Saturday, January 29, 2011

Immigration and the Minimum Wage

The U.S. (Right) - Mexico (Left) Border

Many socialists complain that the minimum wage law is a capitalist institution. The late economist Milton Friedman, who seemed oddly caught between the worlds of Austrian economics and Keynesianism, believed that the minimum wage law is an unfair, anti-capitalist trade barrier which contributes to unemployment and poverty, and that it is biased against the young, and also against under-skilled, which, under current societal conditions, means it is effectually racist.

Friedman once said, “the minimum wage law is most properly described as a law saying employers must discriminate against people who have low skills,” and, “what you are doing is to assure that people whose skills are not sufficient to justify that kind of a wage will be unemployed”. He also said that to require employment of a person at a wage rate higher than one he deserves is to force employers to engage in charity, and that the minimum wage law’s purpose is to “reduce competition for the trade unions and make it easier for them to maintain the wages of their privileged members higher than the others”.

However, it’s not only rich, dead, white Jews like Milton Friedman who oppose the minimum wage; it is also opposed by Orphe Divounguy, a black economic student from England. Divounguy says that the minimum wage is “government intervention in the marketplace for labor,” calls it a restriction on the freedom to contract, and compares it to cutting the bottom rungs off a ladder.

It should be noted that many companies which have revenue below a certain amount and / or are confined entirely within a state, are exempt from having to pay the minimum wage.

The 1950s and the last several years of the Bush administration saw sudden, drastic increases in the minimum wage. From 2006 to 2009, the federal minimum wage increased over 40 percent from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour. Divounguy claims that it “plays a key role in creating joblessness… except when the minimum wage is below the market rate for entry-level jobs”.

Fourteen U.S. states, the vast majority of which are currently majority-Democrat, have state minimum wage laws which are higher than the federal minimum wage. Four states have lower minimum wage laws, and five states, mostly majority-Republican, have no minimum wage laws at all. The other 27 states have a minimum wage which is the same as the federal wage. This begs the question: if states can pass laws which run contrary to the federal minimum wage law, what is the point of even having this ineffective federal law in the first place? 

That should cover capitalist criticism of the minimum wage law. Now, on to socialist arguments.

Earlier, I said that Milton Friedman criticized the minimum wage law. In fact, he once called it “the most anti-Negro law on the books.” It is an unfortunate problem in our country today that some of the most poor, uneducated, and disadvantaged people happen to be African-Americans and Hispanics. What is perhaps equally unfortunate is that many liberals believe that the disadvantaged do not know what is in their own best interest, and so, need to be protected and advocated for, and their own wages dictated for them by the rule of law.

The minimum wage was first established in a dozen or so of the states throughout the 1910s. In 1933, the minimum wage became a federal law, until it was found unconstitutional in 1935, but then in 1938, it was re-established under the Fair Labor Standards Act, at the rate of twenty-five cents per hour.

The condition of labor in the society of those days was that certain ethnic, national, and racial groups, as well as immigrants of different generations, tended to each have their own standards when it came to the value of their labor. When white workers would strike, employers would break strikes with blacks. When black workers would strike, employers would break strikes with Chinese or with eastern European immigrants.

Under such conditions, to enact a law which would impose a wage floor would make competition in the labor market more difficult for non-whites and non-English speakers, and easier for well-established white citizens. This is crucial to understanding why any sound socialist labor theory must reject the minimum wage.

In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx wrote, quote, “let the ruling classes tremble at a communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains; they have a world to win… working men of all countries, unite.” This quote appeals to the internationalist tendencies of socialism, which advocate simultaneous worldwide communist revolution.

This runs contrary to the social-chauvinist and vanguardist tendencies, which advocate that citizens faithful to the populist revolutionary forces within their own country should seek to overthrow that single country’s government if they are able to. The point I am trying to make is that minimum wage laws undermine worker solidarity, taking advantage of and deepening the economic class divisions between the races and ethnicities.

That should cover socialist criticisms of the minimum wage. Earlier, I mentioned that I would discuss immigration, and that two of the groups most hurt by the minimum wage law in the early 20th century were Chinese and eastern European immigrants. In an earlier video, I discussed outsourcing to India and Mexico, as well as protectionism. For those not familiar, protectionism is the imposition of a tax on foreign-made goods, commonly referred to as a tariff. George W. Bush often used the phrase “bariffs and terriers,” by which he meant, “tariffs and barriers.” This is to point out that a tariff can be an impediment to trade. Some even go so far as to label the minimum wage law a barrier to trade, calling it a tariff on labor.

For as long as I can remember, rednecks have been bitching about Mexicans stealing their jobs. To paraphrase stand-up comedian and brief 2008 presidential candidate Doug Stanhope, those rednecks are only complaining because they’re humiliated that a guy with no shoes who doesn’t even speak English yet is more qualified for their job than they are themselves. While appearing as a guest on a radio show in Britain, a caller complained to Stanhope that Polish immigrants were taking Britons’ jobs. Stanhope asked the caller what he did for a living, to which the caller replied, “I pack things in boxes,” later adding, “I’m quite good at it.”

Another important issue in America today which relates to immigration is the issue of illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border. A significant number of these illegals include refugees from Central America. Lately, there has been increased drug violence in towns on both sides of the border.

In this year’s State of the Union, President Obama voiced a desire to deal with, once and for all, the issue of comprehensive immigration reform. U.S. Senator from Illinois Dick Durbin is a prominent advocate of the failed DREAM Act, which stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The bill, which passed the House toward the end of the 111th congress, would provide housing and education assistance for children of illegal immigrants who attended American public schools and are in good standing with the law, and it would give them the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency upon completion of either two years of military service or two years at an institution of higher learning.

U.S. Senator from Arizona John McCain said he would only support the DREAM Act if it were coupled with legislation that would increase border security. Outspoken musician and gun rights activist Ted Nugent, who happens to not do any drugs at all, once said that border security agents should shoot any armed person coming across the border on sight, because it indicates that that person is most likely involved in drug trafficking. But Ted Nugent also believes that people should be able to have guns to protect themselves.

A border agent was recently fired for expressing the opinion that the drug war is what is causing a lot of the border violence. Being that Mexican gun laws are some of the strictest in the world, anyone caught possessing either a gun with greater fire power than a .22, possessing illegal drugs, and / or crossing the border illegally, would be in big trouble with the law.

But I, of course, believe that if anti-drug and anti-gun laws were repealed, at least, for the most part, we would see a dramatic decline in violence, especially near the border. I also believe that illegal immigrants whom are not trafficking in large amounts of dangerously addictive illicit narcotics or have tendencies towards committing acts of aggressive violence should be permitted to carry weapons while venturing across the desert, because they may encounter such violent people, and have to defend themselves and / or their family. Those people should be confronted by border security agents, have their threat level assessed based on their possessions and whether they are with their families, and then they should be promptly let go… So as you can see, I agree with Senator McCain’s proposal (wink).

Back to the minimum wage for a moment. Besides the negative impact of the minimum wage law on low-skilled immigrants, there is an even more direct comparison I would like to make between the U.S.-Mexico border and the minimum wage law. Imagine for a moment, if you would, that Oaxaca is eleven dollars an hour, Mexico City is ten dollars an hour, Ciudad Valles is nine dollars an hour, Ciudad Victoria is eight dollars an hour, Matamoros is seven dollars and twenty-six cents an hour, the U.S.-Mexico border is the minimum wage, and Brownsville, Texas is seven dollars an hour.

The minimum wage is like the U.S.-Mexico border: it is an artificial barrier created by government, causing the most dismal conditions to sidle up against one edge, and when a low-skilled Hispanic emigrant attempts to cross that barrier in order to attempt to achieve the freedom and income he deserves - despite what others tell him is in his own best interest - government must return that individual to the side of the barrier on which he does not feel it appropriate, wise, or beneficial for himself to be located.

This minimum wage cannot stand. If we agree there should be a minimum wage at all, it should be just under the going market rate for entry-level labor, and adjusted as often as that value undergoes a significant change. The federal minimum wage law undermines the authority of the states, and it drives laborers apart based on ethnicity and abilities. It is a scourge to free-market capitalism, localized communal social democracy, and the strength of the labor movement, and at its current rate, it contributes to poverty and unemployment much more than it solves either of those problems.

Liberals and libertarians both believe in liberty and equality, it’s just that they want different kinds of each of those things. Liberals want liberty for the public from the tyranny of individuals and business, and they want equality of economic outcome. Libertarians want liberty for the individual and businesses from the tyranny of the masses and the government, and they want equality of economic opportunity. So, you see, true capitalists do care about the poor. It just doesn’t look that way to the untrained eye.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Iran and Israel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

American allies Israel, Pakistan, and India. Muslim-majority Middle-Eastern countries Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Western European countries and European Union members the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Italy.
Which two of these groups are comprised of countries which have all signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – the international treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons – and which two of these groups are comprised of countries which possess nuclear weapons?
The correct answer is that American allies Israel, Pakistan, and India possess nuclear weapons but have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; Muslim-majority countries Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran do not possess nuclear weapons but have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and European Union members the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Italy do possess nuclear weapons and have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Before going any further, I will mention – as an aside – several facts.
First, North Korea signed the treaty – but withdrew in 2003 – and does not currently possess nuclear weapons. Second, American ally Taiwan has not yet signed the treaty because it is not recognized as a sovereign state, and does not currently possess nuclear weapons.
Third, Turkey has signed the treaty, and does possess nuclear weapons. Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Italy – although they are considered to be non-nuclear states – have American-made nuclear weapons stationed in their military bases.
But I digress; my primary focus here is to draw attention to the facts that the Islamic Republic of Iran does not currently possess nuclear weapons, and that it has signed the N.N.P.T., while the State of Israel does currently possess nuclear weapons, and that it has not signed the N.N.P.T..
In late January 2011 in Turkey – following a fourteen-month break in negotiations between Iran and the West – nuclear negotiations with Iran broke down as Iranian representatives swore that that country’s uranium enrichment program is solely intended for peaceful purposes, such as the production of nuclear energy. Iranian representatives asserted Iran’s national sovereignty and begged for an end to harmful sanctions imposed on it by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations.
According to claims made in January 2011 by American representatives to the nuclear talks, Iran’s nuclear development program has slowed, and there is still plenty of time for diplomacy. According to M.O.S.S.A.D. – the State of Israel’s own intelligence agency – even if Iran is currently pursuing a nuclear weapons program, they will not be able to produce a viable nuclear bomb for another three or four years.
It has appeared in recent years as if the U.S. and the State of Israel have been attempting to provoke one another into attacking Iran first. Israel – which has the smaller military, and receives about one-and-a-half billion dollars in American military aid per year – is in the more reasonable and justifiable position to attack Iran, being within the range of Iranian missiles.
Iran’s military budget is only about one-hundredth of the size of that of the United States in proportion to their total government budgets. In terms of real numbers, America’s military budget is seventy-five times larger than Iran’s, and Israel’s military budget is nearly fifty percent larger than that of Iran. Iran’s combined active and reserve military personnel numbers nearly twice that of Israel.
What this means is that – even with the American military aid given to Israel – Israel’s military alone would not be able to defeat Iran without American military backing.
However – although the State of Israel has never publicly admitted to possessing any nuclear weapons at all, Janes Weapons Quarterly alleges that Israel currently possesses approximately eight hundred nuclear weapons. If this information is true, then the State of Israel is the world’s third strongest nuclear military power in terms of the sheer number of nuclear weapons which it possesses.
This makes the prospect of a war between Iran and Israel – in which Israel would have the smaller military in terms of active troops – all the more frightening, being that without American involvement, Israel would likely feel pressured to resort to deploying its nuclear weapons in order to defeat Iran.

In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In 2006, Ahmadinejad and his country hosted the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust. Also present at the conference were Dr. David Duke – a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a member of the Louisiana State House – and the Jewish political activist group Neturei Karta – which means “the guardians of the city”; i.e., Jerusalem – which frequently protests the actions and sovereignty of the “Jewish and democratic State” of Israel. President Ahmadinejad’s having attended the Holocaust conference has been used as evidence that he is a denier of the Holocaust.
An allegedly anti-Semitic statement which Ahmadinejad made at some point during this controversy began to be repeated by Western media outlets, which translated the statement as meaning that Iran’s president desired to “wipe Israel off the map” and to “push Israel into the sea.”
When Ahmadinejad spoke at New York City’s Columbia University in September of 2007, he was introduced by Columbia President Lee Bollinger as “a cruel and petty dictator”. During the speech, Ahmadinejad said, “there are no homosexuals in Iran”, which was received by the audience with laughter.
In late September of 2009, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and alleged Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel appeared at a public gathering in New York City to try to drum up anti-Iranian sentiment in the United States.

The Islamic Republic of Iran and its president have taken quite a bit of flack from the West and its media outlets in the last four years. The Western media seems determined to paint Ahmadinejad and his country as brutally repressive of women, homosexuals, Jews and Zionists, members of the Baha’i Faith, and political dissidents. But In President Ahmadinejad’s defense – however – I have several things to say.
First – with regards to the issue of gender – Iran has a high female employment rate as compared to other countries in the region, and its reputation as particularly oppressive of women in the context of Islam is greatly exaggerated.
Second – with regards to homosexuality – Ahmadinejad stated there are no homosexuals in Iran because homosexuality is still very much a taboo there, as it would be in any country in which nearly one hundred percent of citizens belong to one of the three major Abrahamic faiths, all of which express disdain for homosexual acts. The truth is that Iran has something of a “Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell” policy with regards to homosexuality; Iranian homosexuals tend to stay closeted for fear that they will be socially ostracized and / or have violence visited upon them. Also, the execution of homosexuals is much more rare than the Western media would have us believe, and it hardly even happens anymore.
Third – in response to Ahmadinejad’s alleged anti-Semitism, Ahmadinejad himself has stated that he “respects Jews very much”. Leaders of the Jewish activist group Neturei Karta have stated that they trust Ahmadinejad to uphold the safety and autonomy of Jewish communities throughout Iran. This is not to obscure the fact – however – that some Jews whom have left Iran felt resented by the country and pressured to flee.
Fourth – in response to Ahmadinejad’s alleged call for the destruction of the State of Israel – a speaker of Farsi who actually heard the original statement translated it as meaning that the president desired that the political ideology of Zionism – which is the support for Jewish national sovereignty – be erased from the pages of history. The translation reads thus: “this regime that is occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”.
It can be difficult for us in the West to distinguish Zionism from Judaism. Not all supporters of the State of Israel are Jewish, and not all Jews – such as the members of Neturei Karta – support the State of Israel. Even the late Ayatollah Khomeini was well aware of that difference.
The truth about Jewish-Muslim relations is that – according to long-standing tenets of both Ottoman law and Jewish religious law – Jews are to have communal autonomy governed by religious courts, but sovereign statehood for the Jews is not permitted unless and until Mashiach – the Jewish Messiah – has arrived on Earth and has personally built the State.
Fifth – in response to the claim that Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust – the president has stated that what he rejects and resents about the Holocaust is the dogmatic teaching of unsubstantiated facts about it. He has stated that – with respect to the Holocaust, as with any other matter of intellectual dispute – he prefers the teaching of the controversy. It would be quite preposterous to assert that a person whom had lost relatives in the Holocaust – such as Neturei Karta spokesman Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss – would ever associate with a leader who openly denies that the Holocaust ever occurred, dispute the statistics, logistics, and exploitation of the tragedy though he may.
Sixth, some have alleged that the Baha’i Faith for which Ahmadinejad has been described as having animosity is actually a spy agency for the State of Israel, like the Anti-Defamation League and the America Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Seventh and last, Ahmadinejad oppresses political dissidents, at times even violently. But what government can be said to always refrain from violently oppressing political dissidents? Certainly none that I can think of. Under the presidency of Bill Clinton, the F.B.I. labeled pro-lifers and 2nd-Amendment advocates as potential domestic terrorists.
In short, the oppression of political dissidents and other marginalized groups in Iran is much more of a question of human rights and of U.S.-Middle East diplomacy than it is a question about good versus evil, the war on terrorism, or the spread of nuclear weapons.

But regardless of these equivocations, let’s assume for a moment that the Western media are right, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is brutally oppressive of women, homosexuals, members of other faiths, and political dissidents. If the facts are so, then we must ask: Why is Iran so sexually, religiously, and politically repressive? Certainly it’s the backwards, medieval ways of Islam in general which are to blame for this, right?

In 1953, the C.I.A. overthrew a democratically-elected, socially-progressive leader who nationalized his country’s oil reserves in order to enrich his people. That leader was Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. That year, monarch Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi – also known as the Shah of Iran – gave into the C.I.A.’s plan, issued decrees against Mossadegh and in support of the C.I.A.’s choice as prime minister, Fazlollah Zahedi.
During the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Shah was ousted, and replaced by an Islamic theocratic constitutional republic with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as Supreme Leader. It was during Khomeini’s ten-year reign that Iran became increasingly oppressive of women, gays, the Baha’i, and political dissidents. For most of Khomeini’s reign, the president of Iran was Seyed Ali Hoseyni Khamenei. After Khomeini’s death, Khamenei was appointed to succeed him as Supreme Leader.
If the C.I.A. hadn’t intervened in Iran in 1953, and overthrown their popular, socially progressive prime minister, replacing him with another prime minister who was favored by the C.I.A. and the Iranian monarchy – the system of which, I might add, had existed, alongside the position of the Shah, since the days of Cyrus the Great – then perhaps there wouldn’t have been any need for the Iranian people to hate the United States so much that an oppressive theocracy would sound like a better government than one supportive of American political and economic interests.
Perhaps if the kibbutzim – the Jewish agricultural communes in the Land of Palestine – would have remained the practically anarchistic autonomous religious settlements which they, in essence, always were, rather than to solidify into the modern, secular, sovereign Zionist State of Israel which is prohibited by long-standing precedents in Jewish religious and Ottoman law which had provided for decades of peace at a time between Jews and Muslims, then Iran would have no reason whatsoever to fund and arm Hizbullah of Lebanon, which attacks Israeli Jews – other than the provision of the perfectly legitimate means of defense and protection and of public utilities which the Lebanese living near the Israeli border so sorely need.

Two things appear clear in all this.
One is that the United States’ position towards Zionism and towards the State of Israel– especially with regard to the military foreign aid going to that country and with regard to issues of transparency surrounding its nuclear weapons program – needs to be re-evaluated if there is to be consistency in international relations between the United States, the State of Israel, and the various Middle-Eastern countries (especially Iran), as well as in religious relations between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
The other is that if you’re looking for a Middle-Eastern country which has undisclosed nuclear weapons and the ability to threaten the United States, you need look no further than the prematurely-sovereign Zionist State of Israel.

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What is Social Libertarianism?

Texas Congressman Ron Paul
and consumer advocate Ralph Nader

Social Libertarianism is the answer to Fascism. Whereas Fascism embraced the most authoritarian aspects of capitalism and socialism against the perceived evils of each system, Social Libertarianism recognizes that many of those aspects which were rejected by the Fascists were, in fact, the good things about each of those systems.

While Fascists reached out to businesses and labor unions by promising kickbacks and special treatment, they ended up centralizing the power structures, dispensing with individual civil liberties, affording benefits to only those businesses which were run by people belonging to the preferred races and classes, and completely betraying the unions, going even as far as assassinating their leaders.

German Nazism and Italian Fascism were National Social-Corporativist systems. “National” signifies racial and ethnic preference enshrined in the law, “Corporativist” signifies the merger of State and corporate power, and “Social-Corporativism” signifies the addition of socialist labor union power to this merger. Thus, National Social-Corporativism exists wherever government expresses interest in favoring businesses and unions alike for the benefit of certain races and / or ethnicities.

Social Libertarians – on the other hand – reach out to businesses and unions by promising a level playing field in a low-stakes political environment in which important decisions would affect a minimal number of people due to localization of decision-making processes; particularly – when desired – localization to the very individuals and communities which make up society on an atomistic level.

Social Libertarianism is the belief in individual liberty and independence and communal autonomy – free from overarching centralized government control – regarding free-market capitalism and communalistic social democracy as equally conducive means towards the ends of a general liberation from tyranny for people and ideologies alike. 

Social Libertarians value not the concentration but the diffusion of power and authority, supporting a political, social, and economic environment which allows voluntary accession to associations, and which permits a person to remain free from societal restraint and interference if he or she so chooses, except in cases in which an individual's claim to freedom of action and / or expression interferes with other individuals’ right to be free from unwarranted, aggressive, initiative coercion or harm. This is called the non-coercion or non-aggression principle or axiom.

If and when libertarians and progressives grow weary of compromise with one another, they are free to form their own communities which they may govern as they please (without violating anyone’s rights to refuse to join such communities) or to simply become independent and sovereign on an individual level; i.e., become a self-ruling autarch.

Authoritarian state socialism and federalistic representative democracy are perversions of community-based, public-interest governance and social-welfare economics. They take power away from the people and their communities by distilling the ethically conservative societal attitudes of the day into a centralized, bureaucratic oligarchy that dictates morality to individuals on a nationwide basis. This robs people and their communities of the right to govern themselves socially according to an expression of the collective will of the people who are most directly affected by such governantial organizations’ actions. 

Likewise, federalized republicanism and corporate industrial protectionism are perversions of individual-based free markets in political and legal representation and in fiscal management. They take power away from individuals and their states by distilling the fiscally conservative societal attitudes of the day into an isolating, monolithic tyranny that subsidizes business enterprises based on their proven past ability to turn a profit for collection by the State through taxation. This robs people and their states and regions of the right to govern themselves economically with deference to individual subjective preference for this or that competitor in the provision of goods and services.

In considering all this, it helps to perceive the State – or any government entity, at that – as a business unto itself. The business of the State is to afford its citizens – or customers – with the service of providing security, safety, and protection; restitution and justice; and – often – representation. Those services can be political, legal, social, and economic in nature, and often are even all four.

In truth, security, safety, protection, restitution, justice and representation are commodities like any other, and the State knows that there is a high demand for them, and it wants to take advantage by gaining a monopoly over their supply. The people typically pay for these things by pledging allegiance, relinquishing civil liberties, delegating their rights away, and refraining from disputing the extraction of taxes from themselves.

 Nineteeth-century anarchist theorist Gustave de Molinari once said, “…the production of security should… remain subject to the law of free competition… no government should have the right to prevent another government from going into competition with it, or require consumers of security to come exclusively to it for this commodity”.

To drive the point home that the government is actually a business which operates for its own profit – and not just a profit made up of money, but of power – the word “monopoly” is thrown around quite a bit when the State’s authority is discussed. 

Even President Obama has professed a belief in the “monopoly on legitimate force” without which Statism does not exist. The significance of the concept is basically that any act of violence or theft committed by the State is legal simply because it is undertaken by an authority that has both the perceived legitimacy and the sheer strength required to permit itself to be the only entity which is legally allowed to coerce.

Some politicians even manage to do a decent job of pretending not to understand what is being implied when someone asks them, “how may the people delegate a right which they themselves do not have”, referring to how the State may coerce but the people may not, which seems to contradict the idea that the legitimacy of any government may only be derived from the consent of the governed.

Crucial to understanding the concept of social liberty is the freedom of an individual to voluntarily enter into an agreement, which can include a verbal or written contract;  a promise to work for compensation; and a promise to pledge allegiance to a political entity in exchange for security, safety, protection, restitution, justice, and representation.

Social liberty does not mean an end to all hierarchical structures. If a person wants to subject himself to the authority of some other person, he has the right to do so, as long as he is not compelled to stay in the relationship for a period of time of which he has no choosing, unless he willingly gives up this authority and consents – no matter what he may perceive himself to decide at a later point – to become a life-long voluntary servant, voluntary servitude being distinct from involuntary servitude, sometimes referred to as slavery.

In a Social Libertarian society, all contractual agreements which are not deceptive or fraudulent are considered valid and binding. A person who purposely undervalues his own labor in order to get a job and feed himself and his family has no right to claim that he has been taken advantage of, because he has entered into an agreement perceived by himself and his employer to be sufficiently beneficial to both parties according to the subjective needs and values of each.

The State may and should be thought of as an expanding industrial corporation, which integrates horizontally through cooperation with the international community of governments, and which integrates vertically through absorption and subjugation of regional, state, county, and municipal community governments.

Through the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the federal government asserts that subsidiary governments must follow suit whenever the federal government deems the Constitution to mean something new and different.

The antidote to the Supremacy Clause is the Tenth Amendment, which is invoked when states wish to nullify federal laws when the states’ own supreme courts find such laws unconstitutional.

A so-called “progressive-libertarian” coalition is currently taking shape in our federal government. Potential members in and influences on this coalition include Republican  Texas Congressman, former Libertarian Party presidential nominee, and former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul – who once said that in a libertarian society, socialists could voluntarily form their own communities – and consumer advocate and perennial independent and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

They – as well as self-described socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Democratic Ohio Congressman and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, Republican former Texas congressman and Libertarian Party presidential nominee Bob Barr, Democratic former Georgia congresswoman and former Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney, Democratic former Alaska Senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel, Democratic Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, and former Constitution Party presidential nominee Chuck Baldwin – have, especially in the last four years, shown an inclination towards reaching across party lines in order to pass important legislation, without compromising the ideologies of either progressives or libertarians.

The politicians whom I mentioned believe in most if not all of the following things: enacting a humble foreign policy; restoring civil liberties; electoral reform; making social welfare programs solvent; ending excessive corporate welfare; balancing the budget; and decreasing the size, scope, and sphere of influence of the executive branch and the federal bureaucracies.

If many federal laws are found unconstitutional by regional district and state supreme courts, and are subsequently repealed, and the decisions permitted to stand, there will be a greater opportunity for the citizens to take control of their government back from corrupt, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., leading to more clout for libertarians and progressives alike in the state legislatures, as well as in the federal government itself, so that the policies they embrace will have a chance to come to fruition in a timely manner.

The reason we have such a divisive yet ambivalent political atmosphere is because in a centralized, monolithic federal government, all decision-making is inherently high-stakes.

If we shrink the federal government, end the two to six wars in the Middle East and drastically scale back our military adventurism, and balance the budget, then we can continue to have the seemingly never-ending economic conversation of capitalism versus socialism in an America whose safety and financial stability would not be anywhere nearly as gravely threatened by important problems such as terrorism, law enforcement, drug violence, health care, labor issues, and immigration as it is today.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Obama vs. Hitler: Compare and Contrast

Originally Written in January 2011

Edited on February 14th and 15th, 2016

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Executive Power
3. Military
4. Private Military
5. Youth Civil Service Programs
6. Gun Control
7. Monetary Policy
8. Protectionism
9. Crony Capitalism
10. Corporate Welfare
11. Cartels
12. Competition, Social Darwinism, and
13. Health Care
14. Smoking and Drugs
15. Leftism and the Unions
16. Christianity, Islam, and Sexual Ethics
17. Jews and the State of Israel
18. Conclusion
19. Afterword


1. Introduction

            Current U.S. President Barack Obama and World War II era German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, may, in fact, be more similar than some people can imagine.
      First of all, the fact that they are both charismatic figureheads, with a knack for oratory and for delivering speeches that excite and uplift their bases, are indisputable, so I don’t think it’s necessary to go into that. Nor will I go into details about how both leaders campaigned under the banner of change, and were billed and lionized as the potential saviors of their respective countries.
      Critics of Obama – such as the Tea Party protesters, and opponents supporting political “lunatic-fringe” figures as diverse as the likes of Ron Paul and Lyndon LaRouche – have been among the most active in comparing Obama to Hitler. LaRouche supporters are often seen in public, holding up posters depicting Obama with a toothbrush mustache (yes, that is what it’s called) as well as Hitler’s characteristic floppy-bang emo hairstyle.
      Although it is much more common for Tea Partiers to compare Obama to Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, or to Communists and / or socialists in general, rather than to Hitler, Tea Partiers can occasionally be heard calling him a Nazi.
      Former congressman Ron Paul of Texas often calls Obama’s economic policies “corporatism”, “soft fascism”, and “watered-down economic fascism”. Fascism is the name of the philosophy espoused by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, an ally of Hitler’s. Congressman Paul, in describing Obama’s fascism, often quotes Mussolini’s description of his own philosophy: “Fascism would more appropriately be called ‘corporatism’ because it is the merger of state and corporate power”. I will go deeper into Hitler and Obama’s similarities as per economic and monetary policy later in this essay.

2. Executive Power

      Both Hitler and Obama were democratically elected, and emphasized a strong assertion of executive power. While Hitler overtly and instantaneously suspended his country’s constitution, and outlawed all parties except his own, Obama appears to be suspending the U.S. Constitution slowly and subtly, building on his predecessor George W. Bush’s attempts to gradually wither away at our civil liberties.
      In his first two years as president, Obama appointed some thirty-eight unelected “czars” to the executive branch. Also, both Obama and Hitler ignored the advice of generals; for example, Obama's conflict with General Stanley McChrystal, and Hitler's 1938 dismissal of sixteen senior generals.

3. Military

      Each leader expanded his country’s military. Within three years of assuming power, Hitler sextupled the number of soldiers in the Nazi military. As of 2011, the Obama administration was considering creating a Europe-based force of a thousand Marines to assist Africom. In the first two years of the Obama Administration, it stepped up U.S. military presence in – and spending on – efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Djibouti, and Latin American nations such as Colombia. In 201, the Obama Administration proposed significant increases in funding for arms sales and military training programs.

4. Private Military

            To augment the size of his army, Hitler employed the Sturmabteilung, also known as the Storm Troopers, or brown-shirts. The brown-shirts were paramilitary forces; in other words, mercenaries, or paid soldiers. Hitler cheaply employed three million of these soldiers, in order to cut costs. Much of Hitler’s military technology was produced by Fritz Thyssen’s German Steel Trust. In 1923, Thyssen and American businessman William Averell Harriman set up the Union Banking Company in New York. From 1934 to 1943, Prescott Bush was a director of this company, and in 1942, the U.S. federal government cracked down on the operation after the passage of the Trading with the Enemy Act.
President Obama has expressed disdain for private military industries, vowing to monitor them better and stop no-bid contracts to them, but during his 2008 campaign for president, he stated that he would not rule out use of private military companies. During his presidency, he has hesitated to curb their influence, and replaced volunteer forces in Iraq with 30,000 mercenaries. This is the “military-industrial complex”, described and denounced by President Eisenhower, in action.

5. Youth Civil Service Programs

In 1922, Hitler announced the first Nazi Party youth group. In 1932, there were 100,000 members of the Nazi Youth, and the following year, there were 2.3 million. In 1936, membership for all youths between the ages of 10 and 18 became mandatory. By 1939 – the year in which Poland was invaded – there were 7.3 million members.
      In 2006, Rahm Emanuel – who was then a U.S. Representative from Illinois, later became Obama’s Chief of Staff, and now serves as the Mayor of Chicago – proposed in his book The Plan: Big Ideas for America that the U.S. enlist all Americans between the age of 18 and 25 for three months of basic training, civil defense preparation, and community service. Emanuel said in an interview that, in his plan, citizens would “learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear, or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster.”
      Emanuel has repeatedly claimed that this would not constitute a draft in the vein of selective service. Well, it’s certainly not selective service, because everybody would have to do it! Although Emanuel quit his position as Chief of Staff to run for the Chicago mayoral position – and, thus, is no longer part of the federal government – Emanuel would have coupled this plan with Obama’s own plan to require high-school students to perform fifty hours of government approved service.

6. Gun Control

Hitler and Obama are both supporters of gun control. Hitler confiscated German citizens’ guns, in order to prevent an armed insurrection against himself and the Nazis. Hitler also strengthened existing regulations on Jews’ possession of firearms.
During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said about people from small towns, “it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them”. Obama has been given an “F” rating by the National Rifle Association for his record on preserving gun rights.

7. Monetary Policy

            The similarities between Obama and Hitler in terms of monetary policy can be summarized in a single word: Keynesianism. Lord John Maynard Keynes was an influential gay British economist during World War II. In fact, some claim that Hitler was the first practicing Keynesian leader.
      A key aspect of Keynesianism is that government takes an interventionist role in the market and in the adjustment of interest and credit. The government controls the issuing of currency according to its observation of the cycles of deflation and inflation, and artificially maintains low interest rates in lending.
Keynesian economies also tend to fund – often through deficit spending – expensive budgets, which include large-scale military projects, corporate protectionism, and social welfare. Keynesian economies also undertake extensive national public works programs, for example, Obama’s “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, intended to create 2.5 million jobs.

8. Protectionism

      A key form that protectionist policy takes is the tariff, which is a tax on foreign imports. Hitler imposed huge protectionist barriers in order to make Germany self-sufficient, and he used nationalism and racialism to incite people against foreigners, and to support the measures. President Obama and Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro support New York Senator Chuck Schumer’s plan to impose higher tariffs against China.
For as long as I – and I’m sure, many young people – can remember, there has been a bias in favor of American goods, and against foreign-made goods, in American culture. Many people – most notably George W. Bush and Lou Dobbs – argue for a resurgence in American self-sufficiency and competitiveness, and against outsourcing of American jobs to places like India and Mexico. Many are apt to characterize people who hold these views as racist, or as nationalists.

9. Crony Capitalism

            In the summer of 2010, in speaking about the B.P. oil company, Ron Paul said, “What I don’t like is big business and big government being in bed together.” Now, of course, Congressman Paul meant that in a figurative sense, but that turn of phrase can also be shown to be literally true. Towards the end of the Bush administration, M.M.S. (the U.S. Minerals Management Services; the organization whose responsibility it is to monitor and regulate energy companies) was discovered to be having cocaine and marijuana-fueled sex orgies, with energy industry executives, in a Colorado regional office (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
      In an article published in the American Free Press, Ron Paul wrote that “Socialism is a system where the government directly owns and manages businesses. Corporatism is a system where businesses are nominally in private hands, but are, in fact, controlled by the government. In a corporatist state, government officials often act in collusion with their favored business interests to design policies that give those interests a monopoly position, to the detriment of both competitors and consumers”.
      In other words, under corporatism (or fascism), representatives of big business, lobby the government, to help protect their industries’ abilities to monopolize – i.e., corner – the market. This is also known as crony capitalism, or protectionism, which is a strain of mercantilism. Mercantilism is a relic of the economic thought of post-Renaissance feudalistic states. In a way, it is a forbearer of capitalism.
      In a representative democracy, protectionism appears as – and is, for all intents and purposes – socialistic. I have described the kinds of liberal democracy which support tariffs, and protecting domestic labor from competition by foreigners, as “labor protectionism”. Anarchist theorist Stefan Molyneux has shown that when lobbyists get their way – making unenforceable, backroom deals – the system is, in effect, anarchistic, or chaotic.

10. Corporate Welfare

      In the several months before Obama took office – with many of the same financial officers he later appointed, already being in power – the U.S. government nationalized banks: Bank of America, Citigroup, and A.I.G. three different times. After Obama took office, A.I.G.’s bailout was restructured again.
Rather than nationalizing Germany’s banks, Hitler employed Nazis in them, and sent S.S. officers around to make sure they were doing as Hitler ordered. Hitler also nationalized bond insurers, as well as airlines. Some American airlines have been nationalized since the Bush administration ended.         
Both Obama and Hitler used government to direct asset management of automobile companies: Obama with General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford, but also to the United Auto Workers’ union; and Hitler with Mercedes, Daimler-Benz, B.M.W., M.A.N., and Auto Union. Additionally, under Hitler, Volkswagen was created as a nationalized enterprise.
What happened with the banking and auto industries fits in with Ron Paul’s description of corporatism, which is that their assets are nominally held in private hands, but directed and insured by the federal government.

11. Cartels

      Both Obama and Hitler fixed wages. Obama supports the minimum wage, and recently supported an increase in the minimum wage for federal government employees to $10.50 per hour. Late in his administration, Hitler sought to freeze and stabilize wages.
      Additionally, both leaders fixed prices. Hitler’s price fixing was widespread, while Obama’s price fixing has, so far, been limited to health insurance premiums (health care is addressed in greater detail later in the essay), and he has expressed a desire to fix energy prices and destroy the fossil fuel industry.

12. Competition, Social Darwinism, and Bioethics

      Hitler’s views on nature were influenced by zoologist Ernst Haeckel, whom – although he viewed human beings as a part of nature, that must live in harmony with it in order to survive – was a proponent of social Darwinism. Hitler extrapolated social Darwinism to his racial theory, wherein Aryans were believed to be inherently superior to all other human races. However, Hitler also adopted social Darwinism as an idea that justified environmentalism, otherwise known as environmental conservationism.
Obama is also an environmental conservationist, promoting green initiatives, such as a renewal of alternative energy sources, including wind and solar energy. Obama has said that he doesn’t fully support the practice of affirmative action, but rather a merit-based atmosphere of competitive labor. Competition in any and all spheres is promoted and justifiable under social Darwinism.
      Hitler and several of his colleagues, such as Joseph Goebbels, have been described as vegetarians, although Hitler’s personal vegetarianism is not exactly correct (he didn’t eat meat only on some days). Hitler believed in animal rights, and banned animal vivisection, although Dr. Mengele was, of course, not beyond practicing vivisection on human beings, in addition to animals.
During his presidential campaign, Obama claimed he was a vegan. However, in 2010, President Obama appointed Kansas University Vice Chancellor Barbara Atkins, who bears ultimate responsibility for the primate vivisection that occurred at the university’s Medical Center, to a federal bioethics panel.

13. Health Care

      German doctor Josef Mengele was known as “Dr. Death” for the hideous racist experiments he conducted during the Nazi regime. Earlier, I mentioned Obama’s appointment of some thirty-eight “czars” to the executive branch. One of these czars is the so-called “Health Czar”, former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s brother Ezekiel, a doctor and medical ethicist. Some have nicknamed Ezekiel Emanuel the “death czar.”
      Emanuel has been instrumental in the promotion of Obamacare, which Republican opponents – such as Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, who has a son with Down’s Syndrome – argue implements a system of rationed health care, and creates what many have called, “death panels”, which are councils that make lists of expensive procedures, which they would encourage doctors to urge elderly patients to voluntarily refuse, leading to their deaths.
      Both Ezekiel Emanuel and Josef Mengele are supporters of euthanasia, or mercy-killing. Although the practice challenges the notion enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath of “first do no harm”, this is not such an objectionable practice (at least, in my opinion), being that proponents such as the other famous “Doctor Death”, Jack Kevorkian, argue, it relieves the suffering of terminally-ill patients.
      However, Hitler and Mengele favored euthanasia for people who were mentally and physically disabled, or as they called it, “hereditarily ill.” Hitler, Mengele, and Joseph Goebbels issued propaganda emphasizing the importance of hard work, and emphasizing that people lacking the ability to do physical labor are a drain on society. In 1939, 100,000 of these “hereditarily ill” people were murdered by Nazi doctors.

14. Smoking and Drugs

      Hitler hated smoking. He viewed it as decadent, and as a menace to public health. In 1940, he ordered tobacco to be rationed among his army in a way that would dissuade soldiers from smoking. President Obama was a life-long cigarette smoker, but has spent the last several years trying to quit. He currently presides over a country, three-fourths of whose states have instituted some level of smoking ban in bars and / or restaurants. The city of Philadelphia, for example, instituted a ban on smoking outdoors, in the early years of the Obama Administration.

            Many in Hitler’s army would drink often, and take methamphetamines, also known as “speed”. Amphetamines gave the Nazi army the energy and attention they needed to march across Europe quickly and effectively. The U.S. military refers to amphetamines as “go pills”, and has been using amphetamines as early as the Vietnam War.
      Today’s military culture in the U.S. is rife with alcohol use, and – although current reports of widespread amphetamine use in the military are not easy to find outside of the U.S. Air Force, American medical culture over-diagnoses attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (A.D.H.D.) in children, and as a result, over 2.5 million American children have been prescribed amphetamine-containing medications for the disorder.

      Another drug worth mentioning is fluoride. Sodium fluoride (NaFl) is a chemical which is a neurotoxin at high enough doses. Hitler fluoridated the water supply in his labor and concentration camps, in order to render his subjects weak, confused, subservient, and sterile. Many local governments across the U.S. fluoridate their drinking water supplies. The government has now admitted that fluoride actually damages people’s teeth more than it contributes to dental hygiene. Fluoride is also an active ingredient in anti-depressants such as Prozac. Depression, like attention deficit disorder (A.D.D.), is an over-diagnosed affliction, but unlike A.D.D. and A.D.H.D., anti-depressant prescriptions in the U.S. number 27 million. Anti-depressant medications are a major factor in fueling the American workaholic and consumerist lifestyle.

15. Leftism and the Unions

      Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Spanish dictator Francisco Franco – as well as President Obama – all courted, and won, the support of the labor and trade unions, but all eventually sold out to big business and industrial interests. In fact, Mussolini stole the thunder and popularity of Italian communist Mario Berlinguer, and later imprisoned him (note: Berlinguer’s second cousin, Francesco Cossiga, later became Italy’s Prime Minister, and, before his death in August 2010, alleged that American and Israeli intelligence agencies were complicit in 9/11).
      In the lead-up to Hitler’s rise to power, he partnered with, and made promises to, German labor unions. However, he ended up banning trade unions, ending collective bargaining, taking away the right to strike, the right to quit, and even the right to earn a greater wage for increased productivity. The Nazis also rounded up, and killed, labor union organizers and leaders.
            Before a 1934 purge, there was a left-wing propaganda arm of the Nazi Party, which was led by Gregor and Otto Strasser. The Strassers made speeches supporting a movement which would most appropriately be called “national syndicalism” or “social nationalism”; i.e., the merger of the nation-state with labor and trade unions. Additionally, of course, Hitler temporarily partnered with Stalin, to help bring about the carving-up of Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union, with the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty, and the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1941.
      During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama said, “I believe in unions”, and spoke of “giving unions more leverage.” He also supported the deceptively-titled Employee Free Choice Act. On the campaign trail, Obama appeared with Bruce Springsteen, whom, with the E Street Band, had recently recorded an album entitled We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, which featured a folk-rock rendition of the Negro work song, “Pay Me My Money Down.”
However, the Obama administration’s support of pro-union legislation has largely served to enrich union bureaucracies, and to primarily benefit the leaders of unions, rather than their individual members. Furthermore, the Obama Administration’s concessions to big business and banks, has effectively rendered all pro-union measures pointless in the grand scheme of things.

16. Christianity, Islam, and Sexual Ethics

      Both Obama and Hitler have been critical of Christianity, and tolerant of Islam. Obama has criticized people in small towns clinging to religion, he has publicly mocked biblical laws, and he has reached out to the Islamic world. Hitler outlawed the publication of bibles, embraced paganism, and tolerated Islam. However, the Catholic Church harbored Nazi war criminals, and encouraged Catholics to pray for Hitler and his regime.
      On social issues, President Obama is staunchly pro-choice (even supporting partial-birth abortion), and one of Hitler’s first acts after taking office was to legalize abortion. Their stances on the issue of gay marriage are different. However, President Obama supports legalizing homosexual civil unions, and now gay marriage (although he previously opposed it); Hitler, on the other hand, didn’t support gay anything: marriage, being alive, et cetera.

17. Jews and the State of Israel

            Hitler supported Jewish emigration to Palestine, the current location of the Zionist State of Israel. To state the obvious, Hitler liked the idea of Jews going anywhere, as long as they were leaving Germany. Therefore, he was willing to negotiate with Zionists, because they shared the goal of getting Jews out of Germany.
      In fact, the original so-called “Final Solution” to the Jewish question was not to exterminate the Jews, but to build ostensibly autonomous Jewish communities in the African island nation of Madagascar. According to the Nazis’ plan, those colonies would have been supervised by the S.S. (Storm Troopers) in order to ensure the Jews’ eventual death by disease and famine.
In addition to supporting this intentionally failed Jewish Malagasy state, Hitler supported a Jewish homeland in the land of Palestine, in a Transjordan under British control. It wasn’t until after Hitler’s death that the idea of actually turning Israel into a democratic state, in the modern sense, was floated around as a realistic proposal, so it is unknown whether he would have supported the Jewish state as it is today.
            There is also a theory out there, that Hitler’s father was an illegitimate child of a member of the infamous, Jewish, Rothschild banking family of Europe. The Rothschilds are descended from the Khazarian people of southern Russia, whom were not genetically related to the Judean or Samarian people, but converted to Judaism because it was strategic, in terms of military strategy, economics, and geo-politics.
Some claim that the Khazars are a “thirteenth tribe” of Judaism, which has used the Jewish holy book the Talmud – as well as scriptural interpretation in general – as a means to subvert the oral tradition of Judaism (whose adherents include the ultra-Orthodox fringe group Neturei Karta, whom have been ostracized by even other ultra-Orthodox Jews, for criticizing the religious justification for the existence of the state of Israel). If Hitler was of Rothschild lineage, then that would be a good explanation for why Orthodox rabbis were among those first targeted in anti-Jewish Nazi pogroms.
As many as 150,000 German Jews supported Hitler. The Nazis had the Jewish Ghetto Police, or Jewish Police Service, which were unarmed police officers who patrolled German ghettos. Also, there were prominent Jewish Nazis, including Dietrich Eckhart, Hans Frank, Alfred Rosenberg. Additionally, there was Adolf Eichmann, who was 100% ethnically Jewish, although he did not identify himself as such. Eichmann once said, “Had I been a Jew, I would have been a fanatical Zionist.”
In an odd bit of synchronicity, as recently as 2007, Vice President Joe Biden has said, “If I were a Jew, I’d be a Zionist.” Obama has appointed at least 65 Zionist Jews to posts in his administration, and to federal reserve boards around the country, and there are another 40 or so in Congress. In fact, Obama’s appointment of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court has resulted in the court becoming two-thirds Catholic and one-third Jewish.
As of 2011, Jews were 350% overrepresented in the House, 500% overrepresented in the Senate, and 1400% overrepresented on the Supreme Court. In terms of foreign policy, all current signs point to the Obama Administration caving into Israeli pressure on the U.S. to back off from its push for a freeze on new Israeli settlements in peace negotiations with Palestine. Critics of Israel often compare the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli government to the Nazis, for the way they have turned the West Bank into an archipelago of communities separated from one another. The Gaza Strip is often referred to as a “concentration camp”.

18. Conclusion

            Following the massacre in Tucson, Arizona in January 2011, many politicians and pundits said that both sides of the political spectrum should tone down their rhetoric.
A lot of people think it’s inappropriate for people to compare President Obama – or anybody else, for that matter – to socialists, Communists, and to Nazis. However, what I am about to say is something that I believe very strongly; something I think is crucial to maintaining the freedom of speech, and to upholding the First Amendment.
If you take away our right to compare political figures to Hitler, then the next Hitler is going to be able to march right into the White House without anybody being able to say a damn thing about it.

19. Afterword (Written in February 2016)

            See Donald Trump.

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