Wednesday, August 15, 2012


BOOK REVIEW:  The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family, and Civility   Author Angelo M. Codevilla

$7.58 in paperback on Amazon

Excerpts (from the hardback book) that will shock you (or they did ME).  When you read these, bear in mind this book was written in 1997 and updated in 2008 - many of the statistics are worse today.

p. 250:   … The abortion industry is as large as it is primarily because many state governments pay abortion providers to perform abortions and because the federal government pressures the insurance industry to fun abortions that are not paid for publically.  Planned Parenthood receives $300 million per year in federal funds to promote [abortions].

p. 254: … when Fannie Mae, the U.S. government’s semiprivate guarantor of half the nation’s mortgages, defaulted to set off the financial panic of 2008, the U.S. Treasury treated Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the committee that oversees the corporation, who received money from it, whose homosexual lover was one of its executives, and who had shielded it’s practices from reform, as part of the solution, not part of the problem.

p. 265: … in 2008 some 13 million American children were on welfare, and 28 million (9.4% of all Americans) received food stamps.  [UP TO 15% IN 2011 !!!] Other welfare programs (housing assistance that pays the rent, energy assistance that pays the utility bills, and Medicaid that pays the doctor bills) have grown even faster.  In 12 states, the combined worth of JUST THESE FIVE PROGRAMS (there are 70 others to choose from) to a welfare mother of two amounts to over 90% of the mean wage in the area.  …. When the U.S. government made welfare an entitlement, it collapsed the distinction between bad fortune and bad character.  It validated the habits of the takers and effectively labeled honorable scruples as stupid.

p. 267: … Social Security’s welfare programs (especially SSI) may be the most harmful of all….the government has classified alcoholism, drug addiction and various kinds of personality disorders as federally subsidized disabilities. Children are also eligible to be classified as ‘disabled’ if they exhibit ‘mental impairment’. In 1990 the SCOTUS redefined this category to include children who do not act in an ‘age-appropriate’ manner.  Thus, whereas once parents had any incentives to make their children act their age or better, the regime now gives them $600 per month or more for every child who can demonstrate immaturity or below grade performance.

p. 269: … [and the Ponzi scheme that is Social Security] …. A baby boomer retiring in 2010 and surviving for 25 years [this was before Obamacare passed, with its death panels] will collect approximately 40% of his lifetime contributions…. That same retiree, had he invested his SS contribution (say $3000/year) for 40 years in the stock market’s historic 9%/year average growth rate…. would result in an accrued benefit of $1,888,000 at age 65, or $126,000 annual income for a 15 year life expectancy, vs. the $24,000 he will receive from Social Security.
"Putting ever more economic decisions in the hands of those with political power is just one of those mistakes with a track record of producing painful repercussions in many countries around the world. These repercussions have included not only serious economic losses but, even more important, a loss of personal freedom and self-respect, as ever-wider segments of the population become supplicants and sycophants of those with the power to dispense largess or to make one’s life miserable with legalistic or bureaucratic harassment." 
We in America have taken large steps in that direction in recent years, and are accelerating our moves in that direction this year. Getting some clearer sense of what this risks is just one of many reasons to read The Character of Nations.

Check Thomas Sowell's review at the link below:

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