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How Dictators Come to Power in a Democracy

February 5, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, History, Philosophy, Politics & Elections

By Jim Powell

Jim Powell

Dictatorships are often unexpected. They have arisen among
prosperous, educated and cultured people who seemed safe from a
dictatorship — in Europe, Asia and South America.

Consider Germany, one of the most paradoxical and dramatic

During the late 19thcentury, it was widely considered to have
the best educational system in the world. If any educational system
could inoculate people from barbarism, surely Germany would have
led the way. It had early childhood education – kindergarten.
Secondary schools emphasized cultural training. Germans developed
modern research universities. Germans were especially distinguished
for their achievements in science — just think of Karl Benz
who invented the gasoline-powered automobile, Rudolf Diesel who
invented the compression-ignition engine, Heinrich Hertz who proved
the existence of electromagnetic waves, Wilhelm Conrad Rőntgen who
invented x-rays, Friedrich August Kekulé who developed the theory
of chemical structure, Paul Ehrlich who produced the first
medicinal treatment for syphilis and, of course, theoretical
physicist Albert Einstein. It’s no wonder so many American
scholars went to German universities for their degrees during the
19th century.

After World War I, German university enrollment soared. By 1931,
it reached 120,000 versus a maximum of 73,000 before the war.
Government provided full scholarships for poor students with
ability. As one chronicler reported, a scholarship student
“pays no fees at the university, his textbooks are free, and
on most purchases which he makes, for clothing, medical treatment,
transportation and tickets to theaters and concerts, he receives
substantial reductions in price, and a student may get wholesome
food sufficient to keep body and soul together.”

While there was some German anti-Semitic agitation during the
late 19th century, Germany didn’t seem the most likely place
for it to flourish. Russia, after all, had pogroms —
anti-Jewish rioting and persecution — for decades.
Russia’s Bolshevik regime dedicated itself to hatred —
Karl Marx’s hatred for the “bourgeoisie” whom he
blamed for society’s ills. Lenin and his successor Stalin
pushed that philosophy farther, exterminating the so-called
“rich” who came to include peasants with one cow.

Why, then, did the highly educated Germans embrace a lunatic
like Adolf Hitler? The short answer is that bad policies caused
economic, military and political crises — chow time for
tyrants. German circumstances changed for the worse, and when
people become angry enough or desperate enough, sometimes
they’ll support crazies who would never attract a crowd in
normal circumstances.

Like the other belligerents, Germans had entered World War I
with the expectation that they would win and recoup their war costs
by making the losers pay. The German government led their people to
believe they were winning , so everybody was shocked when the truth
came out. Then U.S. President Woodrow Wilson gave a …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy

February 4, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, History, Philosophy, Politics & Elections

By C4L_Intern

By: David Heacock

As a participant in C4L’s intern program, I am privileged to be able to take part in the fight for liberty in Washington while also being able to attend some unique events. One thing I’m really looking forward to is hearing Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speak this week at the Heritage Foundation on “Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy.”

Last week, Paul spoke on the Senate floor in regards to foreign aid spending to Egypt. He stated: “I think it’s a grave mistake to send F-16’s and Abrams tanks to a country that, last year, detained American citizens on trumped-up political charges. To a country that, currently, is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-up political charges. I think it’s a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16’s and tanks, to a country that allowed a mob, chanting ‘death to America,’ to threaten our American diplomats.”

In opposition to Paul’s statement, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) argued that denying these jets and tanks would be a disfavor toward U.S. weapons manufacturers and a broken obligation to the Egyptian government. I would challenge Senator McCain to read George Washington’s Farewell Address, giving special attention to these lines:

 “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible…

There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.”

The Founding Fathers would, undoubtedly, be in opposition to the United States’ current approach to foreign relations – supplying other nations with over 50 billion dollars a year.  They also would object to treating the national defense budget as a “jobs” program.  It makes no more economic sense to throw taxpayer dollars at the military-industrial complex then it does to throw those dollars at Solyndra. It is in the best interest of both Americans, and people around the world, to cease foreign aid because it keeps corrupt governments in rule, and rarely leads to mutually beneficial relationships.

I’m looking forward to hearing how Senator Paul plans to transition U.S. foreign policy toward one more in line with that of the …read more