Why Worry About the Gradual Loss of our Liberties?
Un der the Polish communist system, as elsewhere behind the “Iron Curtain,” physicians
were all state employees who were paid little more than unskilled laborers. This eminent
Polish plastic surgeon made far less from his professional activities than he and his wife
earned by raising tomatoes in a greenhouse, as small-scale, entrepreneurial farming was
one of the few free market activities grudgingly allowed to individuals under Polish
When each of his two sons graduated from high school, Dave took the young man to
Europe to visit his European physician colleagues and their families, but also to show his
sons first hand the stark contrast between life under communism and life in the West. The
contrast between East and West Germany was especially dramatic. This divided country
with a common heritage and ethnic identity differed as night and day, with poverty,
scarcity of consumer goods and a repressive police state in the east. But as soon as father
and son drove across the border into West Germany they found prosperity, a wealth of
consumer goods readily available, and a free and open society. It was like seeing a
motion picture in dreary black and white that suddenly comes to life in brilliant color.
Dave found this remarkable. He described in fascinating detail his visits behind the Iron
Curtain and the conversations he had with his colleagues there who felt safe in talking
with their trusted American friend about conditions of life under communist rule.
Two examples illustrate the wealth of knowledge Dave gained by his first-hand
investigation of conditions behind the Iron Curtain.
Dave asked a young man who was in the Polish army reserves whether he would obey
orders to fight in case of the outbreak of war between the communist countries and the
NATO allies. The young man said that he would, but that the Russians so mistrusted the
loyalty of the Poles that they allowed the Polish army only enough bullets for one day of
combat! When asked if he would fight the Russians to liberate Poland, the young man
exclaimed, “gladly!” On another occasion, at a dinner party, glasses of vodka were
hoisted to toast their American friend, but the Poles’ second toast was to President
Reagan, because the Poles revered him for his stalwart opposition to Communist rule of
their country and his denunciation of the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire.” This was a
characterization which the Poles most heartily endorsed as they felt themselves to be
subjects of a harsh tyranny centered in Moscow.
The sub-title of this book is What We All Must Know about True Capitalism and
Creeping Socialism. This sub-title is our entrée into an informed discussion of the virtues
and values of freedom and free enterprise. It is the thesis of the book that it is our relative
freedom and the system of free enterprise (“Capitalism”) that transformed America from
a small, impoverished backward country to the world’s most powerful nation and the
leader of the free world in just 140 years, from 1776 to 1917, when America rescued
Europe from the brutal stalemate of World War I.
In a thorough and logical presentation, Dave explains the sources of America’s freedom
and prosperity in contrast to the basis and philosophy of an altogether different system,
Socialism. He describes the spread of the socialist ideology and its disastrous
consequences in a variety of contexts including small-scale and shortlived voluntary
socialist experiments, entire countries adopting socialism under a system of