Skip to comments.Real Freedoms Fading Fast
Posted on 01/31/2013 9:16:56 AM PST by Kaslin
"We finally got the right guys in front of us to lead us. We kept working, and now we're where we want to go. We've got one more."
Frank Gore, running back San Francisco 49ers
Listening to Frank Gore being interviewed after his team had just won the right to play in the Super Bowl, I was struck by a line that he's actually said more than once. In fact, it's hard not to find a champion in any sport that hasn't said their team wanted it more. "Want" is a wonderful thing because it propels us beyond what we think we're capable of and what society says we're capable of. Lots of people dream of making it, but those that want it most more often than not achieve their goal.
In his 1941 State of the Union Speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt presented the world with his "Four Freedoms." For FDR, these were freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy.
Freedom of Speech & Expression
Freedom of Worship
Freedom from Want
Freedom from Fear
These four freedoms were the backdrop for his vision of a world where government(s) provided for everything. Of course, the first two freedoms are part of the First Amendment, but it's the other two that are more radical than they would seem.
Freedom from fear would seem self-explanatory, except it was the basis for one-world oversight like the United Nations.
I personally have many misgivings about that, but the "freedom" I find most destructive is that of want.
It sounds like a good idea and made for an American masterpiece when Norman Rockwell painted his vision of it in 1943. In fact, his painting toured the nation during wartime and helped to raise over $130,000,000 for our efforts. But, the irony of this all is that America has moved further away from this painting in part because of the notion there should be freedom from want and all the other implications that come along with it.
Roosevelt warned, "people who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made." An obvious reference to Hitler and Mussolini, but it was poignant in a different way. The direction the nation is moving now, with people being able to legislate larger and larger portions of other people's incomes (and soon all assets), we are entering a different kind of de facto dictatorship. The person that promises to loot the wealth of others has the law of large numbers on his or her side.
The world FDR envisioned was realized with his giant government that also saw the creation of entitlement programs. Sold as social safety nets, they are now the primary source of income for far too many Americans. Why? Freedom from want leads to grandiose promises from government that encourage less self-reliance. Moreover, the economic tab in a world where people actually live long enough to cash in on those promises is going to break the nation one day unless it is fixed sooner rather than later.
In a couple of weeks, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address and is sure to borrow from FDR's vision of a perfect world where government replaces individual effort and removes individual accountability. The media will cheer, and the era of fairness will hit its stride. Yet, behind the hype is a reality that few will discuss. After decades of creating a social welfare state that was supposed to make life a walk in the park, there is a poverty epidemic, there's a family structure epidemic and an economic time bomb stubbornly moving toward explosion.
That scene Rockwell captured is becoming foreign to families that no longer have time to stick together, even for Thanksgiving dinner. There was a time families stuck together to make it through hard times and enjoy the good ones, always with the same style and grace. Attempting to substitute the shattered nuclear family for the notion the entire nation is one big happy family is a farce. Sure, we become brothers in arms to fight tyranny and clean up after massive storms and disasters.
You could say it creates an economic dictatorship that punishes earners while distributing crumbs to non-earners, and in the process crushing real dreams and opportunities for both. The direction of current policies will eventually force one group to give up "want" and another to never know how beautiful it can be.
While this has become a Teflon rally there are signs of strain. The breadth was really tight yesterday for such a big move in the Dow. Moreover, companies aren't very excited, guarded optimism is the best I've seen thus far, but rewarded (HOG, CAT and this morning AMZN all names that would have been hammered in a down market on their earnings releases). This morning there was an increase in stock downgrades but mostly on valuation and mostly from firms that missed big moves in the first place.
So there is a major wind in the sails of the market for sure these days. My biggest concern and I've written and spoke about this several times is America and the war on success. Secondarily Europe isn't out of the woods by any means either. Early morning headlines from the continent include:
> Spain's recession deepening
> Italian energy company Saipem shares off 40%
> German beer sales at record low
And then we got the 4Q GDP numbers for America with its first red result since 2009. (More in GDP in the afternoon update.)
There was a post WWII movie called “Ship of Fools” I think. Roughly about a bunch of prescient Jews from pre-war Germany who knew what was coming. They successfully made it on a passenger ship out of Germany, but could find no safe harbor in the Western World.
We have the makings of that situation today. This country is the last vestige of freedom and it is being diminished with every word out of that bastard’s mouth and every Executive Order and command he executes.
Depressing article inspiring some random thoughts.
It reminds me of an old German expression: “A hungry stomach knows no politics.”
Does it help to explain two of the greatest, most tragic wars of the last century? Germans, among Europeans, are criticized for, well, for not having much of a sense of humor, to wit, the joke about Heaven, where the cops are all British, and the other place, where they are Deutsche.
So as laundry and morale officer, let me remind my FReunds that we aren’t beaten until the time that we find we can no longer laugh at them:
(Now I have to wash shorts. No starch?)
A pastiche of characters board a German ocean liner in Veracruz, Mexico, for a voyage to Bremerhaven, Germany, along with 600 displaced workers in steerage, being deported from Cuba back to Spain, and a not-so-exotic band of entertainers, for whom the voyage is just a job. Some are happy to be bound for a rising Nazi Germany, some are apprehensive, while others appear oblivious to its potential dangers.
The ship's doctor, Schumann, takes a special interest in La Condesa, a countess from Spain who has an addiction to drugs and is being shipped to a German-run prison. Her sense of certain doom is contrasted by the doctor's determination to fight the forces of oppression, embodied by his insistence that the people in steerage be treated like human beings rather than animals. The doctor himself has a secret, a terminal heart condition, and his sympathy for the countess soon evolves into love.
Several passengers are invited to dine each night at the captain's table. There, some are amused and others offended by the Anti-Semitic rants of a German businessman named Rieber (José Ferrer). The Jewish Lowenthal is invited instead to join a dwarf named Glocken for his meals, and the two bond over their exclusion. Eventually a passenger named Freytag seems shocked to find himself ostracized when Rieber learns that his wife is Jewish.
Others aboard include a young American couple, David and Jenny, who bicker because David is unhappy at his lack of success with painting. A divorcée, Mary Treadwell, drinks and flirts, on a quest to recapture her youth in Paris. Bill Tenny is a former baseball player disappointed in the way his career never quite took off. They are distracted by the music and the professional dancers, whose flirtations seem to skirt the edges of solicitation, or dive right in to the seedy side of oblivion.
And when the passengers disembark, two are no longer with them -- the countess, who has been taken to an island prison, and the doctor, who has died.
I guess the timeline of my memory is off...I think the book was earlier....I also remember a remake of the movie with Faye Dunaway....
The author wrote the book in 1962
You must think of
Voyage of the Damned
Which I believe is the movie you was originally thinking of, not Ship of Fools Plot
Based on actual events, this film tells the story of the 1939 voyage of the MS St. Louis, which departed from Hamburg, carrying 937 Jews from Germany, ostensibly to Havana, Cuba. The passengers, having seen and suffered rising anti-Semitism in Germany realised that this might be their only chance to escape. The film details the emotional journey of the passengers who gradually become aware that their passage was planned as an exercise in propaganda and that it had never been intended that they disembark in Cuba. Rather, they were to be set-up as Pariahs: an example before the world. As a Nazi official states in the film, when the whole world has refused to accept them as refugees, no country can blame Germany for the fate of the Jews.
The Cuban Government refuses entry to the passengers, and as the liner waits off the Florida coast, they learn that the United States also has rejected them, leaving the ship no choice but to return to Europe. The captain tells a confidante that he has received a letter signed by 200 passengers saying they will join hands and jump into the sea rather than return to Germany. He states his intention to run the liner aground on a reef off the southern coast of England.
Shortly before the film's end, it is revealed that the governments of the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and the Netherlands have each agreed to accept a share of the passengers as refugees. As they cheer and clap at the news, footnotes disclose the fates of some of the main characters, suggesting that more than 600 of the 937 passengers, not making it to the UK, ultimately lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps.
The true death toll is unclear. The book of these events estimates a much lower number of deaths: By using the survival rates for Jews in various countries, Thomas and Morgan-Witts estimated 180 of the St. Louis refugees in France, 152 of those in Belgium, and 60 of those in the Netherlands would have survived the Holocaust. Adding to these the passengers who disembarked in England, they estimated that of the original 936 refugees (one man died during the voyage), roughly 709 survived and 227 were slain. (See the relevant article.) In 1998, Scott Miller and Sarah Ogilvie of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum traced the survivors from the voyage. The conclusion of their research was that a similar albeit slightly higher total of 254 refugees died at the hands of the Nazis