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Big Government and Demagoguery:
Are We on the Path to Tyranny?
Michael E. Newton

“The American People will take Socialism, but
they won’t take the label… Running on the
Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running
on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I
got 879,000… There is no use attacking it by a
front attack, it is much better to out-flank
them.” ~ Upton Sinclair
End Poverty vs. Socialism

Promise free gifts to the voters
Class warfare
Government control of the economy (socialism,
fascism, totalitarianism).
 “Fascism and Communism are merely variants of the
same totalitarianism which central control of
economic activity tends to produce.” ~ Friedrich
Hayek
Demagogues generally promise bigger, not
smaller government.
How Demagogues Gain Power
Warning Against Tyranny

Lead them in battle against Philistines.
Unite the tribes.
“To judge us, like all the nations.”
Desiring a King

 “He will take away your sons and place them in his
chariots and cavalry, and they will run before his
chariot.”
 Military draft
 “He will appoint for himself captains of hundreds and
captains of fifty, to plow his furrow and to reap his
harvest, and to produce his implements of battle and the
furnishings of his chariot. He will take your daughters to
be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.”
 Servitude
Samuel’s Warning

 “He will take a tenth of your grain and vines,” “will take
a tenth of your sheep,” “will confiscate your best fields,
vineyards, and olive trees,” and “will take your servants
and maidservants and your best young men and your
donkeys and press them into his service.”
 Taxes, confiscation of property, increased servitude
 “You will be his slave. On that day you will cry out
because of your king whom you have chosen for
yourselves – but God will not answer you on that day.”
 Tyranny!
Samuel’s Warning

 “No! There shall be a king over us, and we will be like
all other nations; our king will judge us, and go forth
before us, and fight our wars!”
 Why want a king after Samuel’s warning?
 No experience with tyrants.
 Focused on short-term benefit (win wars, unity); ignored
long-term cost (military draft, taxes, confiscation,
servitude, tyranny).
People’s Reaction
Demagogues Bearing Free Gifts

In Athens in 461 BC, Pericles promised wealth
redistribution with “allotments of public lands,
festival-grants, and distributions of fees for public
services.” He was a tyrant who failed to deliver.
In the 360s BC at Sicyon, Euphron attacked the rich
and argued that his “government was to be on terms
of full equality.” Euphron killed or exiled his enemies,
took their property, acted generously to his
mercenaries, and bribed his allies.
Greek History: Examples

 “Almost all tyrants have been demagogues who gained the
favor of the people by their accusation of the notables.” ~
Aristotle
 “A leader of the people” gains power with “unjust
accusations…assassinates him…and hints at the abolition of
debts and the partition of lands.” ~ Plato
 After the people become “accustomed to feed at the expense
of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of
others,” a “leader who is enterprising…institute[s] the rule of
violence” and “democracy…is abolished and changes into a
rule of force and violence.” ~ Polybius
Greek Philosophers
Overthrowing a Republic

Julius Caesar “proposed laws which were
becoming, not for a consul, but for a most radical
tribune of the people; for to gratify the multitude he
introduced sundry allotments and distributions of
land.” ~ Plutarch
Julius Caesar “courted the people with banquets
and distributions of grain… In all he implanted
hopes, since he ardently desired to rule over willing
subjects.” ~ Plutarch
Julius Caesar:
From Republic to Empire
Long Live the Revolution:
But Not the People

 Overthrew government.
 Held one election.
 Lost 41% to 24% to Socialist Revolutionaries .
 These two socialist parties won 65% of vote.
 Allowed Assembly to meet for one day before shutting it
down.
 Expelled Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries from
government.
 Created single party dictatorship.
Bolshevik Revolution

 “To us, everything is permitted, for we are the first to
raise the sword not to oppress races and reduce them to
slavery, but to liberate humanity.” ~ The Red Sword, a
Kiev newspaper
 “We are bound by no laws. There are no fortresses
which Bolsheviks cannot storm.” ~ Stalin
 “Everything” included slave labor (gulags), mass
starvation, mass murder, and terrorizing the people
supposedly being served.
Bolshevik Mottos
Third Way Totalitarianism

 “Third Way”
 Capitalism benefits rich
 Socialism benefits poor
 Fascism benefits everyone!
 Political freedom; increased government control of the
economy.
 Heavily regulate big business; leave small businesses
and individuals alone.
Fascist Promises

 Labor rights
 Limit working hours
 Minimum wage
 Regulation of corporations
 Confiscation of war profits, unproductive capital, and
church property
 Employee management of industry
 Creation of collectivized farms for the peasants
Fascism sounds great!
Fascist Proposals
Socialist Economics, Authoritarian Politics
 National Socialist German Workers Party.
 “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic
economic system for the exploitation of the economically
weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly
evaluation of a human being according to wealth and
property instead of responsibility and performance, and
we are determined to destroy this system under all
conditions.” ~ Adolf Hitler, 1927
 “Basically National Socialism and Marxism are the
same.” ~ Adolf Hitler, 1941
Nazi=National Socialism
 “Every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and
earning a livelihood.” (minimum wage, welfare)
 “All unearned income, and all income that does not arise
from work, be abolished.” (interest, dividends, capital gains,
rent)
 “Total confiscation of all war profits.”
 “Nationalization of all trusts.”
 “Profit-sharing in large industries.”
 “Increase in old-age pensions.”
 “Communalization of large stores which will be rented
cheaply to small tradespeople.”
Nazi Economic Promises
Nazis won three elections in a row:
July 1932: 37% (+16%)
November 1932: 33% (+13%)
March 1933: 44% (+26%)
Hitler was then declared dictator.
Nazi Victory
Popular Para-Fascism
“Mussolini was the greatest man of our century,
but he committed certain disastrous errors. I,
who have the advantage of his precedent before
me, shall follow in his footsteps but also avoid
his errors.” ~ Juan Peron
“Third Way” economics
 Subsidized industry to appease the right
 Income redistribution to appease the left
 Nationalized foreign-owned companies
Peron’s Para-Fascism
Peron elected in 1946 with 53.6% of vote
Economy deteriorated
Promised further redistribution of wealth
Had political opponents fired from their jobs,
imprisoned, and tortured
Took control of the media
Won reelection in 1951 with 63.5% of vote
Overthrown in 1955 due to weak economy
Results of Peron’s Para-Fascism
Reinventing Socialism?

 “We have to re-invent socialism. It can’t be the
kind of socialism that we saw in the Soviet
Union… We must reclaim socialism as a thesis, a
project and a path, but a new type of socialism, a
humanist one, which puts humans and not
machines or the state ahead of everything.” ~
Hugo Chavez (2005)
Chavez’s Reinvented Socialism
 “The land is not private, it’s social property. If you put
up a fence, or farm it, or have some barns, well these
things are private, but the land belongs to nobody in
particular, it’s everybody’s.” ~ Hugo Chavez (2009)
 Land confiscation--over six million acres of private
farmland.
 Nationalized large portions of the economy, including
the oil, power, telecommunications, steel, and cement
industries.
 Profit windfall taxes.
 Price controls.
Same Old Socialist Agenda

Declining oil production
Food shortages
Water shortages
Blackouts
Hyper-inflation
Venezuela is currently in collapse.
Same Old Socialist Results

Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and
“reinvented” versions of them always fail!
 Soviet Union
 Fascist Italy
 Nazi Germany
 Peron’s Argentina
 Chavez’s Venezuela
 Maoist China, Cuba, North Korea, etc.
 Modern Europe? Scandinavian Countries?
Totalitarianism

 US has most or second most progressive tax system.
 Economic Freedom Index:
 Switzerland 81.0 Sweden 72.0
 Ireland 77.3 Norway 70.8
 UK 76.4 France 62.3
 US 75.4 Greece 53.2
 Denmark 75.3 Venezuela 33.7
 Netherlands 74.6 Cuba 29.8
 Germany 74.4 North Korea 2.3
 Finland 72.6
Is Modern Europe Socialist?
New “Rights”; Bigger Government

Wanted to prevent anyone (demagogues)
from gaining too much power.
Impossible to spot every demagogue.
Solution?
Founding Fathers

Checks and balances
 “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition… to
control the abuses of government.” ~James Madison
Separation of powers
 “The accumulation of all powers, legislative,
executive, and judiciary, in the same hands...may
justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” ~
James Madison
Designed to prevent anyone (demagogues) from
gaining too much power.
The Constitution

Right to work at a living wage
“Freedom from unfair competition and
domination by monopolies”
Right “to a decent home”
Right to medical care
“Protection from the economic fears of old age,
sickness, accident, and unemployment”
“Right to a good education”
FDR’s Economic Bills of Rights

Original Bill of Rights: “To prevent
misconstruction or abuse” of the government’s
powers. ~ Preface to Bill of Rights
FDR’s Bill of Rights: These are not genuine
rights. They are benefits at the expense of others.
“The demand for the new freedom was thus
only another name for the old demand for an
equal distribution of wealth.” ~ Hayek
Comparison to Bill of Rights

Abandoned and weakened our Constitution
Bureaucratic state
Agencies with legislative, executive, and
judicial powers
 Whatever happened to separation of powers?
And…
Result of New “Rights”


What does the Constitution say about new
government programs (at the federal level)?
If we don’t follow the Constitution, what is to
stop the demagogue?
If we fail to abide by the Constitution, what
will prevent our descent into tyranny?
Solution: The Constitution!
Thank you!

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Big Government and Demagoguery: Are We on the Path to Tyranny?

  • 1. Big Government and Demagoguery: Are We on the Path to Tyranny? Michael E. Newton
  • 2.  “The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label… Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I got 879,000… There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.” ~ Upton Sinclair End Poverty vs. Socialism
  • 3.  Promise free gifts to the voters Class warfare Government control of the economy (socialism, fascism, totalitarianism).  “Fascism and Communism are merely variants of the same totalitarianism which central control of economic activity tends to produce.” ~ Friedrich Hayek Demagogues generally promise bigger, not smaller government. How Demagogues Gain Power
  • 5.  Lead them in battle against Philistines. Unite the tribes. “To judge us, like all the nations.” Desiring a King
  • 6.   “He will take away your sons and place them in his chariots and cavalry, and they will run before his chariot.”  Military draft  “He will appoint for himself captains of hundreds and captains of fifty, to plow his furrow and to reap his harvest, and to produce his implements of battle and the furnishings of his chariot. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.”  Servitude Samuel’s Warning
  • 7.   “He will take a tenth of your grain and vines,” “will take a tenth of your sheep,” “will confiscate your best fields, vineyards, and olive trees,” and “will take your servants and maidservants and your best young men and your donkeys and press them into his service.”  Taxes, confiscation of property, increased servitude  “You will be his slave. On that day you will cry out because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves – but God will not answer you on that day.”  Tyranny! Samuel’s Warning
  • 8.   “No! There shall be a king over us, and we will be like all other nations; our king will judge us, and go forth before us, and fight our wars!”  Why want a king after Samuel’s warning?  No experience with tyrants.  Focused on short-term benefit (win wars, unity); ignored long-term cost (military draft, taxes, confiscation, servitude, tyranny). People’s Reaction
  • 10.  In Athens in 461 BC, Pericles promised wealth redistribution with “allotments of public lands, festival-grants, and distributions of fees for public services.” He was a tyrant who failed to deliver. In the 360s BC at Sicyon, Euphron attacked the rich and argued that his “government was to be on terms of full equality.” Euphron killed or exiled his enemies, took their property, acted generously to his mercenaries, and bribed his allies. Greek History: Examples
  • 11.   “Almost all tyrants have been demagogues who gained the favor of the people by their accusation of the notables.” ~ Aristotle  “A leader of the people” gains power with “unjust accusations…assassinates him…and hints at the abolition of debts and the partition of lands.” ~ Plato  After the people become “accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others,” a “leader who is enterprising…institute[s] the rule of violence” and “democracy…is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence.” ~ Polybius Greek Philosophers
  • 13.  Julius Caesar “proposed laws which were becoming, not for a consul, but for a most radical tribune of the people; for to gratify the multitude he introduced sundry allotments and distributions of land.” ~ Plutarch Julius Caesar “courted the people with banquets and distributions of grain… In all he implanted hopes, since he ardently desired to rule over willing subjects.” ~ Plutarch Julius Caesar: From Republic to Empire
  • 14. Long Live the Revolution: But Not the People
  • 15.   Overthrew government.  Held one election.  Lost 41% to 24% to Socialist Revolutionaries .  These two socialist parties won 65% of vote.  Allowed Assembly to meet for one day before shutting it down.  Expelled Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries from government.  Created single party dictatorship. Bolshevik Revolution
  • 16.   “To us, everything is permitted, for we are the first to raise the sword not to oppress races and reduce them to slavery, but to liberate humanity.” ~ The Red Sword, a Kiev newspaper  “We are bound by no laws. There are no fortresses which Bolsheviks cannot storm.” ~ Stalin  “Everything” included slave labor (gulags), mass starvation, mass murder, and terrorizing the people supposedly being served. Bolshevik Mottos
  • 18.   “Third Way”  Capitalism benefits rich  Socialism benefits poor  Fascism benefits everyone!  Political freedom; increased government control of the economy.  Heavily regulate big business; leave small businesses and individuals alone. Fascist Promises
  • 19.   Labor rights  Limit working hours  Minimum wage  Regulation of corporations  Confiscation of war profits, unproductive capital, and church property  Employee management of industry  Creation of collectivized farms for the peasants Fascism sounds great! Fascist Proposals
  • 21.  National Socialist German Workers Party.  “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” ~ Adolf Hitler, 1927  “Basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same.” ~ Adolf Hitler, 1941 Nazi=National Socialism
  • 22.  “Every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood.” (minimum wage, welfare)  “All unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.” (interest, dividends, capital gains, rent)  “Total confiscation of all war profits.”  “Nationalization of all trusts.”  “Profit-sharing in large industries.”  “Increase in old-age pensions.”  “Communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople.” Nazi Economic Promises
  • 23. Nazis won three elections in a row: July 1932: 37% (+16%) November 1932: 33% (+13%) March 1933: 44% (+26%) Hitler was then declared dictator. Nazi Victory
  • 25. “Mussolini was the greatest man of our century, but he committed certain disastrous errors. I, who have the advantage of his precedent before me, shall follow in his footsteps but also avoid his errors.” ~ Juan Peron “Third Way” economics  Subsidized industry to appease the right  Income redistribution to appease the left  Nationalized foreign-owned companies Peron’s Para-Fascism
  • 26. Peron elected in 1946 with 53.6% of vote Economy deteriorated Promised further redistribution of wealth Had political opponents fired from their jobs, imprisoned, and tortured Took control of the media Won reelection in 1951 with 63.5% of vote Overthrown in 1955 due to weak economy Results of Peron’s Para-Fascism
  • 28.   “We have to re-invent socialism. It can’t be the kind of socialism that we saw in the Soviet Union… We must reclaim socialism as a thesis, a project and a path, but a new type of socialism, a humanist one, which puts humans and not machines or the state ahead of everything.” ~ Hugo Chavez (2005) Chavez’s Reinvented Socialism
  • 29.  “The land is not private, it’s social property. If you put up a fence, or farm it, or have some barns, well these things are private, but the land belongs to nobody in particular, it’s everybody’s.” ~ Hugo Chavez (2009)  Land confiscation--over six million acres of private farmland.  Nationalized large portions of the economy, including the oil, power, telecommunications, steel, and cement industries.  Profit windfall taxes.  Price controls. Same Old Socialist Agenda
  • 30.  Declining oil production Food shortages Water shortages Blackouts Hyper-inflation Venezuela is currently in collapse. Same Old Socialist Results
  • 31.  Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Communism, and “reinvented” versions of them always fail!  Soviet Union  Fascist Italy  Nazi Germany  Peron’s Argentina  Chavez’s Venezuela  Maoist China, Cuba, North Korea, etc.  Modern Europe? Scandinavian Countries? Totalitarianism
  • 32.   US has most or second most progressive tax system.  Economic Freedom Index:  Switzerland 81.0 Sweden 72.0  Ireland 77.3 Norway 70.8  UK 76.4 France 62.3  US 75.4 Greece 53.2  Denmark 75.3 Venezuela 33.7  Netherlands 74.6 Cuba 29.8  Germany 74.4 North Korea 2.3  Finland 72.6 Is Modern Europe Socialist?
  • 34.  Wanted to prevent anyone (demagogues) from gaining too much power. Impossible to spot every demagogue. Solution? Founding Fathers
  • 35.  Checks and balances  “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition… to control the abuses of government.” ~James Madison Separation of powers  “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands...may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” ~ James Madison Designed to prevent anyone (demagogues) from gaining too much power. The Constitution
  • 36.  Right to work at a living wage “Freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies” Right “to a decent home” Right to medical care “Protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment” “Right to a good education” FDR’s Economic Bills of Rights
  • 37.  Original Bill of Rights: “To prevent misconstruction or abuse” of the government’s powers. ~ Preface to Bill of Rights FDR’s Bill of Rights: These are not genuine rights. They are benefits at the expense of others. “The demand for the new freedom was thus only another name for the old demand for an equal distribution of wealth.” ~ Hayek Comparison to Bill of Rights
  • 38.  Abandoned and weakened our Constitution Bureaucratic state Agencies with legislative, executive, and judicial powers  Whatever happened to separation of powers? And… Result of New “Rights”
  • 39.
  • 40.  What does the Constitution say about new government programs (at the federal level)? If we don’t follow the Constitution, what is to stop the demagogue? If we fail to abide by the Constitution, what will prevent our descent into tyranny? Solution: The Constitution!