Friday, June 4, 2010

Go to Cuba, Mr. Gochez

As a Tea Party protester, I've come to the protests because of many years of study of such subjects as economics, history and philosophy. Since I was a young man, I considered it my responsibility to understand the world. My goal was to find truth, to understand ideas, to be informed, and more importantly, to connect ideas to their real life consequences. I’ve studied philosophers, from Jesus to Augustine, to Aquinas, to Locke and with stops at Plato, Aristotle, Rand, Hegel, Hume and Kant to name a few. I’ve tried to understand the good from the evil, the practical from the impractical and the honest from the dishonest.

This is why, now as an older American, it pains me to hear the following words from a young American history teacher:

“I want to start by saying that the young man who spoke a little while ago is one of my students and I am so proud because I know our people have strong leaders for years and years to come. (Name of the organization) a revolutionary Mexican organization here, we understand what the (name) are saying, you’re right, this is not just about Mexico, this is about a global struggle against imperialism and capitalism but we know that all of that is happening in the context that where we now stand is stolen, occupied Mexico and the message that we bring is that we want to bring a little more of a revolutionary context to this. Why is it that these people, these shrill, racist white people want to keep us out of this country; it is not because simply the color of our skin; it’s not because they simply want to exploit us; let me tell you why. Because on this planet right now is six billion people at the forefront of the revolutionary movement is the Raza. We have a long history and example of our commandante, Fidel Castro Ruz, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, we have Brazil, Equador, you name it, we have nine, nine, left of center governments in Latin America right now and they know something that one young Argentine called Che Guevarra said, it’s called the domino theory, and he knew that every single country would go revolutionary, one after the other after the other after the other. So what do they fear? They know that every single country; they know that we no longer will fall to these lies called borders, we know that a Salvadorian, that a Guatemalan, a Nicaraguan and a Mexicano; there’s no damn difference, we are all one people, so with that in mind, we see ourselves, all of us here, as the northern front of a Latin American Revolutionary movement. There are more than 40 million of our people north of the Rio Grande. That means to them that’s 40 million potential revolutionaries north of the border inside the belly of the beast, so when you think about why they want to keep us of all people out, that’s why, because they know that we now know the truth, they know that we are now raza, we’re professionals, we’re educators, we are revolutionary students. What does that mean? We are not just a regular culture any more, we are a culture of revolutionary spirit, and that’s the fear. So with that being said, I want to leave you with this, as a revolutionary, and with revolutionary context, let’s be clear about one thing, our enemy is not the minutemen, quote me, our enemy is not the minutemen, because the minutemen are not the ones who have killed over 4,600 people at those borders, our enemy is the same enemy that Hugo Chavez has, our enemy is the same enemy that keeps Africa poor, our enemy is the same enemy that keeps Asia poor, our enemy is capitalism and imperialism. If we are serious about making change, if you are serious about making change, let me tell you, the struggle will go on for many more years after we leave U.C.L.A.. Reading a book or writing a book, or teaching a class, that is not part of the movement. What you do 24 hours a day as a professional revolutionary, that is what will lead our people to liberation.”

This short speech, which is a famous youTube video, represents many of the basic questions that I struggled with as a young man. During my later teens, a widely publicized movement sought to convince me that its view of the world was correct. This movement also preached revolution against capitalism and it saw America as an imperialist nation bent on subjugating the world. These people rioted against the Vietnam War; some of them threw bombs and sought violence; but I realized that they were communist agitators using the War as a way of harming our country and destroying our freedoms. Their descendents are now in power, and they continue to poison the minds of young people.

The teacher who spoke the above words is Ron Gochez. He is a history teacher at LA Unified School District. In another video shot by Fox News he declares openly his advocacy of socialist revolution but claimed that he did not favor violent revolution. With assurances, he informs us that he never lets his revolutionary ideas interfere with his mandate as a teacher. Yet, I seriously doubt this claim. If you watch the video you see a couple of young students at this protest.

I think it is more than hypocritical for a history teacher in our time to claim that he can be objective when his “private” beliefs betray a serious lack of objectivity, a misunderstanding of history and a bias against the very system that feeds him.

In fact, Mr. Gochez is doing serious damage to his students. Even during the speech quoted above, he takes pride in one of his students who had spoken before him, saying “that the young man who spoke a little while ago is one of my students and I am so proud because I know our people have strong leaders for years and years to come.”

The problem for radical communist-leaning agitators like Mr. Gochez is that most Americans are decidedly anti-communist and anti-revolutionary; so much so that, in many circles, radicals have had to “mainstream” their radicalism and mimic “liberal” ideas in order to stay viable. In fact, even today, if you advocate revolution against the American system, most Americans will not listen to you. Do Mr. Gochez’ students know that radical communists in their communities are pretending to be mainstream and that their real goal is not to better the lives and educations of young hispanic people but to indoctrinate them against capitalism?

Probably not, which means they also do not know that radicals have sought to create enclaves that support radical views in their neighborhoods. What this means is that radical communist leaders like Mr. Gochez want to positively dispose young people, not to the truth, but to radical ideas that destroy their ability to do commerce and prosper. By raising young people to be "professional" revolutionaries, these communist teachers are making young people poor, then pointing to the poverty as the fault of capitalism. This, I submit, is a travesty. Where are the parents of these children?

Sometimes when I travel abroad, I encounter people with anti-capitalist views. I also meet honest people who want to improve their societies but don’t know how to do it. My travels provide me with a unique opportunity to understand how the same principles at play in America operate in a different context.

Those with anti-capitalist views that I’ve encountered tend to look to government in order to survive. Many of them are very wealthy but also protected in guarded communities against the poverty that exists just a few blocks from them. They devise business schemes that will make them wealthy; then they turn to government to ensure they receive subsidies, seed money, special privileges and business contracts. They will talk about the history of their country, point to the poverty, the corruption of government officials and then angrily rant against capitalism without a clear statement of just how capitalism did it, much less what their definition of capitalism happens to be. Their hatred is so strong that if you tried to defend capitalism in their presence you would be considered an advocate of slavery and jack boot fascism.

Yet, they know nothing about economics. To them capitalism is not an economic system, it is everything corrupt that has ever happened in their society. I think this is how their thinking goes: Those people who succeed in life have to be aggressive and predatory in order to acquire riches. They have to control natural resources, buy government officials, create monopolies, use slave labor and create favorable laws. Since capitalism is about success at any cost, every corrupt act is capitalism. This view, based on the false idea that self-interest drives people to brutality and plunder, misses the point that capitalism is not a government, it is not a country operating according to mercantilist principles or manifest destiny; it is not a military junta or a family of oligarchs controlling the natural resources of a country. Capitalism is nothing more than freedom for every individual and that means every capitalist transaction is based on voluntary exchange. Any effort to control capitalism by governments is coercion against individual citizens, a violation of their individual rights and an effort to control the decisions that they would otherwise make on their own.

It is important to understand this because many young people, particularly in hispanic communities, have been fed a lie. They are told that capitalism is a system of exploitation where capitalists seek to make fortunes off of workers and consumers and that this process makes everyone but the captitalists poor. They are taught that the opposing principles at work today are force (capitalism) vs. liberty (socialism) which is a reversal of the actual opposing principles. They are taught that self-interest (capitalism) is inferior to self-sacrifice and charity (welfare statism). They are told that our government should fight selfish interests in order to protect the people, that the government should throttle these selfish interests, take their money and give it to the people. They tell young people that every enemy is a capitalist group such as doctors, drug companies, oil companies, bankers, financial professionals, etc. The good people, according to these lies are people like Hugo Chavez, who are supposedly out to destroy this system of self-interest and install a system based on the good of the people (democracy).

What they miss is that they are being duped by people who want to use the arguments above to gain power. Among those are revolutionaries, community organizers, labor unions, politicians and highly placed financial experts who are using their power to plunder the wealth created by the capitalists, not for the sake of the poor, but for the sake of power, not to make a better society, but to establish the principle of re-distribution on such a massive scale that they can launder money (unseen) straight into their own pockets.

The real division in most countries is between individuals (including honest business people) who are increasingly taxed and impoverished versus government officials and oligarchs who use the government (and anti-capitalist propaganda) in order to control the citizens. The real division is between capitalism and liberty versus tyranny and dictatorship. If you've swallowed the poison that people like Hugo Chavez are really on the side of the people, you are being duped by your teachers and fed a lie. What they've missed is that in order for government to do good for "the people" it should leave the people alone to solve their own problems not interfere in those problems. Our nation was founded on this principle.

Those who want to create a better society in many South American countries, the truly honest people, have no idea about what it would take to make things better and they feel helpless, even if they are in government. Why don’t they know how to make things better? They too believe that capitalism is the system that has created so much evil. They’ve been taught that the imperialism of capitalist nations has created their poverty. They’ve been taught that capitalism is corrupt and that self-interest is evil. They have no idea what they should support because anything that is proposed must also compromise with the oligarchs who control the government and natural resources. The last thing they want to support is capitalism because they might be killed by the revolutionaries in their neighborhoods; most likely these revolutionaries are people financed by Castro or Chavez.

I once had a discussion with a foreign journalist from a South American country. I pointed out that in reading about his country, the key question that seemed to perplex most intellectuals was how to balance the forces in society among government bureaucrats who were associated with corruption and the private industrial sector that was regulated by these bureaucrats. It was common to find a debate between government control and private business; about how to maintain a balance so corruption could not get in the way of progress and jobs for the poor. Government regulations and constraints were always seen as necessary in order to protect the people from capitalist corruption, yet the protectors were also corrupt. It seemed to me that all of the negatives in this society were caused by government but that no one had the courage to say so…for fear of his life or job. I told this person that this balancing act was going on even in the United States. I pointed out that it was an aspect of fascism and that he should try to understand the nature of this system if he wanted to understand what was happening in his country. In particular, I suggested Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand as good reading. He had never heard of these people but he told me he would look them up.

This particular society was within the geographic circle around Venezuela. He told me that many people in his country did not like Chavez but others loved him and wanted to turn their government into a copy of what Chavez was building in Venezuela. Remember that Ron Gochez above also praised Chavez. You have to ask yourself how much Chavez money is going into LA neighborhoods to help support the “pro-Chavez” hypocrisy.

Another discussion, with a Venezuelan business person, somehow got around to President Chavez. I listened for a few minutes while he told me about the great things Chavez was doing in Venezuela and how he supported everything. I responded that I disliked Chavez because he was a dictator, whereupon this very same person spent the next half hour describing in detail the horrors of Chavez' rule and how he was ruining the country. His emotion and anger gushed out of him like a flood and I could tell which was his real opinion. He thanked me for giving him an opportunity to express how he really felt about Chavez.

Anti-capitalist views around the world betray a major thinking error that philosopher Ayn Rand sought to address in her writing. Self-interest is considered so evil in our cultural context that anything done for the sake of it is worthy of ridicule and anger. In some countries this view against self-interest is virulent and many people have never discovered that it is deficient and harmful. Everywhere, the ideas of pride, rational thinking, reason, anything created by the individual mind, are considered the cause of bad results, so much so that few people today would dare to claim self-interest as a motive. Rather, they go out of their way to claim that everything they do is for others. The result in economic decline is visible in the lives and neighborhoods of these people. If you are raised to have no pride in your work, if you think that doing anything for your own sake is evil, how can you have the courage and the self-confidence necessary to be successful? I agree with Rand that the self is the basic unit of humanity and that all good proceeds from the individual mind, that rational self-interest does not involve harming others; in fact, the practice of harming others to obtain values is not in anyone’s self-interest.

The Founding Fathers, when they created our country, did something unique. For the first time in history, they declared that man had a right to the pursuit of happiness. This ensured that the government could not interfere in men’s lives. Though few would admit it, this idea was the spark that unleashed self-interest in our society and liberated men to offer in trade their best products in return for the best products of other men. This idea created a society that was not zero-sum, as most societies of the past were. The result was a convergence of millions of men each pursuing happiness, each living according to their self-interest and offering value for value. Contrary to the Marxist view, our system was a system of liberation because it respected the freedom of man to do as he wished and it did not allow men to exploit one another.

The result of our system was civility, a government of laws not of men, ever-improving products, new products, new ideas, economies of scale, cleaner, tastier food, lower prices and jobs, jobs, jobs. The entire society became elevated and everyone saw his life as always getting better. People were happier, cleaner, more self-confident, more opinionated, and like typical Americans, always smiling because life had a surprise behind every corner. As time went by, even the ability to go anywhere one wanted, at a rapid pace, make business deals over broader areas, create massive industries that improved infrastructure, cleaned the environment and helped people live longer lives became commonplace. This was America and it was great because of freedom. Marx never invented a better more successful idea.

Exploitation, which is the hallmark of dictatorship, became impossible in our country because the government was prohibited from interfering in the rights and decisions of the people. Societies like communism and fascism, such as that of Hugo Chavez, became obsolete…until Kant. Kant, who was becoming influential in Europe, began teaching that man could not understand reality, that he had no means for connecting to reality and that his only way of acting was to invoke an imperative to duty. Kant, and others like him, including Hegel, provided the foundation for Marx who preached that the best way to make people do their “duty” was to create a government that acted on behalf of the people; that would direct people about what to do for the sake of the whole. This was the anti-happiness society based on service to others and its basic premise was that the best should take care of the least. Only conflict, resentment and anger could be the result of such a system.

Using misapplied economic principles, Marx acknowledged the power of capitalism to create machines and abundance but wanted government to own and manage the machines. He denigrated capitalists because, presumably they acted only on the basis of what was good for them rather than for the worker or society. For communists, capitalism was wasteful and needed a good dose of economic planning so the needs of the people could be met rather than the lust of the capitalists. Marx preached an overthrow of the capitalist system in favor of the dictatorship of the proletariat. With Marx, every idea became its opposite, freedom became slavery, free speech became praising the leaders, voluntary action became joining the labor union, and free choice became doing as the national economic plan required. Morality became acquiesence and immorality became wanting anything for your own private desires; and finally, abundance and plenty became poverty in the form of products that no one wanted and scarcity of the things people wanted.

Marx wrongly saw economic transactions as zero-sum. In other words, when the capitalist made a trade, according to Marx, he gained and you lost. In this circumstance, it was thought, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. This idea, broadcast millions of times and taught to our children in schools, was a lie. Capitalism actually elevated everyone who participated because the products offered by capitalists actually made peoples’ lives better. And the decider on value was not a government bureaucrat but the individual who evaluated products based upon what was good for him as an individual. In capitalism everyone improved his/her life and poverty was eliminated for the vast majority.

Those influenced by Marx sought to undermine capitalism in order to take over the machines, under the false premise that government can take over the power of production, eliminate the capitalist, and create a new abundance based on what is good for ‘the people’ rather than the evil capitalist. According to this theory, government could become the de facto capitalist and institute collectivism without any damage to the system, without any harm to the principle of supply and demand, or the pricing system, or the banking system, or production, or the happiness of the people. To convince people that capitalism was the problem, their critique of history under capitalism accused the capitalist system of being for slavery, imperialism, exploitation, child labor, the breakup of the family, insanity, alienation and poverty - all hallmarks of the pre-capitalist and communist systems. Every conceivable lie that could be told by these propagandists was told about capitalism. The result: the communist system under "enlightened" leadership and control, brought about the plundering of capital investment(which leads to economic depression and decaying factories and cities), the disruption of supply and demand, the inefficiency of government price controls, the inefficiency of the banking system, less production, less happiness among the people.

And now, after decades of decimation by revolutionary ideas, Mr. Gochez, apparently unaware of this history, praises, in the company of young hispanics, one of the most brutal collectivist thugs (Chavez) on the planet, calls him a liberator and seeks to do to South and North America what Lenin and Stalin did to Russia, through a new revolution in a society full of capitalist goods and self-confident, independent people. Does he really think that hispanic people are that stupid?

Apparently, Mr. Gochez has wiped out of his mind the city of Berlin where people braved guns, barbed wire and concrete in order to escape to the evil capitalist system. I have been to this city (in 1990) and compared the squalor of communist East Berlin with the vibrancy of capitalist West Berlin. Perhaps Mr. Gochez should bring to class some of these stories and pictures of Soviet guards shooting at East German people escaping the revolution that he loves. Then let's see for whom his students will cheer, the escaping citizens seeking freedom or the shooting soldiers trying to protect the revolution.

Or how about stories I was told in Germany about families in the West who allowed relatives from the East to visit their homes. One thing they noticed is how poorly groomed their eastern relatives were, how unkempt, uncut and unshaved were the men and women. Many examples are known that one day these West German professionals returned to their homes to find them burglarized with all possessions gone. Their communist relatives, in many cases, had the courtesy to leave a note behind that said something to the effect, "We've had nothing all these years. Now it is time for us to have something." Perhaps Mr. Gochez can tell his students about this history. There really is plenty of material about this revolution.

Or, to keep it interesting for the kids, perhaps Mr. Gochez can tell his students about "The Moonwalk Revolution" in 1988 during a Michael Jackson concert held in West Berlin, when the Stasi (East German Secret Police) brutalized East German teenagers for screaming "the wall must go, the wall must go" and hauled them off to Stasi headquarters for interrogation. Why would the good communist revolutionaries do that to teenagers, Mr. Gochez? Is this the kind of future you promise to your young students?

What few communists and progressives realized is that this scheme, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, was unworkable. Collectivism required the sacrifice of the able to the unable. This principle caused decline because hard working people soon realized that the system was another form of slavery. The harder they worked, the less they received. So, typically, as happened in the Soviet Union and Communist China, they produced less. The poor, on the other hand, knew that they would be taken care of and so had no incentive to produce. With the decline in production, no one thought to question the immorality of the system (who could possibly question sacrifice for society?). If sacrifice did not work, someone was to blame. As always with collectivism, the able aren't working hard enough or the capitalists are sabotaging the system, there are enemy spies everywhere; someone must be purged, imprisoned or killed. The communist system which promised to liberate the people and make them affluent becomes millions of dead bodies. Yet, even the pictures of the past that prove the unworkability of communism, the pictures of dead starving peasants or concentration camps or firing squads, are not convincing for Mr. Gochez. History means nothing as long as you can blame it on capitalism or manifest destiny or imperialism. So much for honesty in the world of history teachers.

A society based on re-distribution, such as communism or socialism, can never succeed because it does not acknowledge a person’s right to act in his own self-interest. With the heavy antipathy toward self-interest due to Kant’s influence, as well as that of religion, any society (such as Venezuela or Cuba for instance) that descends to re-distribution as foundational, must necessarily have an enemy in the United States, the symbol of the pursuit of happiness. That’s why all socialists accuse the United States of imperialism, war mongering, theft of resources and exploitation. Chavez hates the United States because he cannot exist without a scapegoat, without some other nation to blame for his own mistakes. The lies of Chavez are really about creating cover for his power grab not about some evil done by the USA. No one should be confused about that. What’s your excuse Mr. Gochez?

Notice also the blindness on the part of the ruling progressives today who are nothing more than closet Marxists. Government officials, convinced that the best principle of a proper government is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, expect that every time this principle is implied in an action of government, it will necessarily produce positive results. They are blind to the history which has shown that this principle has never created abundance. To them government-imposed altruistic sacrifice is a magic formula. Needless to say, they are always disappointed when reality will not comply and things actually get worse. A case in point is the near trillion dollar Stimulus Package of 2009 that produced not one single new job.

Capitalism has nothing to do with exploitation and imperialism. It has nothing to do with concentration camps and jackboots or manifest destiny. On the other hand, Chavez, Castro, Morales (and their enabler Ron Gochez) and those other dominos are about one thing, separating people from their values, destroying their values, destroying their freedoms and their future for the sake of one thing: their thuggish life-long power over helpless victims. Why do they hate capitalism? Free people don’t want to live under dictatorship. Free people can think for themselves. Free people know when they are being lied to. Free people have a strong enough government to squash the cockroaches of socialism.

Mr. Gochez, with the great life he lives in America, as a respected school teacher in LA, for some reason has missed all this. You have to wonder why. Certainly, someone in his past decided to escape the dirt roads, the dirt floors, the tin roofs and the abject poverty found in Mexico. These people did not come to America to escape capitalist exploitation. They voted for America and capitalism. Why not Mr. Gochez? I’m sure he’d say that he’s seen the evils of capitalism, much like other anti-capitalists who don’t have a clue about history. I’d say he’s intellectually blind.

People like Mr. Gochez are blind dupes of the enemies of man and human progress. They are dupes of Marx and today’s equivalent of Hitler in his various disguises. Because he cannot think for himself, Mr. Gochez encourages young people in LA to admire criminals like Chavez and Castro. Ask the Cubans about Mr. Castro. Try praising Castro in a Miami school district and see how many pitchforks come after you.

You have to ask yourself; why would an American school teacher think he is doing good by praising thugs and murderers to knowledge-hungry school children? Why would a history teacher ignore the devastation, poverty, concentration camps, murder and the outright raping of the people that will take place if Latin America goes communist? What convinces him that everything will become peaceful in a communist Latin America when history has shown that communism always degenerates into conflict and theft, murder and plunder…by the very communist revolutionaries that espouse liberation?

Where is this history teacher getting his history? Check his reading list.

As for other young hispanics north of the border, Mr. Gochez, that you encourage to be "professional" revolutionaries, I'd like to ask where they are getting their money. Given the lack of historical accuracy in your views, what productive value are they providing in society that earns them the status of "professional"? In this country of free people, a "professional" usually brings enough value to his job that he pays his own way. Are your "professional" revolutionaries making their own money or are they being paid by tax payer dollars? Or, just perhaps, is it possible they are being provided for by Hugo Chavez? You, and they, must be scamming someone in order to be able to wear new clothes, get haircuts, drive a car, eat at restaurants and preach to innocent young people your "unprofessional" and nonsensical lies. No honest person would pay you to dishonor and insult this wonderful country.

And, believe me, you are dreaming if you think a majority of hispanics will run to your corrupt cause. Many of our ancestors came to this country for freedom; many of us fought for freedom against people who said exactly the same lies as your buddies, Chavez, Castro and Morales. We will never fight for your revolution. We will, however, fight against it and, proudly, we will fight for capitalism and freedom.

You can go to Cuba for all I care.

No comments:

Post a Comment