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First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.

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There are 814 News Items in 814 pages and you are on page number 284

 

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Do We Want a Ruling Class? - Thursday, February 05, 2009

 

Imitate Europe? Why?

Do We Want a “Ruling Class”?

David C. Stolinsky, MD
Feb. 5, 2009

My forebears came to America not only to live in America but also to get away from Europe. The same was true for millions of other families. Who decides to leave the homeland of his ancestors, probably never to return? Someone who is rich and successful? Someone who owns property? Someone who is satisfied with the way things are?

No, one who decides to uproot himself and his family must overcome the fear of traveling to a distant land, where he will have to learn a new language and new customs. He must leave familiar surroundings and people, and hope to make new friends and adapt to new surroundings.

He must discard the past and trust in the future. Why would someone do that?

Some immigrants wanted to get away from crushing debts. More often, they wanted to escape persecution for having the “wrong” religion, or being from the “wrong” ethnic or social group. They did not “fit in.”

Men did not want to be forced to follow their fathers’ trades. They did not “get along” in the class system. They did not “take orders well.” Women did not “keep in their places.” Immigrants wanted to go to a country where, in Lincoln’s words, people were less interested in who their grandfathers were than in who they were.

They wanted the freedom to practice their religion, or not practice it − and so long as they were good neighbors and hard workers, no one would persecute them.

A nation peopled with such self-selected individuals would value individualism highly. This has drawbacks. Loss of the neighborhood and breakup of the extended family may be the prices we pay for individualism.

But a nation of individualists doesn’t stratify itself into rigid social or educational classes from which it is difficult to escape. It tends to see people as individuals, not merely as representatives of their social class or ethnic group.

A nation of individualists uses accents to tell from which part of the country one comes, not whether one is a member of the “in” group. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush needed no speech coaches to rid them of their accents in order to become President. In contrast, Margaret Thatcher had to hire a speech coach to rid her of her “working-class accent” before she could be taken seriously − and become Prime Minister of Great Britain.

What we consider irrelevant is believed by Europeans to be important − accent, religion or lack of it, social “class” and ethnic background. We do not dwell on history, even our own. To paraphrase Lincoln, we are less interested in where we have been than in where we are going.

Europeans spend much of their time looking backward. Perhaps that is why they so often fall into holes. In the past century they fell into some really deep ones − fascism, Nazism and communism. They hurt themselves and the whole world.

How many tens of millions were slaughtered by these “isms”? How much misery have they produced − and still produce? How many future despots studied in Europe, or got their ideas from there? Recall Ayatollah Khomeini, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot and Mao.

The destructive influence of Europe continues to this day. Jew haters in the Middle East circulate Arabic translations of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” an anti-Semitic forgery by the Russian czar’s secret police.

Even the “religious” fanatic Bin Laden may be an example. True, he exhorts his followers to mass murder and suicide bombing with the resultant 72 virgins. But if you get past that, you find a hatred of capitalism that would make a communist or an anti-world trade activist proud.

I studied European history, even if it is filled with ethnic and religious strife. I appreciate beautiful cathedrals, even if they have few worshipers. I enjoy great art and music, even if most of it was created centuries ago. I love European history, because that’s where Europe’s greatness lies.

But the glory has departed. What remains is a hotbed of “isms” that vie with one another to be the most destructive. What remains is a place almost devoid of religion but still filled with bigotry. What remains is an area almost empty of Jews but still filled with anti-Semitism.

What remains is people who, unlike those who left for the New World, dwell in the past and are fainthearted about the future. Much of Europe is committing demographic suicide with its low birth rate. This is the strongest evidence of lack of faith in the future.

What remains is moral relativism, cowardice and indifference − cloaked in the mantle of nonviolence and objectivity.

What remains is people who are proud of their history, but who ignore the ugly parts of it. (“Centuries of anti-Semitism? Pogroms? The Holocaust? No problem. The Israelis’ response to rockets launched from Gaza was ‘disproportionate.’ Let’s go burn a synagogue!”)

What remains is history books filled with stories of brave soldiers who defeated powerful tyrants, but cities filled with living cowards who dare not confront two-bit dictators today.  (“What, our oil may be cut off? Quick! Kiss the Arabs’ behinds, and if necessary their camels’ behinds.”)

What remains is people who talk endlessly of their “pride” and “honor,” but who think only of their profit. (“Iran is building nuclear weapons? Nonsense! We do business there.”)

What remains is cemeteries filled with American troops who died to rescue Europe twice, but people who condemn America for being too “militaristic.” (“Gratitude? We don’t need no stinkin’ gratitude!”)

When “intellectuals” moan that we are going against what Europeans consider wise, we should be reassured that we are doing the right thing.

When foreign-policy “experts” warn that we may have to go it alone, we should be grateful that we are not following in the footsteps of those who started two world wars with their folly.

When universities are filled with people who condemn America, we should be proud that those who most resemble Europeans are against us. That is a good sign we are heading in the right direction.

But now politicians tell us that we should emulate Europe’s socialist economies and nationalized health-care systems. Why? Do we want to be ruled by the “elite”?

·         Timothy Geithner is confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury, despite not paying years of self-employment taxes, and despite the fact that “he doesn’t like math.” How’s that for fiscal responsibility?

·         Eric Holder is confirmed as Attorney General, despite his involvement in the Marc Rich pardon, the Elian Gonzalez abduction at gunpoint, and the Waco massacre. How’s that for upholding the law?

·         Bill Richardson withdraws as nominee for Secretary of Commerce, because of an investigation into his awarding transportation contracts to political donors. How’s that for fair regulation of commerce?

·         Tom Daschle withdraws as nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, because of failure to pay years of Social Security and Medicare taxes. How’s that for health and human services?

·         Nancy Killefer withdraws as nominee for Chief Performance Officer, because of failure to pay unemployment-compensation taxes for employees. How’s that for performance?

Who will the “car czar” be − someone who had his license revoked for drunk driving?

These people act as though they belonged to the “aristocracy” and were exempt from the obligations of citizenship that we common people must fulfill. They act like the European “ruling class.” We don’t need them. We don’t want them. We shouldn’t tolerate them.

The whole idea of centralized control is self-contradictory. If individuals are incapable of managing their own affairs, how could they possibly have the knowledge and skill to manage an entire nation? Some people believe they are the “elite.” But we don’t have an “elite” here. At least not yet.

Imitate Europe? We did. But we took the best and discarded the rest. In religion, we took the faith but discarded the bigotry. In personal life, we took the individualism that turned a wilderness into a great nation, but discarded the collectivism that is turning great nations into a wilderness. In politics, we took the human rights of Magna Carta and Locke, but discarded the state control of Louis XIV, Marx and Lenin.

America is the un-Europe. Our founders planned it that way, two centuries of immigrants kept it that way, and so should we.

Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. He can be contacted at dstol@prodigy.net.

www.stolinsky.com


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