It was not unusual for an individual to snitch on his neighbor(s) who was arrested promptly and then may have had a show trial or immediately sent to prison. The warped sense of “patriot duty” on the part of snitches contributed to the increasing paranoia of Soviet citizens for decades.
Instead of creating a utopian paradise based on collectivist principles outlined in The Communist Manifesto the Soviet Union’s policies were responsible for unconscionable famines and widespread poverty. The experiment in communism ended without a shot being fired and the peaceful secession of its many republics. The breakup of the “evil empire” was preceded by the liberation of Eastern Europe beginning with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in late 1989.
America, which once was a relatively free country—no federal income tax, no estate tax, no central bank and a dollar as good as gold, no federal welfare programs, and general protection of our civil liberties--has been transformed step by step into a welfare-warfare state beginning in 1913.
Under both Democratic and Republican presidents the “road to serfdom” has accelerated in the past half century. Ironically, “the land of the free” has implemented several planks of Karl Marx’s vision for a communist society, and the incoming Biden/Harris administration is poised to increase statism/collectivism markedly in the next four years.
That’s the bad news. The really good news is that entrepreneurship is alive and well and our relatively free economy produces an abundance of goods and services for the general population. Gasoline is cheap, the store shelves are generally full, but government intervention has caused distortions—and high prices--in medical care, housing, college education and other key sectors of our economy.
The evidence that the US has been embracing collectivist principles is clear and unequivocal. In February 1913 the Secretary of State certified the Sixteenth Amendment, permanently imposing an income tax, which is outlined in plank 2 the Manifesto, “A Heavy Progressive or Graduated Income Tax.”
With only 2% of the population paying the first income tax, no wonder it was a generally popular measure. Let the rich pay their fair share!
Next on the statist agenda, the signing of the Federal Reserve Act in December 1913, which fulfilled plank 5, “Centralization of Credit in the Hands of the State, by Means of a National Bank with State Capital and an Exclusive Monopoly.”
The US dollar has lost more than 95% of its value because of the Federal Reserve’s unceasing creation of fiat money, and financial bubbles have become more commonplace with back-to-back dot com and housing bubbles.
Currently, we are in the ”everything bubble” that will undoubtedly burst, because the Federal Reserve created three trillion dollars to boost the economy in 2020 as pandemic lockdowns imploded employment and production.
Other statist polices include Social Security (1935), Medicare and Medicaid (1965), cabinet departments of energy and education (1978), the Patriot Act (2001), and Obamacare (2010). One of the statists’ goal is to make the American people dependent on the federal government for basic needs—retirement income, medical care, and with subsidized food and housing.
In addition, the federal government must regulate key sectors of the economy, a form of command and control with nominal private ownership of the means of production, many times at the urging of big business to crush competition. And a surveillance state was created to combat “terrorism.”
What therefore is America’s future as Joe Biden begins his presidency two weeks after the storming of the Capitol?
There are calls to expand the no fly list, social media has begun to ban individuals beginning with Donald Trump, big tech has squashed Parler for the time being as an alternative to Twitter, there are calls to blacklist Trump officials after they leave the administration, increase surveillance of dissidents, restrict gun ownership, and use the public schools to push a left wing agenda.
In addition, universal basic income, wealth taxes, higher minimum wages, and other interventionist policies that will expand the reach of the federal government into every corner of our lives are “on the table.”
Below are all the ten planks of The Communist Manifesto. Public schools (plank 10) at one time provided quality education when teachers focused on subject matter—history, mathematics, science, literature, etc. For several decades schools have become propaganda venues for leftist dogma.
Higher education too has become infected with the virus of groupthink and critical race theory among other contentious beliefs.
- Abolition of Property in Land and Application of all Rents of Land to Public Purpose.
- A Heavy Progressive or Graduated Income Tax.
- Abolition of All Rights of Inheritance.
- Confiscation of the Property of All Emigrants and Rebels.
- Centralization of Credit in the Hands of the State, by Means of a National Bank with State Capital and an Exclusive Monopoly.
- Centralization of the Means of Communication and Transport in the Hands of the State.
- Extension of Factories and Instruments of Production Owned by the State, the Bringing Into Cultivation of Waste Lands, and the Improvement of the Soil Generally in Accordance with a Common Plan.
- Equal Liability of All to Labor. Establishment of Industrial Armies, Especially for Agriculture.
- Combination of Agriculture with Manufacturing Industries; Gradual Abolition of the Distinction Between Town and Country by a More Equable Distribution of the Population over the Country.
- Free Education for All Children in Public Schools. Abolition of Children's Factory Labor in its Present Form. Combination of Education with Industrial Production.
If America becomes a full-blown collectivist—that is, an authoritarian-- society, the people will have no one to blame but themselves, because they elected statist politicians.
Sabrin's forthcoming book is Universal Medical Care from Conception to End of Life: The Case for a Single Payer System. The single payer is the individual.
Dr. Murray Sabrin retired on July 1 2020, completing a 35 year teaching career as professor of finance at the Anisfield School of Business at Ramapo College of New Jersey. He has a Ph.D. in economic geography from Rutgers University, an M.A. in social studies education from Lehman College and a B.A. in history, geography and social studies education from Hunter College.
Sabrin has worked in commercial real estate sales and marketing, personal portfolio management, and economic research.
Sabrin’s articles have appeared in The Record (Hackensack, NJ), The Star Ledger, Trenton Times, the Asbury Park Press, and NJBIZ. His essays have also appeared in Commerce Magazine, Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business, and Privatization Review, and www.lewrockwell.com. He is the author of Tax Free 2000: The Rebirth of American Liberty. Sabrin is the author of Why The Federal Reserve Sucks: It Causes Inflation, Recessions, Bubbles and Enriches the One Percent and is completing a book on how to create a single payer health care system, which puts individuals in charge of their medical care.