Tag Archives: socialism

Pathway To A Better State–V–Immigration

It is with a heavy heart that both Left and Right don’t truly have a deep-seated pride in their nation anymore.  Both believe that the US is heading in the wrong direction for completely different reasons.  It is right and natural that a citizen should be extremely proud of their country and want to feel they are part of a team working together for a generally agreed upon goal.  We desperately want to have a swelling pride within our breast when we listen to the refrains from America The
Beautiful but so many feel the country they want to love is becoming something they distrust and even revile.  It will be better when both elements can have their own sovereignty and they each can have that desired and admirable pride in their new and separate US.   One of the many contentious issues that divide the Left and Right is the question of immigration and very different views on the path forward to admission of new immigrants.

The Left going back to the 1960’s have had a deliberate and steady policy of loose immigration policy heavily favoring certain segments of the world at the expense of European immigration.  Until then our policy and simple historical, economic and cultural matters propelled the overwhelming majority of the immigrants to the US to be of European origin.  The Left had a harder time recruiting them to their cause when they came here.  They knew as any rational man would that if they allowed more immigrants of perceived minorities and from Socialist or Socialist leaning nations that those new immigrants would much more likely become new members of the Left or Democratic Party.  They overhauled the immigration laws to drastically reduce European peoples and favored heavily immigrants from South American, the Philippines, certain other Oriental countries, Africa and the Caribbean and the Near and Middle East.   They were right.  Those new immigrants did move to the Left as they became citizens and they continue to do so to this day.  The left wanted and got a very lax enforcement policy regarding border security because they would allow even more immigrants to migrate to the US and eventually receive citizenship.  After the Constitutional Convention and the reorganization of the US into two equal and sovereign entities each will be able to pursue their own vision of new immigration policy.

In the new Coastal America it would be the knee-jerk reaction that the immigration policy would be quite liberal and allow generously new immigrants and citizens.  Many would suspect that they would continue the current policy of favoring Third World countries or emerging markets.  Now many of them advocate granting citizenship wholesale even to those who violated US law in coming to the US.  It could well be true that the Left would adopt such a policy but on reflection it might be a bit different from that.  The unions form a strong and influential portion of the Left and advance the Liberal agenda.  It is an important cog in that political movement and would certainly continue to be after the grand division.  The unions are very leery to allow too many new immigrants entry because it would have a negative effect on wages of their members and their job security both of which are dominant issues in their movement.  Of course there is also the fact that after the division the Left will have “won”.  They can take their Socialist or psuedo-socialist agenda as far as they want without interference from the Right.  They can design their society through social engineering and tax policy as they wish.  They won’t be needing new voters to swell their ranks anymore.   They will have their majority for generations.

The Left likes to look to the European model for a goodly portion of its agenda and direction because it is progressive and Socialist to a greater or less degree.   A dispassionate view of Europe today would reveal that they have restrictive immigration policies; they do not have  open borders and immigrants face steep hurdles to becoming full citizens with the right to vote.   Coastal America will have no need for new progressive voters.   The significant majority of Coastal America will already be of one political vision and direction.  There are many on the Left that believe that population growth is a problem or outright evil because it leads to environmental damage and human suffering.   They will have their choices to make.

Middle America will revise its immigration policy most likely in a more restrictive manner.  It is most likely that the driving thrust of that policy will be to admit new immigrants based on merit or economic need of Middle America.  The policy will not be driven by ethnicity or perceived Third World status.   The result will be that more Europeans will likely be admitted along with substantial Oriental influx.   There would be an efficient and flexible guest worker program as they have today in Germany and other European nations.  These special visas would be granted liberally to those who bring “value” to Middle America.  The guest workers would be mostly from South America and Mexico.  That is simply a recognition of social and geographic reality.  Those immigrating with citizenship in mind will be mostly from Europe.  Not because of race but because of education and special abilities and capital to invest in American enterprises.

It is likely in a generation or so Coastal America would grow in population much more rapidly than Middle America but that trend might not last as Coastal America comes to grips with its identity and internal disputes with the entrenched interests of the unions and their power base.  They will have met all their diversity goals and economics will prevail at some point.  Middle America will grow but in a more even manner and become more homogeneous, not ethnically, but in cultural outlook and appreciation.

The great advantage of the separate nations is that each can pursue it own dream for its society through immigration policy.  They can amend  and emend as they wish without the discord of dealing with the other side.  The current disputes and disharmony we face over immigration policy would be gone.  Both Americas would be happy with its p0licy.  The best policy is what makes most of the citizens of each America content as opposed to the distrust and conflict we face as one polarized nation today on the issue.    Let each follow their own drummer.

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The Razor’s Edge

With the upcoming mid-term elections looming on the horizon and the talk about it being the “most important election” of our lives it is good on occasion to reflect on some of the other moments in history that are not that long ago to have a proper perspective on our own day and times.  Times are difficult now here and around the world.  There are the obvious financial problems at home and abroad with few jobs and an economy that limps along at best.  Then there are the conflicts with real bullets flying in Afghanistan and Iraq.  There is the additional threats from Iran and North Korea.  The atmosphere is tense and apprehension is in the air.  Many think that times couldn’t be any worse.  Yes, they can.

Only a couple of generations ago in the fall of 1939 the War had just started in Europe.  What was even worse about it was that the Commies had joined with Hitler in the invasion of Poland which was the immediate cause of the War.  The fact that Stalin did that is almost universally overlooked these days in the classrooms.   Between them they carved up Poland entirely.  England and France declared war on Germany due to the invasion but held back on the declaration against the Commies.  They were concerned about the ability to fight both powers at the same time.  A legitimate concern but the diplomatic airwaves were busy.  The West wanted the Commies to renounce their association with Hitler and withdraw.  To compound and confound matters even worse the Commies then invaded Finland that fall.  Stalin had an appetite for conquest second to none.  He intended to take the entire world at least Hitler had limits to his ambitions geographically at that time.   The quick victory expected over the Finns was thwarted however by the stout and stalwart defense and fight offered by the Finns.  The Soviets had expected a walkover and quick surrender but what they got was a bloody nose and for a few months a stalemate along the border.  The Finns weren’t the Norwegians or the French.  They wouldn’t be rolled over.

At home the Great Depression was still in full force.  Yes, there had been some slight improvement due to gearing up for the expected war and the munitions industries here.  But the new jobs were paltry compared to the need.  Most people were dirt poor still in 1939.  Ask your grandparents or great grandparents about that time.  You don’t have to take my word for it.   Our military was miniscule at that time.  The Army only had a little over 100,000 men and the Navy was mostly using ships that had been built during WWI.

There was a very strong move by many to declare war on the Soviets in England and France.  We cautioned to take care and use diplomacy even while the guns were firing and the people were dying.  It was a futile foreign policy then just as any appeasement efforts are today.  The Finns were completely innocent of any wrong doing.  There had been a border dispute for generations with Russia but the Finns were going to invade Russia!  That excuse was all the Soviets needed.  That war was purely for conquest and the expansion of the communist system.  The Soviets could envision the expansion of their communist doctrine right across the Nordic region once they had Finland.  Sweden and Norway would be next up.  Their only concern would be with the ally the Germans.

During the winter of ’39 and ’40 there were few options available to the British to attack and fight back against the Germans.  This was during the period when the “Phony War” prevailed in the West.  The Germans weren’t ready to attack yet and the French as always weren’t eager or stalwart enough for any fight.   Churchill was the First Lord of the Admiralty during this time.  He was not yet Prime Minister that did not occur until May of 1940.  He pushed for some action against the Germans and the only place they could agree upon with the French was in Norway.  But the rub was that the Soviets were now so close since their war and conquest of Finland was afoot. 

The diplomatic heat went up.  Even the liberals and Soviet sympathizers in Britain had a hard time justifying the actions of Stalin.  Finland was calling on the West for help.  Morality and decency were on the side of the Finns and everyone knew it.  An invasion of Norway was planned to thwart this effort by the Soviets and to deny the ports and raw materials to the Germans.  The troops were embarked and the demands on the Soviets were becoming more pronounced for a withdrawal in the winter of 1940.  The Finns then had to surrender.  The Soviet takeover was a fait accompli.  Stalin allowed as how that was the end of his territorial ambitions.  Those words were hollow and false but the West was eager to pretend they were sincere.  The invasion went forward against only the Germans.  The declaration of war against the Soviets was avoided but only by a knife’s edge.  A few more days and the West very likely would have been at war with the Commies and Hitler at the same time. 

Of course some 18 months later when Hitler invaded Russia we came to be allies with Stalin.  He was a bad bedfellow.  The worst we ever were tied to by far.  If you think some of the leaders in Iraq or Afghanistan stink or are venal then they are angels in comparison to Stalin. 

That was truly a dark time.  The daily apprehension and fear of most people was real.  There were no jobs, no money and the world was marching to war before their eyes.  Except for Britain there were no decent guys around.  Some even demonized Britain because of their colonial empire.  But they played by the rules of the game and the rule of law, not the law of the gun.   Our concerns and worries are legitimate and real at this time due to the direction of our current leadership but we’ve survived much worse.  Use the ballot to avoid the bullets.

“In war, Resolution; in defeat, Defiance; in victory, magnanimity”  W. Churchill  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Is the Stock Market a Washington Concern?

The bailouts, stimulus bills, bloated budgets and exponential expansion of Government that we see evolving everyday recently raises questions about the viability of Wall Street and the stock market.  The market continues its plunge with no let up in sight.  It has sunk below its recent lows and may be headed toward 5000 on the DJ index.   The government is taking over the auto industry, at least that part that is owned by Americans, and has effectively nationalized a few of the larger banks already and likely will be taking over even more in the near future.  AIG is an insurance company that is now owned by the Government.  The Feds own 80% already and today’s news is that the ownership position will increase in a matter of days.   As the Government increases its ownership of the assets of the industrial and financial base of our economy the power, influence and independence of Wall Street and the Stock Market come more and more into question.

It has to be remembered that the Government now owns Fannie and Freddie effectively and that between them they control over 50% of the mortgages outstanding in the country.  The Government already holds a grip on the transportation industry through regulation and the upcoming cap and trade of carbon emissions will greatly enhance the power of Government to control the commercial activities of virtually every commercial or even industrial enterprise in the country.  The just announced budget makes clear the direction the Government is taking with regard to dominance and control of our economy.  Even in the areas where the Government doesn’t take a direct ownership position like it has already in some of the banks, auto, insurance and mortgage business it can control the business practices and procedures of virutally every business in the nation through tax provisions and regulation.  The oil and gas industry is already very heavily regulated and has been for decades.  More regulation is coming there in this vital industry in the name of fighting global warming and pursuing so- called green energy. 

Do you have any doubt in your mind that the next major airline that gets in serious financial trouble will come under the control of the Government just like the Big Three have already?  It will happen if our current course is followed, sure as night follows day.   Mining will not be far behind.  No matter how hard the push to switch to the alternative energy sources may be it will be decades at least before we get there.  The fact is coal still provides about half of all our electricity power.  The cap and trade policy will make the costs of power soar in the near future.  The new restrictions on carbon emissions and thus the new engineering methodes required will be very expensive and someone will have to pay.  As the cost accelerates for the c0nsumer there will be a hue and cry for something to be done and our good friends in Washington will gladly step into the fray.  The position will be that the Government doesn’t need to make a profit on electric production and electricity is necessary to the general welfare of the citizenry and therefore the Government will take over.   The owners won’t be able to make a profit because the regulators will not let them raise rates enough to cover the new engineering and construction costs required under cap and trade.   Nanny Government will come to the rescue again of the middle class and the needy.  That will be the spin.   Everyone  will pay more for electric power through other tax provisions and methods, especially the  “rich” and the consumers rate will be kept lower on the backs of everyone, not just those who use coal power for electricity.   We will get the usual Government efficiency we all have come to love like with the IRS or Social Security.  Who cares if the industry is subsidized by all of us, we all own it and we will be making the world a cleaner and cooler place.   Of course the entire medical field and medical insurance will be either owned outright by the Government or regulated so highly that you couldn’t tell the difference between ownership or not.  Those important industries will be “run” by the Goverment.  The budget makes that clear.  The Government will pay for your medical care, assign you the doctor and hospital and regrettably guide and direct future research and development of new drugs and medical procedures.  That is a huge portion of our economy and certainly an intrusion into some of our most private and personal decisions.

We are heading in a socialist direction.  There is no real argument about that.  The left is still avoiding that term and even the term “liberal” and using the term of art for the moment which is “progressive”.  But when the Government either directly owns or controls major aspects of our commercial and industrial base, it is socialism.  You can argue about degree or methods but the direction and end result can’t be denied.  As the Government takes over more and more of that base it cares less and less about the Stock Market.  We are beginning to see the first hints of that attitude now.  The current administration is obilivious to what it happening on Wall Street.  It is an indifference.  I rather suspect they enjoy seeing the market crater and additional industries fold and become part of the walking wounded.  That is just so many more easy fruits on the tree ripe for the picking.  The reach of Governmet now is huge.   It is not retreating and the budget just submitted calls for even more expansion and an increase in the pace of that expansion.  The “real” economy, that is non government workers, is about 85% now but that number will dramatically decline over the next decade if the proposals on the table and the budget become law.   The Governmet will own most of our wealth and control what it doesn’t own outright through taxes and regulation.  That may be the world you want but it is not my vision of America.  Some will be delighted.  Especially th0se eltites who get to control the destiny of millions with the stroke of a bureacratic pen.   Agreee or disagree but give the matter thought.  Size does matter in some things.  It matters a great deal when evalutating the relationship between Government and the liberties and freedom of its people.  We ultimately get the Government we deserve.  I hope we deserve better.

If you give me six sentences written by the most innocent of men, I will find something in them with which to hang them.  Cardinal Richelieu, advisor to Louis the XIV.   That is the kind of attitude the KGB took under Stalin.

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Mercantilism Modernized?

The direction our Government is taking toward the current economic difficulties brings to mind the intervention of European governments a few centuries ago.  Just today it is announced that another of our largest banks is being granted further aid by the Feds at the costs of billions.  Along the way the Government will also now become the single largest shareholder of the Bank of America.   The Government is getting very involved in the operation of that bank and that has been made even more abundantly clear by the statements of the administration to be and the members of Congress.  They have stated that they will mandate the loans they expect the bank to make.   They haven’t gone so far yet as to say the exact name of an entity or person they expect to get a loan but will that be far behind?   Would you be surprised if in the next couple of months the government told B of A that it had to make loans to the Big Three in Detroit?   The politicians could really rack up points with that gambit.  They would be mollifing the unions (their most consistent constituent base), saving all those jobs they talk about, controlling the auto industry with their own vision of what that industry should be and produce, and along the way they wouldn’t even have to put the money advanced on the Government’s books.   The loan would technically be private and therefore the Feds could say the loans were not a “bailout” and that it wasn’t costing the taxpayers a dime.   After all the bank will be theirs to do with as they please and direct.  If I can think of this you can be assured those now in power will think of it too.

From the 16th century to well into the 18th century the concept of mercantilism was the dominant economic philosophy of many European nations.  The US didn’t really have an economic philosophy of our own yet because we were colonies of the Mother Country for most of that era and we were so small on the world trade scene as to not matter in any event.  Gold and silver were the standard of wealth at that time and trade was the key to market success and the accmulation of gold stocks.   It was the hope for increased trade that inspired all the trips during the age of discovery.  Columbus was sailing west not only for the adventure of it all but seeking a more beneficial and faster trade route to the East.  As were all those other early explorers–Diaz, da Gama, Drake, etc.   The basic idea was to have more exports to other countries (or colonies) and to import cheap raw materials and luxury goods such as pepper and other spices.   England was a democracy but it was limited and restricted to only the upper classes.   The government in charge was basically the Crown and those in Parliament who controlled the power of the purse.   But the Government or (Crown) had one great advantage, it could grant rights to explore and settle and trade in the nether reaches of the world.  This lead to the British East India Company for example.   The Crown would be given a slice of the profits in exchange for the grant of rights to a company or individual.  Recall your history of the early colonies in the US.   They were created by grants from the Crown.  The people who got those grants owed the Crown.  The same was true all around the world.   The Government did not directly control the operation of the business of these traders and merchants as they explored and opened up the markets around the world but it had tremendous influence because of its power to regulate and tax.   The companies were dependent on the Government for their very existence and beholding to them for the right to earn future profits.  Government bureaucrats had great power due to their right to grant contracts or rights to these companies.  It was believed that bringing in the trade was for the common good of all classes.  It wasn’t socialism exactly and it wasn’t a nazi approach but it was the Government exercising great control over the affairs of commerce.  It worked; that is it functioned.   It didn’t provide the spread of wealth to all the people as promised.  It did collect power into the hands of the elite and the “connected”.    It was an opague way of operating.  There was never any formal debate about the advantages or disadvantages of the system.  There were no statutes directly outlining this method of operation.  It evolved.   If you had the right connection or influence you could prosper and if not then you were not allowed into the party.  It was shadowy but real.  Favoritism and cronyism were the hall marks.   There were many failures and bungles along the way i.e, the South Sea Bubble.  (and you thought “bubbles” were something new?)  It did provide a certain stability for sure, but so did Joe Stalin in Russia.

It occurs to me we might be embarking on another age of Mercantilism in disguise and with an overlayer of socialism to demand even more overt control of commerce and industry and  individual lives.   I think that would be the worst of both worlds and a real loss of our freedoms.   It won’t be the Crown making decisions about winners and losers in the world of trade and commerce but a Government bureaucrat who can dispense waivers, grants and contracts that comply with Government policy.  That policy will be set by the lowest common denominator in our Congress.  At least under the original mercantilism the decisions were made by the best and brightest even if it was to their own advantage.  

As always I don’t ask you to agree without thought or facts.   There are many wonderful books on the period–good biographies and histories.  I would recommend you consider the diary of Samual Pepys.  It is a fascinating look at the early days of this period.  He was mid level official with the Admiralty and accordingly had the power to dispense contracts and favors and thus he met and mingled with people that were really above his station but they all were nice because of his bureaucratic power.  It is a great insight into the English world just after the Restoration of Charles II.  He writes of the Great Fire and the plague of the 1660’s.  Those accounts alone are worth the reading.

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Mad Scientists To Run Economy

We have embarked upon a dangerous road of Government intervention into the private market place in the last few months.   The scope and scale of that intervention is staggering.   The Government seems to believe it can run the market and pick the new products we all want.  It has been picking winners and losers for several months now since it let Lehman Bros. fail but conversely decided it wouldn’t allow the Big Three to fail even though their business model is a failure and has been for a few decades now.  The Government is picking the type and source of our energy supplies.  Abundant energy is the very lifeblood of any modern industrial and technological society.   Virtually everything we make or use is available directly or indirectly because of an energy source that produced it or delievered it to us or moved the workers who made it to and from their place of work and ran the machines they use.   Even computers are energy dependent.    With the lineup of industries and special interest groups growing daily with their hand out for the Governement and the apparent eagerness of the Government to comply with those requests we need to ponder carefully how much we want the Government to be involved in our economic affairs.  

I wrote only yesterday that we should look to Europe to see what our future will be in so many vital areas because it has been the birthing place of most societal and economic alterations over the years.   The Government is now running the large banks, the auto industry and very shortly the energy industry to an even greater extent than it already does.  Airlines, coal and even real estate loom on the horizon as potential targets of Government intervention.   Great Britain went through a similar experience and experiment after the War.   Perhaps that episode can give us some clue as to the success or failure of having the Government be the lead horse in all matters economic.  

After the War Great Britain was in dire financial straits from the strains and pains of six years of war.   You know we formulated the Marshall Plan  to rejuvenate the European  Economy.   Part of that process was providing capital to Great Britain to get its domestic economy moving again.   Socialist tendancies were all the rage among the elite class in Britain at the time.  They wanted an active and involved Government in the affairs of industry and commerce for the good of the common man.  It even had a name like all such movements do–the New Jerusalem.  I don’t know why that was picked exactly but that was the movement’s moniker.    The shibboleth of the movement was “full employment” and that meant to them that the Government had to run most of industry.   When Britain did receive its share of the aid it spent it on the Welfare State rather than on giving it to private industry to rebuild its industrial infrastructure.  It was a redistribution of the wealth controlled by the Government.  That is where most of the money went.   The Government proceeded to take over coal mines, radio and media, the Bank of England, gas, railways, electricity, steel and aviation among other industries.  The unions were given pretty much free rein.   The unions naturally wanted more wages for less work and the consequence was the inevitable reduction in productivity.  That constant decline in productivity resulted in Britain becoming less and less competitive in the commercial and industrial world with its products and services.  This approach lasted for a about 30 years.  But the Welfare State flourished.  Time was when Britain had some of the best car manufacturers in the world.  Jaguar, Astin-Martin, Rover, Bentley to name a few.   How many are owned now by British interests?   None of them.   While the British were investing only about 9% of its GNP in industry and infrastructure the Germans were investing on average about 19% of their GNP in those areas.  Which country had the better rebound from the end of the War until 1980?

Naturally the Government could not predict new markets with any accuracy like the private market.  They were not innovative.  Job security was the goal in and of itself as opposed to customer service and making a product that people wanted.  All of those industries became stagnant and declined in pr0duct quality and profits with the passing years and became a burden on the taxpayers of Britain.  They had to be subsidized by the Government.   To maintain their enterprises and the Welfare State  the Government had to borrow money to keep those industries in operation.   They borrowed lots money by issuing long term bonds.  This circumstance lasted for a couple of decades but no one was willing to make a change because so many voters were now addicted to the Welfare State operation.   Those bonds had to be paid off by future taxpayers of Britain.  They were mostly issued by Attlee.  Those bonds were not finally retired until 2002.   Of course with inflated currency. 

How did that experiment work out for Britain?  Well, their industries continued a steady decline and even the staunchest defenders of the Welfare State finally began to see that that system couldn’t continue or the entire nation would go bankrupt.   It was put to rest with the election of Thatcher primarily.  The Government began under her to get out of industry and return it to the private markets.  Britain has done much, much better in the last 25 years than it did in the 25 years after the War.   Its industry was revitalized and  productivity and prosperity grew for all classes of its people.   Government makes a lousy boss and an even lousier merchant or entrepreneur.   I don’t ask you to take my word for any of this.  You can do your own reading of that period.  But like Reagan said “facts are a stubborn thing”.  

I hope that many members of Congress and that new administration will look not only to our experiences of the Great Depression but also review some of the history I have rendered here.   Looks to me like we are about to repeat that grand mistake of the Brits.  History can be a wonderful teacher but you have to know it to learn anything.

As a side note, it was because of those loans we made to Britain at the end of the War that made them go along with the Bretton Woods agreements to regularize monetary systems around the world and create the IMF.  The British negotiator for the first of these loans for the British was none other than John Maynard Keynes.  Yes, that Keynes.   He didn’t much like us Americans.   He thought we were socially degenerate and not as aware and advanced as the socialist leaning elite of Britain.  He is quoted by Lady Carter as referring to Americans as “a rare breed of sub dagos, speaking no known language intelligently”.

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Soviets compared to Nazis–part II

I must add a footnote to yesterday’s comments about the Commies.  It was everyone’s paradise because you didn’t have to pay taxes.  There was no income tax, property tax, sales tax or estate tax under their system.  The Governmnet paid you what it thought you deserved.  It already had all the money, the property, the goods and controlled the services.   There were no estate taxes because you didn’t own anything to pass along to your heirs.  They had no federal system as we understand it because everything was centrally planned and controlled from Moscow; thus the only need for local control was administrators to carry out the directives from Moscow. 

Now the Nazis were not so much into controlling by state law as they were old fashioned bullies.  They were called socialist but the state didn’t take over all private enterprise like the Soviets.   Mom and pop operations continued throughout their reign along with large industries.  Unions existed but were dominated by the Nazis and their thugs to maintain compliance.   A steel mill was still privately owned and it operated for a profit for its owners and it mostly  paid wages that it negotiated with its workers.  But if the Nazis thought they needed more of a specific product they would order it done and the owners would comply or face the consequences.   The same held true throughout their economy.   Mostly they would coerce compliance with the contract and the profit it would bring, but there always lurked in the background a late night visit from the SA to persuade any reluctant parties.   They used extreme versions of the carrot and stick approach to run their society.

You could travel throughout Germany pretty much anywhere and anytime you had the fare to travel.  This was more restricted at the very end of the war due to military use of all facilities including transportation.   You could move from one part of the country to another and attend the school of your choice.  The churches were not closed.  The Nazi big wigs were all anti religion to a degree, but there was no blanket prohibition against religious worship.  You were just considered primitive for religious beliefs and not “modern”.  The German army had chaplains in  it and the Nazis even entered into a Concordat with the Vatican.   After the Nazis got control of the Government it wasn’t long before opposition parties were squashed not be law but by intimidation.  Then they used the old argument about the national emergency of the war to totally eliminate opposition.  

The German society remained pretty much as it had before the Nazis took power with the huge exception that if you ran afoul of the wrong individuals or party organizations you could be taken away in a heart beat.  The Germans, including even Hitler were sensitive to public opinion and tried to keep their thuggery to as low a minimum as possible till after the assassination attempt on Hitler in July  of ’44.   Rest assured Stalin never gave a thought to public opionion.  Germany didn’t even go on a full war time prodcution economy until the third year of the war because they worried about waning public support for the war.  They were like the Mafia it was “just business”.  Their violence and intimidation was random and deadly for those who got caught up in the net of that regime.   Jews, Gypsys and other banned groups like the Communists were systematically destroyed.   If you said the right things, associated with the right people and went along to get along, you didn’t have to worry about much except the end of the world as you knew it because of the war.   At the height of the Nazi influence in the late ’30’s the Nazis let their thugs loose on a rampage known as the Crystal Night when they smashed, burned and looted many Jewish stores and businesses across several German towns.   A fiendish thing to do.   Strange though that the German insurance companies would not buckle into the pressure from the Nazis.  Goebbels went nuts because the Insurance companies intended to pay off on claims by the Jews.  He put real pressure on them and made the usual implied threats but to no avail.  The insurance companies did pay the Jews with claims.  It was a real Alice in Wonderland existence in Nazi Germany never knowing when some danger would strike.  They were evil.  They wanted total control of everything, the economy, the armed forces, education and all social institutions but not through the same type of system as the Soviets.   It wasn’t really the Government as such that did the bad things as it was the thugs the Nazis utilized for their damnable dirty work.

The fact that the two systems were very different is best illustrated by the actual words of the leaders of the Soviets and Nazis themselves.    They were the bitterest of enemies.  Each hated  the other system and those operating the systems.   The record is there for you to read yourself and make your own conclusions.  You should read about both.   They both existed within the last two generations.  That is the blink of an eye historically.  You can learn much about what can go wrong with a society that allows either system to gain a foothold anywhere.   Remember that these were not knuckle dragging cave men who succombed to these two systems but sophisticated Europeans.   To me the overriding lesson is allowing too much power to ever be accumulated in any central government.  Soon it will come to believe it is the source of power, not the people it is supposed to serve.  One of our best governmental strengths here in the good old USA is our Federalist system and its diversion of power and the dilution of power.  

Read the letters of William Travis from the Alamo.  They are quite remarkable documents when you consider the circumstances under which they were written.  I believe I would have whined and  carped about what I raw deal I had and why in hell wasn’t someone coming now to help me.  He managed the noble.  A good example for us all.

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