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In communities across our country, Americans are debating Critical Race Theory, vaccine mandates, tax increases, rising inflation, online censorship, and a host of other important issues.
We have serious decisions to make about the future of our nation. Do we want big government, or limited government? Do we want to work hard and keep what we earn, or do we want government to decide how our money is spent? Do we want our children to learn how to think in school, or be told what to think? Do we want to make our own decisions about health care, or should the federal government dictate our treatments? Should American companies compete on a level playing field, or should Washington decide who wins and loses?
Speaker Gingrich analyzes these questions, describes the polling that shows what the American Majority wants, and illustrates how we can create a safer, more prosperous, and secure future for America.
In Defeating Big Government Socialism, best-selling author and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich explains how Americans must confront Big Government Socialism, which has taken over the modern Democratic Party, big business, news media, entertainment, and academia. He also offers strategies and insights for everyday citizens to save America’s future and ensure it remains the greatest nation on earth.
This book is about the rise of Big Government Socialism in America and is a guide to winning the arguments around elections—upcoming and beyond. It comes from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s rule that “first you win the argument, then you win the vote.”
The 2022 and 2024 elections are among the most vital in American history. Down one road is continued decay and decline under Big Government Socialism and obsolete, unionized, gigantic bureaucracies. Down the other road is a revitalization of the American system of patriotism, hard work, free enterprise, and continuous problem solving.
I wrote this book because I believe that the United States is in deep trouble. If we are complacent, we will cease to be a free nation. We face both domestic and foreign threats to our survival.
This book is designed to enable you, the citizens, to win the argument with your friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers. The goal is to help encourage Americans to save their own country by understanding what is threatening us and what we must do to survive as a free, prosperous, and safe nation.
The threats at home and abroad are real.
The core tenets of Big Government Socialism—wealth redistribution, woke thought-policing, and dictatorial government control—have become the core tenets of the American Democratic Party. The few moderates who are left are either being coerced to fall in line or pushed out of office by the radical wing, which has taken over. As I detail in this book, the rise of the Big Government Socialists is only going to create more problems, divisions, and conflicts in America.
The rise of Communist China is an existential threat. Many of our elites refuse to even recognize the threat from Beijing. (For many, it is because they make so much money from China and put profit above patriotism.) Our bureaucracies refuse to modernize at a rate necessary to compete with China. Our news media is too filled with trivia, gossip, and childish stories to truly educate the country and host a debate about how to succeed in the competition with the Chinese Communist dictatorship.
On a more immediate and conventional note, Vladimir Putin’s ability to focus Russian resources on military power has been increased dramatically by the Biden administration’s effort to cut American oil and gas production. This is increasing the value and profit of Russian production—and the leverage they get through Western European dependence on Russian natural gas. As we saw with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Biden administration strategy for coping with Russian adventurism is insufficient. At the time of this writing in early March, the Ukrainians are heroically defending themselves against Putin’s aggression.
Between the Iranian dictatorship’s focus on acquiring nuclear weapons, the North Korean focus on matching nuclear weapons with delivery systems capable of reaching the United States, and the steadily growing worldwide threat of Islamist radical terrorism, the dangers of a cataclysmic, America-crippling event compound. As the foreign clouds continue to darken and grow, the threats to freedom here at home are also expanding.
As a member of Congress and Speaker of the House, I swore to defend the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Today there are enemies of freedom abroad seeking our defeat. Tragically, there are also those who would destroy freedom here at home (some deliberately and some out of ignorance).
The decay of freedom here at home was impressed upon me during a visit to Capitol Hill in the fall of 2021.
I was there to speak to the Republican Study Committee at its weekly lunch. The Study Committee is the largest organization of conservative Republicans in the House. They had more than sixty members at lunch, including the number two House Republican, Steve Scalise, who chaired the Study Committee before winning election as Whip.
After I spoke and took questions, Scalise and Representative Jim Banks (the leader of the Study Committee and a rising star in House Republican activities) both asked me to join them and walk on the House floor. I was both flattered and intrigued. I had not been on the House floor since I left the Congress in 1999. My wife, Callista, and I were in the visitors’ gallery when Pope Francis spoke in 2015, but I felt as a former Speaker that I should not get too close to the daily business of the House. That was the job of the currently elected members and the leadership.
Scalise and Banks explained that they thought it would shake up the Democrats to see me back on the floor working on the Republican victory in 2022. It sounded like fun, and I agreed to join them in venturing into the heart of Nancy Pelosi Land. The journey from the room in the visitors’ center to the floor was a lot more revealing and sobering than I would have expected.
The difference in atmosphere between the Senate’s wing of the Capitol and the House’s wing was stunning. It was the opposite of what I would have expected from my twenty-year experience as a House member. Traditionally, the one-hundred-member Senate is the more austere and dignified body. After all, its members serve six-year terms, and only one-third of them seek reelection each election cycle. The House is much larger, and each one of its 435 members must run for reelection every two years. It is traditionally more casual, more open, and generally friendlier.
I often tell audiences that the best way to imagine the two cultures is that the Senate is a country club, and the House is a truck stop (and I mean that with the utmost affection). However, under the Pelosi dictatorship, the House has become a hostile center of paranoia and negativity. The Senate survived COVID-19 and the riot of January 6, 2021, with a resilience that helped it remain the institution it had become over the previous generations. Senators in both parties still talk with each other despite partisan differences. On secondary and smaller issues, Democrats and Republicans work together and often produce bipartisan solutions that pass by unanimous consent or with sizable bipartisan majorities.
As I walked through the corridors of the three Senate office buildings, members and staff from the Democratic side greeted me, and there was a feeling that we were all in this business of self-government together—even if we disagreed philosophically and in partisan identity. The militant hostility of the left-wing House Democrats has not permeated the Senate, even though members such as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were clearly advocates for a more radical—indeed socialist—America.
I felt that I could walk freely through Senate office buildings and even in the Senate side of the Capitol. However, as I crossed the great Rotunda at the center of the Capitol Building, I immediately knew I was entering a vastly different environment. On the House side, there was a profound feeling of paranoia, control, harsh partisanship, and rigidity.
I had first experienced this new more closed, more policed House a few months earlier when I went to the Cannon House Office Building for a meeting with the staff of the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS). This was an activist group of conservative members that I had helped organize thirty-nine years ago. COS had been the weekly action planning meeting for a dozen or more House Republicans starting in 1983. Its goal was to create a more activist, militant House Republican Party that was willing to fight to be in the majority. (At that time, we had been in the minority for twenty-nine years.) It was this activist cadre of energetic members who created the issue base and floor debating capability that would grow eleven years later into the first House Republican majority in forty years.
I was shocked when I arrived at the Cannon Building and was forced to produce my driver’s license to prove who I was. (I don’t mean this out of conceit or self-importance. As a former Speaker, I have never had to ask permission or clearance to enter congressional buildings since I left Congress.) The congressional staffer who had volunteered to come get me had to sign me in, indicate what meeting I was going to and where, and get a visitor’s badge, which I had to return upon leaving. I learned that all meetings held with whistleblowers now had to occur off the Hill, because no whistleblower wanted Pelosi’s police and staff to know with whom and where they were meeting.
When I eventually met with the COS staff, my sense that things had dramatically changed was confirmed. Several veteran Republican staff members told me they had never seen the level of vicious partisanship that currently exists in the House. Even younger staff members said they were regularly treated as “enemies of the state” by Democratic members and staff. This was my first personal experience of the dictatorial, paranoid, ruthless control system Pelosi has imposed.
When I arrived at the floor of the House with Representatives Banks and Scalise weeks later, I had a similar, but even more controlled, experience. Even though we had already been screened to get into the Capitol Building, there was an additional layer of security that controlled the House floor. The entrances to the floor had metal detectors exactly like the ones used by the Transportation Security Administration at airports.
A certain amount of security would have been understandable after the January 6, 2021, attacks, but this was beyond reason. Pelosi and the Democrats were acting as though Republican members themselves were a threat. Duly elected members of Congress, who had been selected by their fellow citizens to lead the country, had to obey the petty rules or pay fines—or even be physically blocked from entering the House Chamber. It was clear the staff was dominant, and the members were subordinate.
All these control elements distanced the members from the citizens they were supposed to represent. In the nineteenth century, folks would drop in and hang out in the galleries, drinking and watching the entertainment of House debate. On occasion, libations would be sent to the floor to enable long-talking members to refresh themselves. The atmosphere was collegial, and members were simply elected citizens who did not see themselves as separate from the voters who sent them there.
When I arrived in 1979, the House was still an amazingly open place, as were the Capitol grounds. The idea of building fences, calling out the National Guard, having a huge police force, imposing mask mandates on members, and restricting or eliminating public access would have struck us as a violation of the nature of the American system of freedom and representative self-government. For the twenty years I served in the House, interns could take large groups of visitors from back home through the Capitol with a sense of freedom, because it was the People’s House. We treasured it, and we defended its openness and its sense of equality between members and citizens. We felt we were representatives, and we owed familiarity to those we represented. This was true for Republicans and Democrats alike. We all understood that while we disagreed on matters of policy, we were all still there to do the People’s work—with their consent. The House floor I was visiting under Pelosi was a starkly different place. It is clear she runs a dictatorship based on fear and ruthlessness that we have not seen in any other Speakership in American history. She has turned the People’s House into Pelosi’s House.
The Speaker of the House is the second most powerful elected official in Washington after the president of the United States. Technically, a Speaker who has a one-vote majority (218–217) could do virtually anything as long as he or she can keep that one vote. Senate majority leaders have much less direct, raw power—and must work with their ninety-nine colleagues. Under Senate rules, any single member can wreak havoc on the system and cause virtually everything to grind to a halt (the careers of Senators Jesse Helms and Bob Byrd were built in part on this ability to bring everything to a halt until they got what they wanted). Few senators exercise these rights to the fullest because their colleagues could then retaliate by doing the same thing to them and blocking everything they tried to get done. Nonetheless, the power of individual senators within the rules of the Senate are vastly greater than the power of individual members of the House.
What has limited Speakers in the past from using their potential power to the fullest has been a series of constitutional and House rules—and precedents that protect both the individual member and the two political parties. I had grown up surrounded by this sense of the rights of free people and the important, almost romantic, responsibilities and roles of their elected leaders.
I was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to an extremely patriotic family (many of my relatives had fought in World War II). I was surrounded by the history of a free people. To the east was Philadelphia, with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. When my relatives would take me there to see where George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and other patriots first declared our independence and then developed the U.S. Constitution to preserve our freedoms, I became enthralled with the sense of historic achievement—and the notion that we stood on their shoulders. Their courage, endurance, sacrifice, and brilliance had enabled us to be free—to be Americans.
To the south was Gettysburg. It is the battlefield of the largest clash of the Civil War. Gettysburg was three days of bloodletting that ended General Robert E. Lee’s deepest penetration of the North and saved the Union. It was also the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s address that helped dedicate the first national military cemetery. His brief speech, possibly the best short statement of freedom ever delivered, was something we had to memorize in school. For me, it became a living statement of our faith in God’s gift of freedom to all people—and especially to Americans. Gettysburg had additional meaning because my father went to Gettysburg College before rejoining the Army (he had served in World War II and reenlisted to fight in Korea).
As an Army brat, I grew up surrounded by men and women who dedicated their lives to defending America against all enemies foreign and domestic. Domestic enemies mattered as much as foreign enemies. In my childhood, there really were Soviet agents operating in the United States (as many as five hundred, according to some studies).
At the heart of our unique freedom were the rule of law and the Constitution. The Constitution converted the great promise of the Declaration of Independence, that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights among which were life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” into a practical mechanism for securing those rights. It was clear that the Founding Fathers in Philadelphia in 1787 wanted a government strong enough to protect us from foreign powers—and a Constitution that protected us from our own government.
As I studied history, earned a PhD, and went on to teach and write it, I was increasingly impressed with the role of a free, elected legislature in the protection and implementation of freedom. The magic of the Magna Carta (Great Charter) in 1215, which brought the king under the law and began to establish the principle of no taxation without the consent of the taxed (admittedly in the early days applying only to the nobles), was the base from which our rights increasingly grew and were codified.
The truth is, I deeply admired those who were called the Whig historians. These nineteenth-century British scholars and writers saw the previous six hundred years as progress toward orderly freedom and liberty for everyone. Lord Acton’s dictum that “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely” struck me as a key to understanding the dangers of unlimited power. The extraordinary lifelong effort of William Wilberforce to abolish the slave trade and use the power of the Royal Navy to destroy slave trading was a great example of the power of religious impulse turned into civic achievement. William Pitt’s Britain standing alone against Napoleon’s dictatorship was an amazing foreshadowing of Winston Churchill’s Britain standing alone against Adolf Hitler’s evil regime.
The lessons of history drove home to me why the last line of the first stanza of our national anthem is “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” Those earlier generations understood that if you were not brave, you could not remain free. Indeed, the wars they fought proved their willingness to do what it took to create and preserve genuine freedom. For me, history was filled with the lessons of proud, free people risking everything for their rights and the future of their children, grandchildren, and country.
When I came to Congress after losing twice (in 1974 during Watergate and in 1976 with Jimmy Carter of Georgia at the head of the Democratic ticket), I felt that I was part of the long line of people who had defended freedom and expanded the concept of liberty. This concept of the United States House as a center of freedom was really driven home for me by a visit late in the Soviet era. Under Mikhail Gorbachev’s opening of the Soviet Union (known as perestroika and glasnost), a group of Soviet reporters and editors were allowed to visit Washington. As the Republican Whip (the second-ranking leader when in opposition), I was asked to host the Soviet journalists.
We met in my office just off the House floor, and since we were not in session, I decided to take them on the floor of the House (which in this pre-Pelosi era was open to anyone as long as a member accompanied them). As we talked about how the House worked and its history, it occurred to me that since we were out of session, I could give a couple of the Soviet reporters and editors a unique opportunity. I picked one to stand where the president stands when he gives the State of the Union address and one to sit where the Speaker sits. I explained that the Speaker and the president of the Senate (the vice president of the executive branch) sat above the president, because he was there as their guest, and in their building, they were in charge. I explained the division of powers as a central design of the Founding Fathers to spread power out to avoid dictatorship. This seemed like an especially useful lesson for people just coming out from under the Soviet dictatorship, which of course had centralized all power in the Kremlin.
When we started to leave the chamber, the man who had been sitting in the Speaker’s chair came down, and he was trembling. I asked him if he was okay. He surprised and humbled me with his answer. He explained he was from Latvia, saying, “We Latvians were conquered by the Soviets in 1940, but we never identified with the Russians or the Soviet dictatorship. We were taught over and over that America was the enemy, but we had relatives living in America, and we never believed these lies. Now you have allowed me to sit in the center of freedom on the planet. It is an honor I will treasure all my life.”
I have never forgotten the intensity of his emotions and the principle that made him so emotional. Presidents are essentially elected kings. Out of necessity for national security and practical administration of bureaucracies, the White House centralizes power. So, it is the legislative branch that is the defender of freedom. Each of its members wields a little power, but none can be all-powerful. The Congress represents the bulwark of freedom.
This division of roles between the central leader and the elective system reflects hundreds of years of development in Great Britain. There are lessons from the English Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship of Oliver Cromwell that deeply impressed our Founding Fathers more than a century later. Our Founders were determined to protect us from our own government by distributing power.
It was against this background that I was deeply sobered by venturing into the Pelosi system of centralized control, police ordering elected members around, and members being treated as potential terrorists. Forcing members of Congress to feel subordinated to a central authority in this way is a complete break with the American tradition of freedom and ordered liberty under the Constitution and the rule of law.
Speaker Pelosi’s arrogance was captured back in 2010 during the fight over Obamacare when she told a gathering of state and local officials, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” This style of insisting on a “yes” vote from members who are ignorant of what they are voting on has become the hallmark of the Pelosi system. Bills with thousands of pages of detail—and trillions of dollars in spending—are brought forth without hearings or time for anyone to really understand what is in them. The result is profoundly bad legislation that contains many “poison pill” items that the public deeply oppose. The Democrat members loyally vote “yes” because they are told to—not because they know what they are supporting.
Under the Pelosi Speakership, the House schedule for meetings is kept purposefully limited, so members do not have the time to get together and organize resistance. As I sat on the floor of this new Speaker-defined House, it struck me that our freedoms were being eroded, and the institution the Founding Fathers had designed to be the closest to the people was now isolated by a willful leader who had contempt for the people and their representatives. She wants her will to be done, not the will of the American people.
This visit to the House floor made clear to me how vital it was to renew the American system of self-government. We need strong citizens and limited bureaucracies. Achieving this means defeating the Pelosi dictatorship and the Big Government Socialism it is attempting to impose on all Americans. At the same time, I hope this book will launch a generation of modernization, renewal, and revitalization that will enable us to extend freedom to every American while outstripping all foreign threats.
Our nation must be a free, safe, prosperous, self-governing America that operates under the rule of law and the Constitution. I hope you will find this book helpful in winning this argument and building a better future for all Americans.
BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALISM ISN’T WORKING—AND IT CAN’T
We must win a set of arguments to defeat Big Government Socialism.
By Big Government Socialism, I mean the fanatical belief on the American left that claims a better, fairer future can be created if a gigantically powerful government controls or owns production and is guided by massive bureaucracies of professionals who focus on process rather than achievement. This is not the idyllic, pseudo-utopian, (and fictional) Scandinavian-style socialism to which American progressives like to allude. It is a big, formidable, technologically enhanced version of socialism—which has roots in the system that was developed by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx and brutally imposed on people by Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and other ruthless tyrants.
First, we must win the argument that Big Government Socialism is not working. This should be the easy one. For the last year and a half, we have had vivid proof of this. Big bureaucratic government has proven it can’t control the border, reduce crime, withdraw effectively from Afghanistan, modernize fast enough to compete with China, get schools to educate effectively, cope with the challenges of a pandemic, or perform a litany of other duties vital to our survival. Again and again, we are witnesses to systems not working.
The degree to which Big Government Socialism’s bureaucratic structures get out of touch with reality was vividly illustrated in early 2022, when Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted: “Because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, America is moving again. That’s what infrastructure is all about: getting people moving.”1 Unfortunately for her, that tweet went out as hundreds of people were stranded for up to twenty-four hours on Interstate 95 south of Washington, D.C., in dangerous icy conditions.2 It just reinforced the sense that big government doesn’t know what is going on.
The entire experience of public health systems breaking down during the COVID-19 pandemic is a clear example of how much Big Government Socialism simply can’t deliver the speed and quality that people expect. Any serious analysis of the last two and a half years since the emergence of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, would illustrate the confusion, lack of information, changing analyses, conflicting advice, and unrealistic rules. Hundreds of thousands of Americans could still be alive today if the public health system were not an obsolete collection of widely differing local organizations and an increasingly bureaucratic, incompetent, and self-protecting federal bureaucracy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institutes of Health.
Compare the difference in death rates from COVID-19 in well-organized countries such as Singapore, Japan, and South Korea with the American tragedy. According to data compiled by Statista,3 as of February 10, 2022, Singapore has seen a COVID-19 death rate of 154.36 people per million. Japan’s rate was 156.62 per million, and South Korea’s is 134.66. By contrast, U.S. deaths per million people were reported at a tragically astonishing 2,765.79. The gap in death rates was more than just an East Asian phenomenon. Canada (934.15), Denmark (673.88), Finland (385.12), and Australia (174.34) all had better outcomes and saved more lives than the United States. India, which has a larger, more dense population than the United States, saw a per-million death rate of 370.69. America’s underperformance of public health was profound. Ineffective, Washington-based Big Government Socialist COVID-19 policies affected every state in the country.
Our government school system has fallen further behind Chinese and Indian schools in preparing young people to succeed in a competitive world. In some cities, the collapse of government-run schools is startling. In Baltimore, for example, in 2017 there were six schools in which not a single student had been able to pass the state exams.4 In thirteen other Baltimore schools the same year, no students were proficient in math.5 In 2019, only 10.7 percent of sixth to eighth graders in Baltimore were proficient in math, and only 9.2 percent of high schoolers were proficient in Algebra I. Yet the answer to this stunning failure (which hits minorities and the poor especially hard) has been for teachers’ unions to demand more power. They are placing students last while protecting incompetent, nonperforming teachers—and the entire system of failure. The process of “dumbing down” American education has been astonishingly fast and deeply destructive for students and national security. Faced with obvious failure, the teachers’ unions and their allies have moved to eliminate grades, minimize mathematics, eliminate advanced classes, and seek to hide failures in a sea of mediocrity.
- “America is being crippled by a Big Government Socialist agenda. In this book, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich outlines how we can defeat these destructive policies and create the prosperous, safe country that the American Majority wants. This is a must-read.”—Sean Hannity, Radio and Fox News host
- “Defeating Big Government Socialism is the fight I have dedicated my entire life to. Newt has spent more than two of my lifetimes doing the same. This book is the roadmap for how to win that fight, from a tested leader who I trust.”—Charlie Kirk, Founder and President of Turning Point USA
- “Defeating Big Government Socialism is exceptional. America is at risk, and Speaker Newt Gingrich thoughtfully develops a positive agenda so the American Majority can save America’s future from the rise of the Big Government Socialists.”—Larry Kudlow, Former U.S. National Economic Council director
- On Sale
- Jul 11, 2023
- Page Count
- 288 pages
- Center Street