Her father stuck his tongue out at her and aggressively allowed her big sister every advantage. He even threatened to strike her with his cane. He once forced her to display her “first bra” at the dinner table. And what was her major complaint about him at the end?
He wanted her to become a bank teller!
There’s nothing at all wrong with being a bank teller, but when you’re in the upper-middle-class and you treat a child to a first-class college education, that’s not exactly the kind of career advice she wants to hear. (She became a TV star in three major American markets!)
Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with working fewer hours, taking home less pay and spending more time with your family or learning French or writing poems or how to play the clarinet. The Obama administration has recommended precisely that “pathway” for Americans. Some of my best friends speak French, have babies crawling all over them and even wrote a poem or two. And some of the men we admired most in the army were those who could easily have become officers but preferred to stop at the top enlisted rank and improve themselves with the extra time and lesser responsibility afforded by that alternative.
But there’s something inordinately unsettling about the “Capital of Capitalism,” the “Mecca of Let’s-Make-It-Big,” the world-venerated “birthplace of the American Dream” urging a “pull-back” from all of the above in favor of the less-stressful life and, quite bluntly, the less-successful life. We all know the virtues and trade-offs of measuring success in terms other than money and power. Why, though, does our government want to make sure we hear and heed the hint?
Many Americans consider Huey “Kingfish” Long, one-time governor of Louisiana as the closest America’s ever had to a dictator. The Kingfish once said, “If fascism ever comes to America, you can be sure they’ll call it ‘Democracy’!” Keep going, Huey. If communism ever comes to America, its supporters will rave about money not being everything and rhapsodize “a happier life made possible by minimizing the importance of the almighty dollar.” Many of you will sneer at this next accusation, but fewer than would have last year and more than will next year. How would you characterize this administration’s “reminder” that the Good Life might well be waiting for you disguised as a cut in pay and fewer hours on the job? I call it nothing less than a bald pitch for the Marxist mentality, aka communism!
Lawyers, lecturers and others know the value of “talking points,” sometimes slyly placed on filing cards where the speaker can steal a glance at them. How’s this for a talking point? “There has never been a successful collectivist economy.” Why does everybody contort to avoid the word “communist”? Let’s do that sentence over. There has never been a successful communist economy. And “never” is a convincingly long time. Sounds good down at the union hall, where the preferred word is “progressive.” Looks good on paper, too, but it doesn’t work. Communism is a consumer fraud, the biggest and most dangerous in history. Dangerous? Yes! To preserve all that “People-Power” (once the people realize what’s been put over on them!) requires armed might.
There were three spots on the planet that gave Communist rulers gas pains during the Cold War. One was East Germany, right alongside West Germany. The contrast between the impoverishment and enslavement of the Communist East versus the prosperity and freedom of the West was a perpetual humiliation and argument-loser for Moscow from 1945 until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.
Another was British-ruled Hong Kong, nestled into the very gut-work of Chinese Communism. Again, the contrasting standards of living and personal freedom was a demoralizing ditto for the rulers in Beijing.
Then there was the Soviet Union contrasted with neighboring Finland. Both Finland and Soviet Russia achieved nationhood simultaneously right after the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918. The USSR had hundreds of millions of people on territory the size of the moon. Finland, quite a bit smaller than California, was home to only three-and-a-half million. Finland lost a devastating war to the USSR and was forced to pay $350 million dollars in reparations to Russia. Despite that breathtaking imbalance, when Finland hosted the Summer Olympics in 1952 all those debts were paid and the Finnish standard of living was comparable to that of Norway and Sweden, while the USSR looked like and lived like a grim loser.
The U.S. Army once had a TV commercial that urged American youth to “Be All You Can Be” by joining the Army. Isn’t that the preferred message here?
Mitt Romney is the best candidate of all, except when he’s running for something. He says a Democratic friend told him his friends dreamed of that less-work-less-income life. Mitt flashed back that electric smile and replied, “My friends dream of a full-time job and a hefty income.”
Take a page from our old friends, the Russians. Regardless of the facts of the matter or the merits of the case, they called him “Peter the Great.”
Did you hear that? “Peter the Great.”
Not just “Peter the Pretty Good“!
Media wishing to interview Barry Farber, please contact me[email protected].