My in-laws were small business owners/operators in the first republic of Czechoslovakia. Having to sacrifice much for long years before the business established its roots, they enjoyed their life nevertheless and raised a great family. Living in a small town they became well respected founders of social and sports activities in their tight-knit community. After the coup d’état in 1948 Communists confiscated (nationalized) their business. For those hapless liberals - this means they forcibly stole everything they could. On top of this, they made an artificially high assessment of the business value and levied a heavy tax on the poor family just made “homeless” by this great larceny. This was their way to show displeasure with the imperialist capitalistic pigs. They were declared the ‘Enemies of the State’. Both had to take manual jobs, since the communist government targeted them, and pay the “millionaires tax” from their meager income for the next 15 years. People that were the hope and future of the newly established Republic of 1918 (affectionately called The Yankees of Europe) became the wretched enemies of the state for the communist regime of 1948. However, they never became beggars and never depended on the state to deliver them to the Promised Land. My father-in-law was a devoted admirer of Ralph Waldo Emerson and probably read all of his works even when it was censored by the regime. I can remember him saying: “even the richest capitalist have only one stomach and can eat so many steaks at the time. The rest of his riches works for the society creating jobs and wealth.”…so simple and so accurate an explanation. One would think that even the most ideological leftists should understand this.
Fast forward to 2013. The place is United States of America (The Yankees) and the script written long time ago is again copied and applied to real life. This time, it is a “real smart intelligentsia” and “experts” who never built a business or any meaningful enterprise who are controlling the levers of power. They know how the people should behave and what must they do to satisfy the State controlling the means for their lives to be happy. The latest example of the Affordable Healthcare Act or Obamacare law illustrates this with vivid colors. All the debauchery of Obamacare that reasonable people warned about is quickly becoming reality. Millions of individual insurance policies were abruptly canceled without immediate hope of appropriate replacement and the cost of maintaining medical insurance under the new law is becoming prohibitively expensive and limited. Relationship between doctors, patients and their elected insurance coverage is scrambled. The Government is extorting taxpayers and intimidating opponents of this unprecedented attack on American Liberty. The goal is obvious and the means are for democracy unorthodox, however, all too painfully known to the students of history.
This is a fundamental change of American society as Obama promised during his campaigns. As copying is considered the sincerest form of flattery, one must assume that current regime is based on those “principles” that destroyed millions of lives on this Earth. The sad lessons long forgotten by the new generation, Marxism-Leninism and its principles are alive and well. The sound of freebie sirens is loud and clear to too many people. The doers and makers are being vilified and punished. Taxes are going up, spending is going up, indebtedness is going up, becoming unsustainable and the crony capitalism is flourishing. As the subsidies of various entities increase, the market distortions are becoming ever so pronounced. It may indeed take a great jolt of markets to re-balance the economy, which maybe very painful for most people but is necessary. This sordid reality is very frustrating (but not surprising) for those of us who saw this movie before…and recall that it does not end well. There is hope, however. Nature will always find ways and regeneration will continue as long as humanly possible. There are means and policies available to prevent this great tragedy and it will take the will of WeThe People to elect appropriate representatives to implement them.
“Quod aetas uitium posuit, betas afferent.” It’s a bit difficult to translate into an English phrase as elegant as the Latin is, because betas here has two slightly different meanings. The first one means “the age” or “the times,” while the second one means “time”; so I can only translate it rather baldly as “The vice which the times have produced, time will remove”—or, in other words, nothing lasts forever.
With Libertarian “Free Minds and Free Markets” I wish everyone all the best in the New Year 2014.
From our Washington correspondent