, Who gets to DECIDE who "needs" what? And the result is
that a group of people wearing the label "government" declare
themselves to be the ultimate deciders of who "needs" what, and
therefore the deciders of who will have money, food, housing, etc.,
and who will not. In practice, therefore, the misguided ideal of
everyone jointly owning everything (collectivism) always results in
a very small group of people controlling and owning everything. The
real-world results can be seen in the mass starvation, mass murder,
and widespread oppression and poverty under the regimes of Stalin,
Mao, and many other collectivist "leaders."

It has been said that communism works in theory, but not in
practice. But it only works in theory if one ignores half a dozen
obvious, simple aspects of human nature and logic. Two very simple,
understandable laws of economics GUARANTEE that collectivism will
always result in both poverty and violence, despite any utopian
predictions to the contrary.

The first can be seen in the egg salad sandwich example. If "need"
determines rightful ownership, then if two collectivists each think
they "need" something more than the other, then they each view that
thing as their OWN rightful property, and likewise view as theft
any attempt by anyone else to take that thing. And when someone
views something as his own, he will feel justified in using
violence to stop someone else from taking it. The guy who thinks
his supposed "need" makes that sandwich HIS, will feel perfectly
justified punching out the other guy who is trying to take it from
him; while the other guy, who also thinks the sandwich belongs to
him because of his own "need" for it, will feel perfectly justified
in trying to take it by force.

And if you multiply the problem to include billions of people and
all the wealth on the planet, instead of a dozen guys and one
sandwich, it's not difficult to understand why collectivist
"systems" always degenerate into violence. In short, despite all
the high-minded rationalizations it hides behind, collectivism is
the "philosophy" of every cockroach and sewer rat: "If I want it, I
must need it, and if I need it, I have a right to it, and if I have
a right to it, it doesn't matter what I have to do to get it." The
fact that such an inherently animalistic, short-sighted, anti-human
viewpoint is now painted by some as compassionate and "progressive"
does not make it any more sane, or any less dangerous.

The reason collectivism leads to poverty is no more complicated,
and can again be seen in the egg salad sandwich example. If you
lived in a world where everyone was a devout collectivist, what
incentive would there be for you to make an egg salad sandwich? In
a free, individualistic society that understands private property,
the incentive is simple: making the sandwich provides you with
lunch. But in a collectivist society, being the one who makes the
sandwich, or buys the ingredients, doesn't give you the slightest
claim to the sandwich as compared with anyone else. If "need" alone
determines ownership, then you would have to make several BILLION
egg salad sandwiches, and somehow distribute them to everyone
hungrier than you, before you'd have the right to eat one yourself.
Otherwise, in the eyes of the collectivists, you'd be stealing,
because every sandwich you made would rightfully belong to someone
else--someone who "needs" it more than you do.

The same is true of all other wealth. Why work to earn a paycheck,
why build a house, why save up for the future, why do anything
remotely productive if doing so doesn't give you any rightful claim
to anything? If a bunch of ungrateful, entitlement-mentality whiny
parasites are going to fight over who gets to take whatever you
produce, why bother? If what you get comes entirely from your
supposed "need," and not at all from what you produce, why produce
anything? Is it worth building several billion houses, so you can
have one? Is it even possible? Of course not, which is why
productivity screeches to a halt when collectivism is instituted.
(Even Karl Marx, the most famous proponent of communism,
acknowledged this, saying that free trade was needed to CREATE the
wealth, after which collectivists would take over and fairly
distribute it to those who needed it most.)

So if you like to feel good about yourself, while promoting
violence and poverty, have at it. But if you actually CARE about
other people, you might want to think twice before falling for the
same old collectivist garbage wrapped up in new, fancy packaging.
There is a very simple test to determine whether you are advocating
collectivism:

"But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See
if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives
it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law
benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the
citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime." [Frederick
Bastiat]

EVERY politician, Democrat or Republican, does exactly that, on a
daily basis, in order to buy the votes of the very people he is
robbing. And though this has been going on in various countries for
centuries, and has never resulted in the utopia predicted by the
collectivists, people keep right on cheering for it. Whether it's
called "change," "progress," "hope," or anything else, it will
always be inhuman and horribly destructive.

Ironically, something very close to the utopian ideal envisioned by
collectivists can be, and has been, accomplished by the exact
OPPOSITE of collectivism: an uncompromising adherence to the
concepts of individual rights and private property. Though it has
been many decades since the United States had anything resembling a
free economy, in a very short time the relative economic freedom
which followed the American Revolution transformed a bunch of
mostly farming colonists into the leading economic power of the
world. The wealth created by such freedom allowed for a level of
charity unheard of in the rest of the world, and we are still
riding the momentum from that experiment, though 99% of Americans
haven't the faintest idea of what made this country so wealth
(freedom). A comparison of the "needy" in the former Soviet Union,
and the "needy" in this country, is all one needs to decide whether
collectivism is helpful or not.

Afterward

Barrack Obama is a collectivist. Despite the usual window-dressing
and euphemisms which conceal the true nature of what he advocates,
he is, in every way, an advocate for the idea that every individual-
- -and all wealth--is the property of the collective, as represented
by "government." In other words, he believes in communism.

So should everyone vote for John McCain? No. Mr. McCain is also a
collectivist. In fact, with very rare exceptions, ALL Democrat and
Republican politicians are collectivists, as they have been for
many decades, even back when they were feigning concern about the
"spread of communism." So why did I focus on Obama? Because, unlike
Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama seems to have a lot of enthusiastic support
from well-meaning, albeit misguided, Americans. As with Bill
Clinton, Mr. Obama makes the advocacy of widespread government
violence, theft and oppression sound both noble and useful. It is
not.

So if all of the above was not intended to make you vote for
someone--and it certainly was not--then what is being suggested?
Intellectual honesty. First, I want people to understand what the
self-proclaimed "leaders" are actually proposing, because it is not
"hope," or "change," or "progress," or any of the other vague, feel-
good rhetoric being fed to the general public. It is what EVERY
government "leader" always proposes: more power for the state, less
freedom for the people. They pretend to have the purest motives for
it, but the means to their goals will ALWAYS be less freedom for
you, and more power for them.

After people realize that, next I want them to be honest about
their OWN beliefs and agenda. If, for example, you support any of
the collectivist redistribution plans and programs pitched by both
major parties, then I simply ask that you drop the charade, set
aside the euphemisms and obfuscations, and do it openly and
honestly. If you believe that there is someone somewhere whose
supposed "need" entitles him to what my time and effort have
produced, with or without my consent, then pick up a gun, come to
my house, and take it from me yourself. Don't hide such destructive
evil behind elections, legislation, and political rhetoric. Do it
openly and honestly, or don't do it at all. If you give your vote
to ANY collectivist, you are just as guilty of robbing me, and
robbing a couple hundred million other people, as if you had done
it yourself. But in addition to being a thief, you'd also be a
fraud and a coward, because you lie (maybe even to yourself) about
what it is you advocate, and don't have the spine to go do it
yourself.

If you think I'm being too harsh, too bad. I spent a year as a
political prisoner for resisting the collectivism that ALL
Democrats and Republicans advocate. If you voted for Clinton or
Bush, YOU helped put me there, whether you intended to or not, by
giving your endorsement to the forced redistribution agenda of both
major parties. (Never mind that I didn't even break the law to get
put there.)

On the other hand, of all the people you will hear from this
election season, I am one of a very, very few--possibly the ONLY
one--who does NOT advocate that YOU be robbed to pay for what I
want. Ever. Even if I think it's good for you, even if I think
someone needs it, I will let YOU decide what is done with that
which belongs to YOU. I will not take it by force, nor will I
advocate that anyone else do so either, openly or under the guise
of "taxation." No Democrat or Republican can honestly say that.
Though they bicker about how to hand out the stolen loot, they ALL
agree that they have the right to take your money and spend it how
THEY want it spent. While there are lots of good ideas and noble
causes that I can think of, I'm not going to advocate that you be
forced to pay for any of them. I hope you will return the favor,
and be at least that charitable, but 99.9% of you won't.

And if the collectivist electorate of this country is offended when
they hear that, too bad. I'll stop saying words they don't like
when they stop advocating oppression and robbery.

Larken Rose
http://www.larkenrose.com