Okay, okay, okay. I specifically requested and got Senator DeMint’s Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America’s Slide Into Socialism from the library (like a socialist – real Americans buy books, not this ‘sharing’ nonsense!). I’ll read the book and recap, just like I promised. Now, time to get some water in my The West Wing travel mug like a good little liberal, and some Warheads and Atomic Fireballs for nourishment, and my Joker bookmark, because it’s cute and I need a bookmark. Oh, and some music. Abbey Road, Carmina Burana, and the soundtrack to Blade Runner. You know, stuff you can dance to.
Right, I’m all settled in. Time to read. This is going to be fun! (Fun like waterboarding…no, bad Alex, be positive!)
Wait…why is there the Declaration of Independence on the first page of proper content? Was Nicolas Cage invited?
Okay, it’s a useful reference material. Thank you, Sen. DeMint, for providing this useful document of American history. What’s that? Conservative commentators such as Newt Gingrich are calling Saving Freedom “a new Declaration of Independence”? Well, I certainly hope you’re modest enough to keep from implying yourself that this is a new Dec of Ind, because that’s just insufferable. Or secessionist nonsense. Either way. Thank you for the Dec of Ind!
Part I: The Rise and Fall of Freedom in America. Oh, look! There’s an epigraph! I love epigraphs. What’s this one say?
If…My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14
…oh it’s from the Bible. And with some lovely implications, too. If we all turn to God, America will be freed from teh evil sociobamaism. Wait, what?
No, Alex! Don’t read into it! Just read it! Oh! Another epigraph. And the introduction!
Introduction: Freedom and Socialism: The Gingerbread Man and the Fox
…wait, what? Ok. I’ll bite. So he copies down the entire fable of the Gingerbread Man. And he’s getting to the point…now.
There may be no better metaphor for America than the Gingerbread Man. When we came outof the oven in 1776, we were hot.
Okay, if we’re counting it from 1776 and not the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Or the ratification of the Constitution – you know, that document you bang on about so much – in 1788. Unless you thought the Articles of Confederation did a bang-up job running the country? (Bad Alex! Just quote the book for the nice people!)
We sent the British packing, formed a constitutional republic, and were soon off and running. America was fast and confident. Soon, no other country could even come close to the speed and strength of our military, our economy, or our culture.
Yes, our military (which splintered and fought in an internecine war), our economy (built on the backs of slaves) or our culture (the uniquely American melting pot. Wait, don’t we hate immigrants?).
Like the Gingerbread Man, Americans valued their freedom above all else. No nation in history had ever made freedom work so well.
Yes. Just not for black people. Or women.
We truly became “The Shining City upon a Hill” that attracted admiration and immigrants from every country in the world. But in 1929 America “came to a wide, deep, and swift-flowing river with no bridge to cross.” That river was the Great Depression. That’s when the federal government became the “fox”.
Yeah. Screw the New Deal! It only helped…our…economy…get back on its…oh. You might want to rethink that.
As Americans lost confidence in our free-enterprise economic system and our ability to cross this wide river on our own, the federal government came to our rescue. At first the expanding federal role seemed harmless enough, and the people were safely positioned far away from the fox’s mouth. But as America endured one politically manufactured “crisis” after another, the fox has invited us to move ever closer to his mouth.
Huh, Cuban Missile “Crisis” indeed. World War III just heartbeats away? A hoax, good sir, a hoax perpetuated upon us by the government to keep us dependent! (In what universe does that make sense?)
Today Americans, along with all our hopes and dreams, are perched on the tip of the fox’s nose. We are in the middle of what seems like a deep river, and we’re not sure we can swim. Now is the time for Americans to decide, once again, to fight for freedom.
Gingerbread Army, hoooooo!
Just so you know, I will not copy down everything from the book. That’s pirating. Just the parts that make me go, “Wait, what?”. Like this part. He’s laying out his points, okay, we can’t have it both ways, we can’t over-regulate our businesses and still expect to be competitive in a global economy, etc. I disagree. And then we get to the part where I look critically at the book and say, “Stop taking the mickey!” (emphasis original)
We have been told we can ban religion, prayer, and faith from schools, businesses, and public places and continue to be a strong and moral nation. We have been told we can educate our children in secular government schools and still have responsible, moral citizens. We have been told we can subsidize unwed births and teach “safe sex” to teenagers and still maintain strong families and a commitment to the institution of marriage. We have been told what cannot possibly be!
…what. As a happy agnostic bastard child, I can show you that you are incorrect, sir. Most of my friends who went to Catholic school and are homeschooled for religious reasons are not the “responsible, moral citizens” you assert they would be if they got out of the “secular government schools”. They’re worse than a lot of the kids from the “secular government schools”. Repression. Why do you hate Engel v. Vitale so?
And who is to blame? The fox says the culprit is freedom.
I just think that’s so melodramatic it’s funny. Carry on.
Greedy private doctors who refuse to treat seniors for the pittance paid by Medicare are the reason we need a national government-run, health care system.
Um, no. Greedy insurance companies. And it’s not just for the seniors. Good try though.
Wait, for serious, Andrew Bacevich comparing the “eternally optimistic American voter” to someone undergoing spousal abuse?! That would make me laugh if it wasn’t so sad. And wrong.
Americans will fight for their freedom, but we need leaders who will show the way. We need a clear vision and a pathway out of our dependency. We need to understand how to translate our values and principles into policies that will reduce the government stranglehold on our beliefs, our economy, and our lives. We must believe freedom will work for everyone. And we need to know the true enemy of freedom: socialism.
Socialism and freedom are not mutually exclusive concepts. And this big bad bogeyman “American socialism” you keep banging on about is a joke. What you call socialism is called center-right policies everywhere bleeding else. Yes. Our “socialist” President is a middle-of-the-road capitalist with social liberal tendencies. Every other industrialized nation has some sort of nationalized health care system.
The sad thing is, DeMint’s rhetoric – hauntingly similar to “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” – is easy to absorb and parrot, and escalate. Socialism is the enemy of freedom. Destroy all socialists and their leader Maobama. Bomb socialist nations. It’s a bit of a slippery slope, I admit, but really. I’ve seen this before on that boiling pot known as the intertubes.
New game! Every time DeMint says something to the effect of “socialism is the enemy of freedom”, take a drink.
Oop – religion fight! He brought up the “secular-progressive” socialist movement as wanting “freedom from religion”, and the good guys as “traditional, hardworking, God-fearing, freedom-loving Americans”. Why do we always have to fear God? Can’t we just have a beer with Him?
We must translate these values into the principles and policies that reflect our love of freedom. Then we will have the confidence to defend freedom against the “intellectual” liberal gibberish pervading politics, academics, and the media.
wat. Why is intellectual in quotes? Do we not like dem inta-lek-shuals? And now he is failing at Churchill.
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. –Winston Churchill
DeMint puts it in to mean CAPITALISM IS GOOD!!!! and I’m reading it as, “Socialism shares blessings and miseries equally – when you are in a bad way you don’t have to go it alone; in a capitalist system, you are on your own.” But what do I know? I’m an “intellectual” who’s going to a LIBERAL (obv. evil) arts college to be a professional socialist.
It is actually quite amazing that there is any debate in America on the value of freedom versus socialism. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a definitive rejection of the principles of a socialized economy and culture. China and India were backwards economies until capitalism began to raise the standard of living of their citizens.
One: Soviet Union collapse does not work that way. There were many factors, and reducing it to COMMUNISM BAD CAPITALISM GOOD is grossly oversimplifying the situation. Two: Been to Mumbai recently? Six drinks, by the way.
To keep the book a reasonable length, I summarize and oversimplify many complex historical accounts and issues. The stories that begin each chapter are my attempts to simplify complex concepts so folks like me can understand them.
Ah. There you go. Well played, sir, well played – reducing complex concepts to COMMUNISM BAD CAPITALISM GOOD was your plan all along!
Wait. Did you just…okay, good attempt to bring yourself down-to-earth with us humble AmURican folks, but you also just implied that you don’t understand the complex concepts at a high enough level to know what the hell you’re even talking about.
I finish my analysis of the introduction (God, only the introduction, this was eleven pages long, I cannot keep doing it this way, this isn’t Mystery Alex Theater) with this quote.
21Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. –Mark 10:21-25 (KJV)
Jesus was a socialist. Game. Set. Match.
Next time: Alex tackles chapter one! With less wordiness.