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Note: Much of this column is taken from the video and column “If I wanted America to fail” by Ryan Houck, executive director of FreeMarketAmerica.org, a project of Americans for Limited Government. His work was inspired by Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil” published in 1964 and 1996.

Socrates (470-399 B.C.) – a renowned Greek philosopher from Athens who taught Plato, and Plato taught Aristotle and Aristotle taught Alexander the Great. Socrates used a method of teaching by asking leading questions. The Greeks called this form dialectic – starting from a thesis or question, then discussing ideas and moving back and forth between points of view to determine how well ideas stand up to critical review with the ultimate principle of the Socratic dialectic being Veritas – Truth.

Characters:

Socrates

Various Agencies (EPA, DOE, HHS, IRS, FDA, etc.)

George Washington

Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Alinsky

Mr. Union

Socialist Democrat Party

Establishment Republican Party

Socrates: We are gathered here today at this Symposium to discuss various tactics and strategies radicals have used to denigrate, deconstruct and destroy America – the greatest nation in the history of the world. In a previous Symposium, “The damnation of ideas,” we discussed the differences between ideas that uplift society and those that damn society in the context of 10 infamous writers and their most controversial books, and discussed whether these books have either elevated society to ascend the steps of Parnassus or condemned society into the pit of Tartarus.

Today we will examine the people and radical governmental agencies that come from those infamous ideas that collectively have caused the damnation of modern society. How would you achieve this goal, if you wanted America to fail?

Dr. EPA: If I wanted America to fail; to follow, not lead; to suffer, not prosper; to despair, not dream – I’d start with energy. My dictatorial agency was birthed in 1970 at the dawning of America’s self-imposed energy crisis by progressive Republican President Richard M. Nixon.

I’d cut off America’s supply of cheap, abundant energy. Of course, I couldn’t take it by force. So, I’d make Americans feel guilty for using the energy that heats their homes, fuels their cars, runs their businesses and powers their economy. I’d make cheap energy expensive so that expensive energy would seem cheap. I would empower unelected bureaucrats to all-but-outlaw America’s most abundant sources of energy. And after banning its use in America, I’d make it illegal for American companies to ship it overseas.

Dr. NEA: Although my fascist organization was birthed in 1978 concomitant with the creation of President Jimmy Carter’s Department of Education, my real birth occurred over 150 years ago in 1857 by a small but zealous group of radical atheists, humanists, Marxist and progressives dedicated to forever separating education from morality, truth and the canon.

If I wanted America to fail, I’d use our schools to teach one generation of Americans that our factories and our cars will cause a new ice age, and I’d muster a straight face so I could teach the next generation that they’re causing global warming.

And when it’s cold out, I’d call it climate change instead. I’d imply that America’s cities and factories could run on wind power and wishes. I’d teach children how to ignore the hypocrisy of condemning logging, mining and farming – while having roofs over their heads, heat in their homes and food on their tables. I would never teach children that the free market is the only force in human history to uplift the poor, establish the middle class and create lasting prosperity. Instead, I’d demonize prosperity itself, so that they will not miss what they will never have.

Drs. IRS, FDA, FCC, DOI, HHS: If I wanted America to fail, I would create countless new regulations and seldom cancel old ones. They would be so complicated that only bureaucrats, lawyers and lobbyists could understand them. That way small businesses with big ideas wouldn’t stand a chance – and I would never have to worry about another Thomas Edison, Henry Ford or Steve Jobs.

I would ridicule as “Flat Earthers” those who urge us to lower energy costs by increasing supply. And when the evangelists of common sense try to remind people about the law of supply and demand, I’d enlist a sympathetic media to drown them out.

Socrates: This governmental tyranny reminds me of the Farewell Address of 1796 where one of your forgotten great presidents gave this wise warning to the nation:

George Washington: “It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free Country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective Constitutional spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the Powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of the love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this proposition.”

Dr. DOE: Despite all the cautions of the founders, this consolidation is precisely what has happened, and not even in elected hands. It is now quite common, embodied especially in the form of administrative agencies, particularly those of the federal government, like the IRS, the FCC, the FDA, OSHA, the USDA, the EEOC, the EPA, the FTC and countless others.

Drs. EPA, OSHA, USDA, HUD, DOI: If I wanted America to fail, I would empower unaccountable bureaucracies seated in a distant capital to bully Americans out of their dreams and their property rights. I’d send federal agents to raid guitar factories for using the wrong kind of wood; I’d force homeowners to tear down the homes they built on their own land.

I’d make it almost impossible for farmers to farm, miners to mine, loggers to log and builders to build. And because I don’t believe in free markets, I’d invent false ones. I’d devise fictitious products – like carbon credits – and trade them in imaginary markets. I’d convince people that this would create jobs and be good for the economy.

Marx/Lenin/Hitler/Alinsky: If I wanted America to fail, for every concern, I’d invent a crisis; and for every crisis, I’d invent the cause. Like shutting down entire industries and killing tens of thousands of jobs in the name of saving spotted owls. When everyone learned the stunning irony that the owls were victims of their larger cousins – and not people – it would already be decades too late.

Mr. Union: If I wanted America to fail, I’d make it easier to stop commerce than start it, easier to kill jobs than create them, more fashionable to resent success than to seek it. When industries seek to create jobs, I’d file lawsuits to stop them. And then I’d make taxpayers pay for my lawyers.

Socialist Democrat Party: If I wanted America to fail, I would transform the environmental agenda from a document of conservation to an economic suicide pact. I would concede entire industries to our economic rivals by imposing regulations that cost trillions. I would celebrate those who preach environmental austerity in public while indulging a lavish lifestyle in private. I’d convince Americans that Europe has it right, and America has it wrong.

Establishment Republican Party: If I wanted America to fail, I would promote every policy offered by the Democratic Socialist Party … just not as much. I would prey on the goodness and decency of ordinary Americans. I would only need to convince them that all of this is for the greater good.

Socrates: Just as Galileo freed science from the superstition and parochialism of the Catholic Church, just as Beethoven freed classical music from the palaces of petit princes, just as America’s constitutional framers freed the Rule of Law from the capricious slave chains of the king to the liberty of the Constitution, so I, Socrates, freed philosophy from the educated classes and delivered it directly to the people. Cicero said of me, “Socrates was the first to call philosophy down from the skies, and establish her in towns, and introduce her into people’s homes, and force her in investigate ordinary life, ethics, good and evil.”

You may like America, but I loved Athens and never left her except to fight for her – yet all of Greece would inevitably fall to the Romans at the Battle of Corinth in 146 B.C. Why? Because another generation would arise who were not shaped by the democratic ideals of Greece and its zeal to be the most powerful and forward-looking city-state until 1776 when America proclaimed her independence from England.

Like ancient Greece, America stands at the abyss.

If I wanted America to fail, I suppose I wouldn’t change a thing.

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