Monday, November 4, 2013

Exposing The Naked Socialist - Critique 01

Back in September of 2012, in what was my first attempt to understand Socialism, I read a horribly inaccurate and flawed book titled "The Naked Socialist," by Paul B. Skousen. The reason I say the book is inaccurate and flawed is not because it presents Socialism as evil and tyrannical (a position which I essentially agree with), but rather because it does not provide the reader with a truthful and genuine understanding of what Socialism actually is.

According to the author, Paul Skousen, Socialism is any and every form of tyranny or government control, regulation, or enslavement. Under this definition, there is no distinction whatsoever between Socialism, Communism, Fascism, or any other type of totalitarianism. According to Skousen, they are all one and the same. This view (which I've noticed is extremely common among American Conservatives) is dangerous because it destroys an individual's ability to correctly and accurately recognize Socialism, causing them to think that it's impossible for tyrants to promote capitalism, and that capitalism, in and of itself, is sufficient for establishing a free society. Unfortunately for them, they are sorely mistaken. Tyranny can still manifest itself even in a society that operates on a capitalist economy. To quote Milton Friedman, "Capitalism is a necessary condition for freedom, but not a sufficient condition." For proof of this, simply observe the modern People's Republic of China, a nation which completely abandoned Socialism in 1979 and replaced it with capitalism, but which still maintains a tyrannical and authoritarian government under which the people have few rights or liberties.

In light of this discrepancy, distinguishing between Socialism and other forms of tyranny is extremely important, which is why I've taken it upon myself to point out the atrocious and abhorrent errors in Paul Skousen's line of reasoning. To begin, here is an excerpt from the book, page 128:

As you can plainly see (at least I hope it's plain), Skousen's understanding of Socialism is incredibly sketchy and convoluted. It's as though he had only a cursory understanding of the topic before deciding to write his book.

1984: The movie adaptation of 1984 (which was ironically released in the year 1984) was based on the 1949 novel of the same name by George Orwell, and nothing written by George Orwell can be considered anti-Socialist because George Orwell was a Socialist! Many people are surprised when they learn this fact, considering the heavy anti-totalitarian themes of Orwell's novels. However, when we recognize that George Orwell (whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, by the way) was a proponent of Trotskyism, a specific sect of Socialism which was annihilated by Joseph Stalin because he viewed Leon Trotsky as a political rival, then the reason for George Orwell's anti-totalitarian themes become more clear – he was a victim of Stalinist oppression. His earlier book, Animal Farm (published in 1945), presents a satirical fairy tale about the political clash between Stalin and Trotsky, who are depicted as farm pigs named Napoleon and Snowball. I'm not promoting Socialism here (I personally oppose all forms of Socialism), but those who try to say that any of George Orwell's stories are anti-Socialist are demonstrating gross ignorance about George Orwell's personal political beliefs.

Fahrenheit 451: I haven't seen this movie nor read the book, so I can't comment on it.

THX 1138: Released in 1971, this was George Lucas' first professional film (though he had previously made a student version in school), and marked his directorial debut. Much of the visual imagery from the film feels very reminiscent of the original Star Wars trilogy, and this is also where George Lucas got the name for his famous THX sound system. I personally found it to be an incredibly boring movie, but that's beside the point. The point is that this movie has about as much to do with Socialism as the Star Wars movies do. That is, nothing at all. This is a film about totalitarianism, certainly, but there is no trace of Socialism anywhere in it. Regarding the final chase scene at the end of the movie, the hero gets away for no other reason than because the robot police simply stop chasing him due to the cost of his capture exceeding the allotted budget set by the fictional government in the film. However, this cannot be called "true socialist fashion" because Socialism is an economic theory in which money does not even exist. (Also, the hero already had a mate, and he never demands a new one at any point in the movie.) Honestly, it's as if Paul Skousen has no understanding of this subject at all.

V for Vendetta: Directed by James McTeigu, this 2005 film has absolutely nothing to do with Socialism. It's about Facism versus Anarchy. On top of that, Alan Moore and David Lloyd (the writer and the artist of the original comic book, respectively) are both liberals, and created V for Vendetta as a warning about what could potentially happen if the political-right in England were to completely take over the government of that country. The Wachoiskis (directors of The Matrix) wrote the script for the film adaptation, and they're extremely liberal as well (one of the Wachoiskis – Lanna – is even a male-to-female transsexual). Plus there's also the fact that V for Vendetta blatantly and openly promotes gay rights, so Paul Skousen's endorsement of the film seems rather curious, considering his own obviously homophobic comments in "The Naked Socialist" where he states that homosexuality and transsexuality are degenerate, unnatural, abnormal, and unhealthy (page 486). V for Vendetta is certainly a story about government tyranny and totalitarianism, but Socialism has no part in it. Socialism is always tyranny, but tyranny is not always Socialism. This is a critical and fundamental distinction which is completely lost on Skousen.

The Village: M. Night Shyamalan's 2004 horror film is not about Socialism – it's about religious oppression. Never, at any point in the entire movie, is the subject of economics ever brought up. There is no mention of either Socialism or Capitalism in the film, nor any other economic system. The people who live outside of the village are never referred to as Capitalists, nor are the people in the village ever referred to as Socialists. This movie is about how religious dogma can prey on people's natural superstitions in order to blind them to rational thinking and keep them under control. It's an important message, but Socialism has nothing to do with it.

The Matrix: Paul Skousen's description of the Wachowskis' 1999 blockbuster hit is especially absurd. Once again, he demonstrates his inability to distinguish between Socialism and other forms of tyranny and servitude. The Matrix has nothing to do with Socialism, but rather is about being a slave to the system and then escaping that system. Skousen apparently thinks that the only type of system one can be a slave to is Socialism, but in truth, an individual can be a slave under just about any system, even Capitalism. If we were to draw analogies from The Matrix to the real world, the slave system that the movie most obviously seems to depict is not Socialism at all, but rather corporate America at the end of the 20th century. How Skousen could get such a fundamental point of the movie so horribly wrong is absolutely mind-boggling.

The Cleansing of America - A Critical Review

I recently finished reading "The Cleansing of America," by W. Cleon Skousen. This is a repost of my review from, which you can read here.

The Cleansing of America

by W. Cleon Skousen

An awful, unconstitutional endorsement of genocide and theocracy


My god, what a terrible book. I've never seen so many historical inaccuracies, distortions, and outright lies before in my life. The author claims that he wants to restore America to its Constitutional roots, but then the book focuses on how the United States is essentially unsalvageable at this point and will inevitably collapse in a coming apocalypse, and he lays out a vague plan for establishing what is essentially a communist theocracy afterwards, and has the gall to label it as "Constitutional."

Throughout the entire book, Skousen frequently endorses the idea of combining church and state, creating a theocratic government based on "God's Law," even though the U.S. Constitution is specifically intended to guarantee the separation of church and state, due to the fact that many European settlers fled to America to escape the religious persecution of European kings (the inevitable result of combining religion with government). Skousen also contradicts himself on whether or not there will be freedom of religion in this new, post-apocalyptic government. At one point he says that the society will be open and welcoming only to people who bend the knee and confess that Jesus is the Christ, and then later saying that the society will be open to people of all faiths (no mention of atheists), but that the Mormon church will still act as the head of government, reigning supreme over everyone and controlling how people are permitted to interpret "God's Law." This directly contradicts Mormon doctrine in D&C 134:9, which states "We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government [...]." But apparently Skousen only believes in following the teachings of his church if it fits with his agenda...

Skousen is also guilty of perpetuating the lie that Adolf Hitler was an atheist, when all documented and verifiable evidence clearly indicates that Hitler was Roman Catholic.

In addition to encouraging ideas which violate the Constitution (and labeling those ideas as "Constitutional"), Skousen also makes several assertions which are scientifically and demonstrably wrong, such as saying that AIDS is a highly contagious disease and can be transmitted via saliva (neither of which are true), and also condemning homosexuality and implying that AIDS is God's punishment for immorality, and that everyone with HIV should be quarantined. Never mind the fact that imposing a quarantine on such a large segment of the population would be impractical, it's also unnecessary because AIDS does not qualify as a highly contagious disease according to the official scientific definition of the term. The HIV virus can only be transmitted through blood, semen, breast milk, and vaginal secretions; it cannot be transmitted through saliva. In order for any disease to be officially and scientifically classified as highly contagious, that disease must be transmittable simply by close proximity to or casual contact with an infected person. HIV, which requires the exchange of bodily fluids, does not meet that qualification, and therefore cannot be classified as highly contagious. But scientific truth and accuracy don't seem to be among Skousen's strong points.

Skousen also goes on to say that because AIDS is God's punishment for the wicked, we should never look into trying to find a cure for it or provide treatment for anyone who is infected, and that we should refuse to support or vote for any politicians who endorse medical research into HIV as part of their political platform. Seriously. Skousen actually said we should not conduct medical research into HIV. What kind of backwater lunatic actually suggests something so horrible? Apparently Skousen not only hates scientific progress, but he also hates healing the sick. Christ would be ashamed.

But the atrocities don't end there. Skousen also makes subtle hints towards endorsing genocide by saying that there is a constant need to "cleanse" society of transgressors. At the end there is even a so called prophecy (based on nothing more than some random person's dream) where an angel pours a bottle of poison into an ocean, killing everything in it. And we're supposed to believe that this sort of thing is the will of God? Apparently Skousen would have us believe that God is a genocidal maniac...

Skousen also proposes a few bizarre theories, the first being that not only are the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel still around and intact as a single group, but that they're actually living under the ice in the Arctic Circle. Either that or they're in outer space somewhere, and will come down to Earth via a bridge in the Arctic Circle. Skousen isn't entirely clear on this point, but either way it's a completely ridiculous theory.

Another pet theory that Skousen purports (one that shows up in several of his books, including his most popular title, "The 5,000 Year Leap") is that the U.S. Constitution and the organization of the U.S. Government are supposedly based on the government of the Anglo-Saxons, and that there is some kind of mysterious connection between the Anglo-Saxons and ancient Israel, who Skousen claims had almost identical systems of government. Although it is true that Thomas Jefferson did have an incredible fascination with the Anglo-Saxons, it's important to remember that the Constitution was written mostly by James Madison, so it's highly unlikely that the Founding Fathers drew much, if any, inspiration from the Anglo-Saxons. And the connection between the Anglo-Saxons and ancient Israel is even more tenuous, given that the only thing the two societies actually had in common was that they both organized society by dividing people into a pyramid-like social structure, with leaders at the top, subordinates beneath them, and smaller, more manageable groups beneath them. Of course the fact that almost EVERY society is divided into such a pyramid-like structure seems to escape Skousen, but that doesn't stop him from insisting that there's some kind of connection, even though there is no legitimate evidence to support such a theory.

Skousen also spends a great deal of time explaining the structure of the Law of Consecration, or as I like to call it, the Mormon Communism. Now Skousen openly acknowledges that there are some striking similarities (almost perfect parallels, in fact) between Communism and the Law of Consecration, and he also admits that both have failed whenever they have been attempted. But Skousen insists that the Law of Consecration is good, and that it only failed because people just aren't good enough to live by it (which is the exact same excuse that Communists make, by the way).

One especially disturbing point about Skousen's hypothetical New World Order is that he blatantly encourages the violation of the Sixth Amendment by stating that the right to a trial by a jury should be abolished, and persons accused of crimes would no longer be permitted to have lawyers to defend them in court. Instead, a single judge holds all the power and authority of the entire court by himself, and gets to decide the fate of the accused without regard to anything or anyone else. That sure doesn't sound like a fair court system to me, and it's certainly not Constitutional. Yet this is precisely what Skousen has proposed. The image of the Constitution on the book's cover apparently serves as nothing more than a mockery to the document, as almost none of the ideas in this book can rightly be called Constitutional in the slightest.

On top of that, Skousen even claimed that because immorality supposedly thrives in large cities, government should enact measures to spread the population out over a wider area and force everyone to live in smaller, more manageable towns. That's right – W. Cleon Skousen, the famed Mormon writer and would-be historian who supposedly hated Communism... was an advocate of central planning.

Apparently the destruction of personal freedom and individual liberty are only bad things when they're done by Communists...

As a side note, any reader (especially those who are members of the LDS church) should be aware that not only has Brigham Young University (where Skousen taught as a professor) asked Skousen to recant certain parts of his writings, so has the leadership of the LDS church. So if you're a Mormon who believes in the leadership of the church, just keep in mind that said leadership has told Skousen he's wrong and that he should recant.

If you're not a member of the Mormon church, then you should know that virtually none of Skousen's theories or prophecies are based on the Bible, but rather come almost entirely from the writings of Mormon leaders and Mormon scriptures, with "The Doctrine and Covenants" being used as the dominating source of information. If you're a Christian looking for genuine Biblical prophecy, you will find none here.

Back in January 2011, Christopher Hitchens wrote a wonderful article for Vanity Fair titled "Tea'd Off," in which he goes into detail about the repulsive and virulent racism and bigotry which Skousen's works are injecting back into society, resulting in the radical, openly hostile and often violent Tea Party movement. I highly recommend reading it.

Read "Tea'd Off," by Christopher Hitchens

Ultimately, "The Cleansing of America" is a destructive, genocidal, racist, homophobic, scientifically false piece of quasi-Communist Mormon propaganda, and society would be better off if this abominable work were buried and forgotten. I give this book one star, but only because that's the minimum Amazon reviews will allow. In all honesty, it doesn't deserve any.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Whelp, I've finally done it. I've finally decided to start a blog. Why, you ask? Well, there are a lot of  things I've been struggling to understand lately ‒  namely politics and economics ‒  and I thought it would be a good idea to have a place to collect all my thoughts and reflect on various current events, as well as speculate on how those events relate to various social theories and conceptual models of society.

This blog will act as a sort of personal journal detailing my thoughts about ongoing current events and particular political groups and their impact on society. It's possible my opinions on certain issues may change over time as I learn new things and gather more information, but I'll try to remain as consistent as humanly possible. However, please keep in mind that life is (or at least I believe it should be) a process of continual learning and perpetual engagement, and there may be times where I might gain new information which refutes or contradicts something I previously believed or said. In these situations, I ask for your patience and understanding as I progress in my knowledge.

Anyway, a little about myself...

I was born in Santa Monica, California in June of 1986, though I've spent most of my life growing up in Utah. I'm a proud Ex-Mormon and a member of the LGBT community, and I strongly support LGBT rights.

Over the past few years I've been reading various self-help books regarding financial success, and this has led me to seek out knowledge regarding economic theory, which I'm currently in the process of studying.

Some of the self-help books I've read so far include Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki (along with several other of Robert Kiyosaki's books), How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, The Law of Success, by Napoleon Hill, and Think and Grow Rich, also by Napoleon Hill. I'm also currently reading The Social Capitalist, by Josh Lannon and Lisa Lannon.

About a year ago I finished reading Ayn Rand's infamous novel "Atlas Shrugged" for the first time, and I highly enjoyed it. In fact, I became deeply interested in Ayn Rand for a few months, though the more I read and studied about her philosophy of Objectivism, the weaker her ideas seemed to become to me, until I reached a point where I had to dismiss them entirely. I'm still studying Ayn Rand's philosophy, as there are quite a few things here and there that I really like about it, but there are many things I don't like as well, and in the end it just seems too simplistic to be a viable solution to our current economic problems. I highly enjoy Ayn Rand's fiction, but the ideas expressed in her non-fiction work generally feel half-baked, impractical, and short sighted.

I've read a little bit of Stefan Molyneux's work regarding so-called practical anarchy, in which he advocates the idea that human beings don't need government. Molyneux presents some interesting arguments, but ultimately I consider his ideas to be even more deeply flawed than Ayn Rand's. At least Ayn Rand had the sense to acknowledge that we need SOME government, even if she did put unrealistic limitations on its scope of responsibilities.

A little over a year ago, I decided that I needed to understand socialism better, since it's a topic everyone seems to have strong feelings about, though no one seems to quite know exactly what it is. With this goal of understanding socialism in mind, I read "The Naked Socialist," by Paul B. Skousen, which I devoured in about two weeks and then internalized for a few months, but then ultimately rejected as mostly false. There were a few tidbits of good information, but a vast majority of the book amounted to little more than insubstantial conspiracy theories and right-wing propaganda and hate speech. It had not provided me with the deep understanding I had been looking for.

And so, because anti-socialist writers have failed to adequately explain socialism to my satisfaction, I've decided to go straight to the source: I'm reading Karl Marx.

Specifically, I'm reading volume one of Karl Marx's magnum opus, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. I've already read "The Communist Manifesto," which struck me as an incredibly illogical manuscript with terrible ideas, so I have my doubts as to whether "Das Kapital" will be much better. But my goal here is to understand socialism, even if it is an impractical and misguided philosophy.

Anyway, I think that's all for now. I hope I've provided a decent insight into what this blog will be exploring, and I look forward to writing more soon.

Maphesdus out.