Tag Archives: soviet union

Mubarak and Gaddafi were in it for the money. Tyrants always are.

Just in! Muammar Gaddafi has grown rich on the back of the Libyan people.

The dictator’s dough: Astonishing wealth of Gaddafi and his family revealed

The astonishing wealth of Libyan tyrant Muammar Gaddafi and his family has been laid bare as countries around the world begin freezing billions of dollars worth of their assets.

The U.S. alone has seized $30billion (£18.5bn) of their investments, while Canada has frozen $2.4bn (£1.5bn), Austria, $1.7bn (£1bn) and the UK, $1bn ($600m).

These assets appear to be just the tip of the iceberg, as no one is yet certain exactly what the family owns around the world.

Story continues here…

Previously, we learned the same thing about Hosni Mubarak in Egypt:

Mubarak family fortune could reach $70bn, say experts

President Hosni Mubarak’s family fortune could be as much as $70bn (£43.5bn) according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.

Story continues…

But then we learned those estimates were too high. Nevertheless, Mubarak was still quite wealthy.

Hosni Mubarak’s Wealth: He’s a Thief, But Not That Big a Thief

Egypt’s Former President Worth ‘Only’ $5 Billion, Says U.S. Intelligence; Family Wealth Estimates Range Up to $70 Billion

Newly deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family have a fortune of $1 billion to $5 billion stashed in foreign banks, according to U.S. intelligence estimates — a significantly lower figure than most recent estimates of the wealth accumulated by Mubarak during his 30 years in power.

Some experts have estimated that the Mubarak family has a net worth as high as $70 billion, while others have reported $40 billion, but U.S. intelligence sources told ABC News that the real number is probably much lower.

Story continues…

Surprised? I assume you are not and you shouldn’t be. Aristotle warned us that tyrants are like this:

As of oligarchy so of tyranny, the end is wealth; (for by wealth only can the tyrant maintain either his guard or his luxury). [Aristotle, Politics Book 5 Part 10.]

Another practice of tyrants is to multiply taxes, after the manner of Dionysius at Syracuse, who contrived that within five years his subjects should bring into the treasury their whole property. [Aristotle, Politics Book 5 Part 11.]

Just in case some didn’t believe Aristotle, a quick look at relatively recent history demonstrates the same. (Quotes from my book.)

Regarding the Soviet Union:

Stalin and his cronies, though, did not share in the people’s suffering. In fact, Stalin and other leading Communists lived in houses that had belonged to Russia’s wealthiest families before the revolution.

And in Nazi Germany:

As in all tyrannies, many of the Nazi leaders used their power to amass vast wealth. Hermann Goering used his power as commander of the Luftwaffe, administrator of the Four Year Plan, and Hitler’s designated successor to acquire mansions and create an enormous industrial enterprise called Hermann Goering Works. As Reichsminister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels received gifts from the media, including a house given to him by the film industry. He also used his power to seduce several female film stars.

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The Path to Tyranny featured on Conservative Bookstore!

The Conservative Bookstore is featuring my book, The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny, on their site this month.

W.J. Rayment of the Conservative Bookstore posted the full review at Conservative Monitor. Here is the full review for you enjoyment:

Even in the days of ancient Greece, political science was a subject earnestly studied and remarkably well-understood. The multiplicity of city states allowed philosophers to discern patterns in the ebb and flow of historical events. What the Solon’s of the age noticed was that when pure democracy was allowed to reign in any state that the inevitable result was a rapid destruction of the economy and a sudden move to tyranny coupled with an almost complete loss of liberty.

Michael E Newton in his seminal work, The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny, we are treated to historical examples of what happens when a society allows rampant, uncontrolled democracy to subvert constitutional balance within a government. Newton begins with ancient Western Civilization where in both Greek and Roman society broke down because the mass of people figured out they could violate property rights through the government. When this happened, productivity was discouraged by ever rising taxation. The declining availability of goods and services caused the frustration of the under-classes (because that an exploited economy could not support their demands). Thus, they would resort to a demagogic dictator who would ring society dry for the support of the masses in the aggrandizement of his own wealth and power.

As The Path to Tyranny so ably illustrates, in example after example, the ultimate result of this process is the loss of freedom, the degradation of the economy, and general misery. This is one of those history books where Santayana’s famous quote rings loud and rings true, “Those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.” There are lessons here for America. Mr. Newton’s clear and concise writing style makes them crystal clear.

This is the great thing about this book. It can be understood by both the academic as well as the layman. As a student of history myself (I wrote a textbook on Modern European History), I found myself gesticulating, scribbling in the margins, and generally agreeing with point after point. I kept thinking that this book is irrefutable. I can’t imagine an academic or politician arguing intelligently with Newton’s assertions or his conclusions. Of course, there are three self-interested groups who would argue that America’s present course is a good one. They would be those who believe they will benefit from government largesse in the form of welfare payments, “free” health care, and social security. Then there are those academics who arrogantly think they are smart enough to manage a centralized economy better than Smith’s invisible hand. Finally, most ominously, there are those politicians who wish to harness the lazy greed of those who would suck off the system, using it to propel their own political careers in a tyrannical direction…Ironically, in the U.S. most of these politicians are currently called Democrats.

The Path to Tyranny is well-documented – with ample citations, a bibliography, and a comprehensive index. Besides ancient Greece and Rome, it covers ancient Israel, Communist Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and of course the current state of affairs in the United States. In a fascinating section, Newton also nails the dictatorship of Hugo Chavez. After reading this book anyone who subscribes to the democratic agenda, must be stupid, delusional, or a demagogue!

Must Read!

Thank you Mr. Rayment for your great review. I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

ELEFTHERIA I THANATOS!

Head of European Commission warns we are back on the path to tyranny

The UK”s Daily Mail reports:

Democracy could ‘collapse’ in Greece, Spain and Portugal unless urgent action is taken to tackle the debt crisis, the head of the European Commission has warned.

In an extraordinary briefing to trade union chiefs last week, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso set out an ‘apocalyptic’ vision in which crisis-hit countries in southern Europe could fall victim to military coups or popular uprisings as interest rates soar and public services collapse because their governments run out of money.

Meanwhile, the head of the European Trade Union Confederation said:

This is 1931, we’re heading back to the 1930s, with the Great Depression and we ended up with militarist dictatorship. I’m not saying we’re there yet, but it’s potentially very serious, not just economically, but politically as well.

After World War II, just about everybody swore off fascism, even though it continued to exist, most notably in Spain and Argentina. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the world said the same thing about communism. But Friedrich Hayek warned us in the 1956 preface to The Road to Serfdom:

Though hot socialism is probably a thing of the past, some of its conceptions have penetrated far too deeply in the whole structure of current thought to justify complacency.

Not only have we seen outright socialism reappear in places like Venezuela and Bolivia, it slowly took over Europe and the United States so that government now accounts for 47% of the European economy and 43% in the US.

Now we face a challenge similar to the one we faced in the 1920s and 1930s. Will we embrace totalitarianism and its false promises of effective government, cradle-to-grave support, and national rebirth as Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union did? Or will we re-embrace liberty, economic freedom, and personal responsibility that our Founding Fathers gave us and resulted in the freest and wealthiest society the world had ever seen?