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Defeating Big Government Socialism Saving America's Future by Newt Gingrich Book

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Overview: Bestselling author and former Speaker Newt Gingrich reveals how Big Government Socialism is crippling America—and offers strategies and insights for everyday citizens to overcome its influence.

In communities across our country, Americans are debating Critical Race Theory, vaccine mandates, tax increases, rising inflation, online censorship, and a host of other important issues.

We have serious decisions to make about the future of our nation. Do we want big government, or limited government? Do we want to work hard and keep what we earn, or do we want government to decide how our money is spent? Do we want our children to learn how to think in school, or be told what to think? Do we want to make our own decisions about health care, or should the federal government dictate our treatments? Should American companies compete on a level playing field, or should Washington decide who wins and loses?.

Defeating Big Government Socialism Saving America's Future by Newt Gingrich Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
Defeating Big Government Socialism Saving America's Future by Newt Gingrich Book

Defeating Big Government Socialism Saving America's Future by Newt Gingrich Book Read Online Chapter One


We must win a set of arguments to defeat Big Government Socialism.

By Big Government Socialism, I mean the fanatical belief on the American left that claims a better, fairer future can be created if a gigantically powerful government controls or owns production and is guided by massive bureaucracies of professionals who focus on process rather than achievement. This is not the idyllic, pseudo-utopian, (and fictional) Scandinavian-style socialism to which American progressives like to allude. It is a big, formidable, technologically enhanced version of socialism—which has roots in the system that was developed by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx and brutally imposed on people by Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and other ruthless tyrants.

First, we must win the argument that Big Government Socialism is not working. This should be the easy one. For the last year and a half, we have had vivid proof of this. Big bureaucratic government has proven it can’t control the border, reduce crime, withdraw effectively from Afghanistan, modernize fast enough to compete with China, get schools to educate effectively, cope with the challenges of a pandemic, or perform a litany of other duties vital to our survival. Again and again, we are witnesses to systems not working.

The degree to which Big Government Socialism’s bureaucratic structures get out of touch with reality was vividly illustrated in early 2022, when Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted: “Because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, America is moving again. That’s what infrastructure is all about: getting people moving.”1 Unfortunately for her, that tweet went out as hundreds of people were stranded for up to twenty-four hours on Interstate 95 south of Washington, D.C., in dangerous icy conditions.2 It just reinforced the sense that big government doesn’t know what is going on.

The entire experience of public health systems breaking down during the COVID-19 pandemic is a clear example of how much Big Government Socialism simply can’t deliver the speed and quality that people expect. Any serious analysis of the last two and a half years since the emergence of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, would illustrate the confusion, lack of information, changing analyses, conflicting advice, and unrealistic rules. Hundreds of thousands of Americans could still be alive today if the public health system were not an obsolete collection of widely differing local organizations and an increasingly bureaucratic, incompetent, and self-protecting federal bureaucracy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health.

Compare the difference in death rates from COVID-19 in well-organized countries such as Singapore, Japan, and South Korea with the American tragedy. According to data compiled by Statista,3 as of February 10, 2022, Singapore has seen a COVID-19 death rate of 154.36 people per million. Japan’s rate was 156.62 per million, and South Korea’s is 134.66. By contrast, U.S. deaths per million people were reported at a tragically astonishing 2,765.79. The gap in death rates was more than just an East Asian phenomenon. Canada (934.15), Denmark (673.88), Finland (385.12), and Australia (174.34) all had better outcomes and saved more lives than the United States. India, which has a larger, more dense population than the United States, saw a per-million death rate of 370.69. America’s underperformance of public health was profound. Ineffective, Washington-based Big Government Socialist COVID-19 policies affected every state in the country.

Our government school system has fallen further behind Chinese and Indian schools in preparing young people to succeed in a competitive world. In some cities, the collapse of government-run schools is startling. In Baltimore, for example, in 2017 there were six schools in which not a single student had been able to pass the state exams.4 In thirteen other Baltimore schools the same year, no students were proficient in math.5 In 2019, only 10.7 percent of sixth to eighth graders in Baltimore were proficient in math, and only 9.2 percent of high schoolers were proficient in Algebra I. Yet the answer to this stunning failure (which hits minorities and the poor especially hard) has been for teachers’ unions to demand more power. They are placing students last while protecting incompetent, nonperforming teachers—and the entire system of failure. The process of “dumbing down” American education has been astonishingly fast and deeply destructive for students and national security. Faced with obvious failure, the teachers’ unions and their allies have moved to eliminate grades, minimize mathematics, eliminate advanced classes, and seek to hide failures in a sea of mediocrity.

Faced with overwhelming evidence that virtual teaching has been a failure—and especially a failure for minority and poor students—the teachers’ unions have been militant about not returning to school—and in many cities they have led strikes. In effect, the public has been required to pay billions for employees who refuse to come to work but insist on being paid. The problem has become so bad that some Democratic mayors, even though the teachers’ unions were their biggest supporters, have begun to warn that teachers who fail to show up will simply not be paid.

Parallel to the teachers’ unions’ refusal to be accountable has been a system of measuring attendance that ignores absentee students to maximize payments. In some big-city schools (including Baltimore) many students simply do not show up. Nevertheless, these so-called “ghost students” are listed as attending, so the school can get more money from the taxpayers.6 The system is so blatant that some systems have “pizza day” for the two or three days a year when attendance is strictly counted for payment information. The result is an amazing surge of missing students who show up to eat, but not to learn.

As I previously mentioned, the national security system has become so bureaucratic and riddled with incompetence that it couldn’t win after twenty years in Afghanistan and eighteen years in Iraq. It has demonstrated that it can’t plan a withdrawal from Afghanistan effectively, and it can’t modernize fast enough to keep up with the Chinese Communists in innovation or strategic agility. America runs a real risk of losing a major war with China because the Big Government Socialism at the heart of our national security system is simply incompetent, self-serving, and run on cronyism and dishonesty.

If the military is this riddled with senior-level corruption and dishonesty, imagine what the civilian bureaucracies and their political and business allies are like. And if the news media must operate in this swamp of dishonesty, guess how corroded and accepting of dishonesty it becomes. Furthermore, the propaganda media, the senior bureaucracies, and the highest levels of big corporations, big foundations, and big trade associations are all dominated by a “woke culture” that follows Humpty Dumpty’s rule in Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Woke culture depends on the elites’ ability to redefine words, invent new ones, and insist on everyone adopting the new lexicon. In a real sense, the heart of woke culture is Humpty Dumptyism.

Consider the following:

• Despite centuries of regionally naming epidemics, there could be no Chinese virus—or even a Wuhan virus—because it would offend the Chinese Communist Party.

• To argue that there are only two pronouns, or two sexes, is to be assaulted as a homophobic, transphobic, binary genderist, etc.

• To suggest that the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin is merely defending white privilege (even when the phrase comes from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.).

• To suggest that males have an unfair advantage in competing with females in most sports (just the use of the terms male and female is, of course, anti–Humpty Dumpty) is to be transphobic.

• Defending requirements that voters show identification is racist.

• Arguing for grades based on merit is racist.

The list goes on and on. Wokeism is a quasi-religious movement that brings passion and intolerance together to reshape the world. In its determination to impose its new words—and, indeed, a new world—upon those around it, the woke movement is in the tradition of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and Chinese Cultural Revolution. In each case, the ideas and language of the past had to be rejected and replaced by a new model with new words and no tolerance for dissent.

The leaders of the French Revolution decided they had to get rid of the Gregorian calendar, because it had too many Christian associations. They invented a new calendar with new months, weeks, and days. In the new utopian calendar, Messidor (harvest) became the month from June 19 to July 18. There were thirty days in each month, with three weeks of ten days each. Since they could no longer use the names of the seven-day week, they invented new day names to go with their new month names. The first day of the ten-day week was primitive. To match the actual 365-day cycle, they added five days at the end of the year for festivals and vacations. The new revolutionary calendar was adopted in 1792 and lasted seventeen years, until Napoleon abolished it as of January 1, 1806, and reverted to the Gregorian calendar. Wokesters might take note of how rapidly the nuttiest parts of the French Revolution were repudiated once the initial wave of fanaticism faded away.

However, at the present time there is an alliance between the Big Government Socialists and the woke fanatics that has support for gigantic bureaucracies. In return the bureaucracies support new words and principles—and the imposition of woke values and language on Americans who refuse to voluntarily accept them. The problem with this alliance of the Big Government Socialists and the wokesters is that they seek to impose policies on the people (which the people do not want and often resist).

In a country in which elections still count, it is virtually impossible for Big Government Socialists to be candid about what they are doing. President Joe Biden cannot openly admit that thousands of people are crossing our border illegally every day without law enforcement or medical scrutiny. Furthermore, he cannot admit that his administration is secretly shipping these noncitizens all over the country and not telling anyone. That kind of honest admission would destroy his presidency (if indeed it is not already destroyed).

Similarly, the Biden administration can’t acknowledge that the prices of beef and pork are going up—or that its policies raised the cost of petroleum products that go into fertilizer (making farming and raising livestock extra expensive). It can’t verbally accept that it has increased inflation, which raises prices on everything. It can’t admit that it has adopted policies that encourage people to stay home rather than work (which also raises the cost of labor to farms, meatpackers, distributors, and others). The natural economic consequence of these policies is, of course, that essential food prices rise. Publicly acknowledging this would focus the public anger directly on Democrats, which Biden will never do.

Instead of accepting the truth that ideologically driven government policies are needlessly raising the cost of food, gasoline, heating oil, and medical care—and crippling logistics supply chains in the process—it is essential for Big Government Socialists to find scapegoats upon which to heap blame. The Biden administration’s attempt to blame the four major meat processors and distributors for the rise in the cost of meat would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.7 Biden’s anti-market, pro-government control approach will lead his administration to adopt policies of so-called increased competition by doling out $1 billion in taxpayer money to encourage smaller, less efficient, and less effective meat production systems. Just as the Solyndra solar panel manufacturer collapse cost taxpayers $500 million in loan guarantees, this approach will temporarily prop up several small companies—many of whom will then go broke. Big Government Socialists refuse to believe they are bad investors, and the market is smarter than bureaucrats. They consistently take your tax money to subsidize their pet projects, and the net result is often a disaster.


The amazing thing about the American intellectual community’s passionate commitment to Big Government Socialism is that it never works. No matter how bad socialism’s track record is, intellectuals love the concept because it shifts power from successful entrepreneurs, wealthy business leaders, and ordinary Americans to the elite intelligentsia. In a Big Government Socialist system, it is the intellectuals who have real power. They get to dictate to everyone else how to behave and what to do.

In some ways, Big Government Socialism is like the rise of the pigs in George Orwell’s classic anti-Marxist novel Animal Farm. In the beginning, the Animal Farm was a revolution for fairness for all animals. Equality was the great value of the early animal revolution in Orwell’s amazing fable. Then, gradually, the pigs—because they were smarter—took power and shifted the system until it was a new dictatorship with pigs rather than humans in charge. All the other animals were subservient. As the essential quote goes, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” By the end, the pigs were occasionally picking out lesser animals to be sold to the butcher to finance their lifestyles. Everything had come full circle.

Historically, intellectuals are the pigs of Animal Farm. They know they are really smart. They read books, and they get degrees from famous institutions that promise them status and authority. They operate as petty dictators in their classes, where the students have a huge incentive to smile and flatter professors who have the power to pass or fail them. Imagine the disgust that world-class intellectuals face at family dinner with relatives who have less education, often fail to read books, but somehow are wealthier and more powerful than they are. The professoriate has a deep class interest in developing a mechanism that transfers power from their supposed lessers to themselves. Given their IQs (self-ascribed) and their learning (self-touted), it is only natural that they should dominate those who have money and power but no knowledge or culture.

From the French Enlightenment assault on the aristocracy and the church, to the Russian intelligentsia rallying around Vladimir Lenin and communism, to Chinese librarian Mao Zedong leading a bloody Cultural Revolution, history is filled with arguments for government control over the lesser, uneducated parts of the population. The language of Big Government Socialism always condemns an inadequate present and promises a remarkably better, almost utopian, future. Thus the popular analysis and promises of Big Government Socialism with its alluring transfer of power to politicians and bureaucrats has been attractive for people pursuing power throughout the third world.

Paul Johnson, in Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, emphasizes the unusual role of the London School of Economics in destroying progress in Africa. The number of African leaders who applied socialist models to their countries was astonishing. Yet socialism never worked. In country after country, with great potential in mining, agriculture, and in some cases in oil and gas, the potential for growth and prosperity was simply dissipated. A combination of bad socialist policies discouraged investment and growth—and sheer corruption frightened away investors who relied on honesty to safeguard their investments.

Corruption, specifically, is the enemy of economic growth. People refuse to invest in a country where the politicians may take their property through taxation or confiscation. The result is a steady outflow of money and talent seeking countries in which the rule of law guarantees opportunity and the right to keep the fruits of your efforts. Lee Kuan Yew, the extraordinary former leader of Singapore, who led that island country into becoming one of the richest and most technologically advanced countries in the world, understood thoroughly the dangers of socialist thinking. He had been a graduate student in England after World War II at the time of the Labor Government’s efforts to create a government-dominated socialist system.

We were together one weekend when I was Speaker, and I asked him what principle he applied to create such a dynamic, modern, and wealthy country in one generation. “It was very simple,” he replied. “Every time I faced a major decision, I asked myself what [former British prime minister] Clement Attlee and the socialists would have done. I then did exactly the opposite and it worked one hundred percent of the time.” You can legitimately ask why would doing the opposite work. The answer lies in the nature of human beings—and the antihuman requirements of Big Government Socialism.

The deepest difference between Big Government Socialism and the American constitutional system built around the practicalities of human nature is this question of how the world really works versus how the intellectuals would like for it to work. Ultimately, you either design a system that reinforces and supports how people actually behave, or you design a system that imposes change on people whether they want it or not.

The American constitutional system was created by a group of wise, practical politicians who had spent their lifetimes studying various government forms and principles going back to ancient Rome, Greece, and Jerusalem. They were trying to deduce a set of principles about how people could maximize freedom by governing themselves—while remaining organized enough to defend society from outside and domestic efforts to take over and control the people. Virtually all the Founding Fathers were practicing politicians, who had spent time winning office and working with other people who had won elections. They were virtually all successful farmers or businessmen, so they had a lot of practical knowledge about how the world worked and how people behaved. They designed the structure of government based on this combination of historic knowledge, practical knowledge, and real-world experience.

In Abraham Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg, the Founding Fathers wanted “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” By contrast, Big Government Socialism seeks government over the people, controlling the people, and defining the rights of the people. The contrast could hardly be greater. The first key difference is: “Who controls?” In a free society, you must largely control yourself. As many of the Founding Fathers wrote, self-government starts with governing yourself. They emphasized the importance of a moral (and often religious) basis of freedom. They believed that self-government required first literally governing self.

But in a Big Government Socialist system, government controls you. This is why Friedrich Hayek, in his classic, The Road to Serfdom, argues that centralized planning inevitably leads to tyranny. Forcing people to do what the bureaucracy wants ultimately leads the bureaucracy to impose more controls. The recent experience with masks and vaccinations is a classic example of government reaching deeper and deeper into your life. After all, if a government can determine what you will put in your body, and what you will put on your face, you have surrendered a lot of liberty to a faceless, nameless bureaucracy. To be clear: I support vaccinations and wearing masks for the sake of public health. I don’t support a federal government imposing vaccines and mask-wearing upon me.

Because governments inherently have the power to use force, the danger of a strong government micromanaging people and censoring people represents a real threat to the concept of freedom. There is a steady drift in Big Government Socialism toward more controls and a greater willingness to use force against your own people. This is how charismatic socialist leaders such as Benito Mussolini in Italy, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Fidel Castro in Cuba, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe gradually acquire power and then ally themselves with the forces of repression (military and police) against the general public. Again and again, the dissidents, who are usually the middle class, find themselves crushed by police and military who are prepared to use force. The argument of the gun defeats the argument of reason, through sheer brutality.

In order to sustain their power, the leaders of socialist regimes find themselves forced to shift resources to take care of those who defend them and crush dissent. One of the reasons embargoes don’t work well against dictators is that they simply take more of the dwindling resources to pay generously for their security forces. The people who prop up the regime not only fail to feel the impact of the foreign embargoes, they are strengthened by their relative wealth and comfort compared to those in the general public who are suffering but politically impotent.

Even in nondictatorships, governments have a constant pattern of favoritism and cronyism. As I mentioned before—and will bring up again—there is a profound reason Lord John Dalberg-Acton in 1887 warned, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”8

The pattern of the Hunter Biden laptop; the Biden contracts with Ukraine, Russia, and China; and the ongoing fraud of Hunter’s artwork, which will be priced vastly higher because he is the president’s son, are clear examples of corruption at the highest levels. The parallel exploitation of the Biden name by the president’s brothers—and the clear references to influence peddling—is outlined in painful detail in the book by Miranda Devine: Laptop from Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech, and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide.

The general corruption of the American system is evidenced in the desperate efforts of the left-wing propaganda media to avoid covering any examples of Biden family corruption. This effort includes the banning from the social media the fourth largest and oldest newspaper, the New York Post, founded by Alexander Hamilton, for the last few weeks before the 2020 election. The Post first broke the story about incriminating evidence on Hunter Biden’s lost-and-found laptop. The propaganda media could not allow this information to come to light ahead of the election.

Corruption is all too often narrowed down to specific overt acceptance of bribes. Yet the much more dangerous corruption is the systemic willingness to reallocate resources and power for political and personal reasons rather than in implementation of legitimate public policy. The great American historian Gordon Wood dealt extensively with the alienating and corrosive impact of corruption in the British government on the American colonists in The Creation of the American Republic:

When the American Whigs described the English nation and government as eaten away by “corruption,” they were in fact using a technical term of political science, rooted in the writings of classical antiquity, made famous by Machiavelli, developed by the classical republicans of seventeenth-century England, and carried into the eighteenth century by nearly everyone who laid claim to knowing anything about politics. And for England it was a pervasive corruption, not only dissolving the original political principles by which the constitution was balanced, but, more alarming, sapping the very spirit of the people by which the constitution was ultimately sustained.9

Wood describes the growing sentiment in colonial America that its mother country was corrupt. Despite the reforms of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Crown had still found a way to corrupt the supposedly balanced English government:

England, the Americans said over and over again, “once the land of liberty—the school of patriots—the nurse of heroes, has become the land of slavery—the school of parricides and the nurse of tyrants.” By the 1770’s the metaphors describing England’s course were all despairing: the nation was fast streaming toward a cataract, hanging on the edge of a precipice; the brightest lamp of liberty in all the world was dimming. Internal decay was the most common image. A poison had entered the nation and was turning the people and the government into “one mass of corruption.” On the eve of the Revolution the belief that England was “sunk in corruption” and “tottering on the brink of destruction” had become entrenched in the minds of disaffected Englishmen on both sides of the Atlantic.

This sense of ubiquitous corruption and lawbreaking is a widespread but generally unspoken and unexplored part of what is happening to America today. Remember, if California lost $20 billion in unemployment compensation funds,10 that means there were a lot of people willing to steal from the state of California. When you see a video of a gang of eighty people robbing a Nordstrom department store near Los Angeles,11 you are watching eighty Americans willing to break the law methodically and flagrantly. The illegal drug economy may be one of the largest centers of lawbreaking in the United States. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in a twelve-month period,12 that means a lot of people were making money by breaking the law and selling drugs. The homeless settlements need to be studied for the level of illegal activity that sustains their economies. In some cases, they may turn out to be open-air drug markets.

Law-abiding Americans are in many ways under siege by a wide range of dishonest people engaging in a wide range of illegal and corrupt activities. The steady spread of corruption and dishonesty is just one component of a phenomenon the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a liberal Democrat and a great sociologist, wrote about in an essay in 1993 called “Defining Deviancy Down.”13

Moynihan was identifying a series of patterns three decades ago that have grown in power and pervasiveness since he first wrote. Drawing on the work of the great nineteenth-century French sociologist Emile Durkheim, Moynihan reasoned that we had entered a phase in which society was accepting more deviancy, because it was so common people had to normalize it.

Moynihan’s essay was summarized in a brilliant column by Charles Krauthammer in 1993 analyzing Moynihan’s theory. In addition to explaining Moynihan’s point about defining deviancy down, Krauthammer illustrated its impact brilliantly.14

Krauthammer pointed out that single parenthood tripled from 1960 to 1993, and that fatherless households are closely related to increases in crime, addiction, and a slew of societal issues. Yet, as he said, the intelligentsia of modern culture has ignored this problem and redefined single parenthood as a benign, alternative life choice. Krauthammer then pointed out that crime—and specifically homicide—has become so commonplace that “[w]e have come to view homicide as ineradicable a part of the social landscape as car accidents.” Finally, he pointed out that rates of mental illness have not greatly changed, but as a society we have stopped dealing with it in a meaningful way. He pointed out that there were 93,000 patients in New York State’s asylum system in 1955 and only 11,000 in 1992. As he put it:

Where have the remaining 82,000 and their descendants gone? Onto the streets mostly. In one generation, a flood of pathetically ill people has washed onto the streets of America’s cities. We now step over these wretched and abandoned folk sleeping in doorways and freezing on grates. They, too, have become accepted as part of the natural landscape. We have managed to do that by redefining them as people who simply lack affordable housing. They are not crazy or sick, just very poor—as if anyone crazy and sick and totally abandoned would not end up very poor.

Mr. Moynihan’s powerful point is that with the moral deregulation of the 1960s, we have had an explosion of deviancy in family life, criminal behavior and public displays of psychosis. And we have dealt with it in the only way possible: by redefining deviancy down so as to explain away and make “normal” what a more civilized, ordered and healthy society long ago would have labeled—and long ago did label—deviant.

Moynihan’s and Krauthammer’s thinking is important because every trend they identified as decaying has gotten steadily worse since they wrote the original papers in 1993. This may be one of the most important explanations of American decay that anyone has written. The collapse of the family and the rise of children raised without male influence has dramatically accelerated. The crime rate has exploded once again. The homeless shelters of the early 1990s have become ramshackle tent cities in places such as Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.

There was a second, even more threatening aspect of defining deviancy down as Moynihan described it. The more we tolerated destructive behavior, the more traditionally normal behavior became unacceptable. Krauthammer added to the Moynihan analysis with a new insight that has become chillingly real.

In the process of defining deviancy down, we have simultaneously begun defining normalcy as deviancy to balance the social equation. Consider what it means now to be a heterosexual, Christian, married person, who is pro-life, anti–drug use, and pro-police. In today’s society, these characteristics likely mean you are homophobic, cis-gender-centric, intolerant, probably racist, and living on unearned privilege gained from your inherent systemic effort to oppress others.

Back in 1993, Krauthammer concluded:

The rationalization of deviancy reaches its logical conclusion. The deviant is declared normal. And the normal is unmasked as deviant. That, of course, makes us all that much more morally equal. The project is complete. What real difference is there between us?…

Defining deviancy up also fills a psychological need. The need was identified by Senator Moynihan: How to cope with the explosion of real deviancy? One way is denial: defining real deviancy down creates the pretense that deviance has disappeared because it has been redefined as normal. Another strategy is distraction: defining deviancy up creates brand-new deviancies that we can now go off and fight. That distracts us from real deviancy and gives us the feeling that, despite the murder and mayhem and madness around us, we are really preserving and policing our norms.

I have spent this much time on Moynihan and Krauthammer because they so clearly captured the trajectory of decay and decline that has accelerated over the last thirty years. I particularly included Krauthammer because his contribution to Moynihan’s insights is much less well known and profoundly captures the shift in who is discriminated against, from the historically deviant to the historically normal. So, now normal is deviant and deviant is normal. None of these changes were totally unobserved.

In 1982, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling wrote an article titled “Broken Windows,” which outlined how decaying conditions in neighborhoods make it psychologically easier to commit crimes, while well-kept neighborhoods of the same income and ethnicity make it psychologically harder to commit crimes.15 They had a huge impact on reducing crime for two decades (New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton called this theory the most important improvement in policing in a half century). Then the left repudiated them as racist (largely because former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg corrupted their sound theory into stop-and-frisk, which gave police license to racially profile and harass people). Nevertheless, “Broken Windows” was driven out of media acceptability, leading us back to today’s skyrocketing crime.

In 1983, the Reagan administration released a report, A Nation at Risk,16 which warned that the collapse in education was a threat to individuals and to the survival of the country. After a lot of publicity, nothing was done and the decay continued. While some progress was made on school choice, the overwhelming weight of the teachers’ unions remains. Their willingness to dumb down schools, focus on race rather than learning, and avoid teaching whenever possible has continued the decay of American education, with enormous national security and personal life opportunity costs.

In 1984, Charles Murray wrote Losing Ground.17 This was the seminal work explaining that the Great Society’s anti-work and anti-family reforms were shifting power from civil society (including religious and charitable institutions) to government bureaucracies. Murray pointed out these reforms had hurt the people they were supposed to help. According to Murray, we were losing ground on every aspect of life for the poor. His book was the key intellectual breakthrough leading to the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. Millions left poverty, got jobs, and created better futures for themselves and their families. The American left (which has become the Big Government Socialist system) has worked tirelessly to destroy the work requirements that were at the heart of the 1996 reform. The Biden administration has succeeded in re-creating precisely the kind of incentive-destroying, life-crippling, passivity-inducing system about which Murray had warned.

In 1992, Marvin Olasky wrote The Tragedy of American Compassion, which expanded on Murray’s analysis and contrasted the work-oriented tough love of the traditional reformers with the exact opposite attitude and policies implemented by the Great Society under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The warnings of decay and decline were there for all to see, but the Big Government Socialists and their woke allies were determined to ignore and reject them. The simple fact is that a decaying, declining America dominated by bureaucracies imposing destructive policies (while being propped up by the taxpayers) is far better for the left than a vibrant, dynamic, entrepreneurial, work- and achievement-oriented society in which government is small and opportunity is large. To understand the contrast, we will turn now to the principles that have worked historically and to which we must return.

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