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Back to basics: in Overview of America, John Birch Society President John F. McManus clears away the cobwebs that obscure the facts about politics and economics.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, few, if any, have done more than John F. McManus to remind the American people of their unique and important political and economic heritage. Over the years, McManus has delivered a presentation that he developed in which he describes in clear terms the basic precepts upon which America was founded and then describes in similar, clear, but moving, terms the challenges and dangers the nation faces. Now, in an exclusive direct-to-home video DVD entitled Overview of America, McManus, the president of the John Birch Society, brings part of his presentation to the home audience. Even though the 32-minute production is only one part of the longer presentation that he has given for years, this release contains such a clear and compelling description of the fundamental tenets of our nation's founding political ideals as to make it required viewing for all citizens.

Freedom and Greatness

In this presentation McManus begins with a fundamental question: "Why is America great?" Is it because we were a nation of hardworking immigrants? Is it because of the country's vast natural resources? Is it because our government carefully planned and orchestrated the nation's success? Some have pointed to these as factors in the past, but McManus says that these interpretations are wrong. America is great, he notes, because government is prevented from interfering with the lives and freedoms of its citizens. "What set America apart from other lands was freedom for the individual--freedom to work, to produce, to succeed, and especially to keep the fruits of one's labors," McManus points out. "America became great precisely because the stifling effect of too much government had been prevented."

Freedom, history shows, allows a people to prosper. This was true in ancient Greece just as it was true in ancient Rome. Adam Smith, at great length, proved it to be true in England in the late 18th century. At the same time, the American Founding Fathers knew it to be true as well. They took pains to ensure that their newly formed government would be constituted in such a manner that it would be prevented from stifling both the God-given freedoms of the people and the progress that inevitably results from the exercise of those freedoms.

Unfortunately, since the turn of the 20th century, there has been a precipitous decline in the political and economic understanding of the American people, allowing demagogues and charlatans to confuse and obscure. To see that this is true, consider the word democracy. The Founding Fathers abhorred this form of government, thinking it unstable and dangerous. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was one of democracy's harshest critics. In The Federalist Papers, Madison warned of its dangers. "Democracies," Madison wrote, "have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." And yet today, what school child does not "know" that America is a democracy?

For those holding on to both the myth of American democracy and other myths about America's political and economic basis, Overview of America will be a revelation.

Political-economic Fundamentals

Not only does McManus give a clear and compelling description of the types of governments, he does the same with the various economic systems. McManus, quite brilliantly, argues that the way to judge or compare economic systems is through an analysis of ownership and control of capital.

McManus observes: "In the last century or so, there have been basically four forms of state-controlled economies, all on the far left of the economic spectrum: fascism, Nazism, socialism, and communism. In each, the government controls the capital. The difference among these is how much is owned or controlled outright by the government." In all of these types of political-economic arrangements, the government, which is invariably a despotic oligarchy, controls the means of production, even if it does not outright own them. The only alternative to this type of predatory economic arrangement is a free marketplace, wherein all people remain free to exercise their God-given rights and abilities and to keep and exchange the product of their labor as they see fit.

Another Question--and an Answer

Overview of America is an outstanding introduction to the basic principles underlying the American political and economic system. But those expecting the polish of a DVD released by one of the major Hollywood film studios will be somewhat disappointed. As good as this DVD is in its content, it lacks the visual flash of big-budget productions. And there are those who will bemoan the fact that Mr. McManus does not appear on-screen. He has a tremendous presence, exuding dignity, and his visual presence would have enhanced the viewer's experience. This does not detract, however, from the DVD's many fine points, most especially McManus' outstanding narration and clear, incisive commentary.

At this juncture in its history, America faces a choice. The prevailing media-political establishment favors the gradual transition of this nation into some form of a fascist or socialist state, similar to those taking shape in the European Union and elsewhere. As an alternative to this vision there are the venerable traditions and ideals of liberty upon which this nation was founded. Which direction should this nation take? The establishment propaganda mill ceaselessly promotes a future of greater government control and intervention, making this future seem both inevitable and desirable. McManus' Overview of America is a potent antidote to this vision of the future. This new DVD should be required viewing for all Americans concerned about the future of their nation and the world.

To order the video Overview of America, see the ad on the inside front cover.
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Author:Behreandt, Dennis
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 15, 2006
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