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Just how has crony capitalism in America misled Americans about how capitalism works for the benefit of the average American?
What did the founding fathers tell us about the dangers of centralized power?
And why is religious freedom always one of the first targets of tyrants?
In this episode, we sit down with Jim DeMint, who served for fourteen years in Congress, first in the House and then in the Senate. He is the chairman of the Conservative Partnership Institute and author of “Saving America from Socialism: How to Stop Progressive Attacks on Freedom.”
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Senator Jim DeMint, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Jim DeMint: Great to be with you. Thank you for allowing me to talk about saving America from socialism and how it relates to a whole lot of things that are going on today.
Mr. Jekielek: It’s really incredible, isn’t it? You actually wrote the book Saving Freedom about ten years ago. The subtitle of the book was, “We Can Stop America’s Slide into Socialism.” Now your book Saving America from Socialism: How to Stop Progressive Attacks on Freedom is an update that you’ve come out with. How have we done with all of this?
Jim DeMint: I wrote Saving Freedom before President Obama really had had a chance to change things. I did not anticipate that we would slide towards socialism so quickly. A lot of the things that I warned about, more government control of the financial markets for instance, happened after the 2008 crisis. We see the government now under the Coronavirus regimen of lockdowns taking over so much of our lives, our businesses, the way we live, whether we go to church. The update here is more helping people see what’s already on us. The first edition of the book was more of a warning about what I saw happening after being in the House and the Senate.
Mr. Jekielek: So what did you see happening then? We’ll jump into some more current events shortly.
Mr. DeMint: What I saw was more and more control shifting from individuals, from communities, and from states to the federal government where power was just collecting in Washington. When whenever you have centralized control, you begin to have all the aspects of socialism. You have corruption. Whenever there is power, there is corruption. As more power was moving to Washington, I saw what we now call “the swamp” developing, where even if you elected good people, all the pressures in Washington and influences … Most of them within a relatively short period of time were singing the song, more national control.
We can talk a lot about what that means, and I’ve got it throughout the book, but whenever there’s central control of things, people lose their choices. They lose their freedom, and we see it in all areas of our lives. The whole point of releasing this under Saving America from Socialism is just to be clearer. A lot of people, as you know, think socialism is a good idea. But it’s been tragic throughout history, and we’ve never been closer to socialism. I don’t think it’s so much of a slide anymore. We are going off a cliff now from where we were as a nation, free with free markets and free people, to something that’s very, very different.
Mr. Jekielek: … In the book ten years ago, it was almost, you argue, a bad word to talk about socialism for a lot of people. That has changed quite a bit. The perception has changed. How did that happen?
Mr. DeMint: Well, a lot is through our education systems. We’re not teaching what makes America great and prosperous, not in K through 12, certainly not in our universities. So a lot of our young people are coming out of college believing that socialism is the way to create fairness and equality in our society. That’s why you hear the left continuing to talk about unfairness, racism, and victimhood.
The idea of socialism suits the elites, because it gives a few people power over almost everything. While the folks who advocate for socialism talk about how it’s going to help the little guy and the poor guy in the minorities, all over the world where socialism is in place, you see the elite and the dictators becoming wealthy and controlling all power. In North Korea, China, and Venezuela, everywhere socialism is in place you see poor people getting poorer and losing more and more of their freedoms.
Mr. Jekielek: The typical thing people will say, and I actually think this is true, is that we’re very far away from a place like Communist China, North Korea, and Venezuela, places that are actually practicing the system.
Mr. DeMint: Well, we probably were some distance before the Coronavirus. But if you stop and think over the last few months, we’ve allowed our government, local, state, and federal, to tell us which businesses can open, which ones are essential, who can we meet with, how many people we can meet with, and whether we can go to church or not. I think out of respect for our citizenship, most Americans have been willing to do this for a short period of time.
But now we realize the government was using data that wasn’t true to say they were acting in our own best interest and to do that they needed to take our rights away. That has been the tradition of socialism all around the world, “We’re going to take care of you, you don’t need your guns. You don’t need to go out and compete. We don’t need all these different brands of products, the government can decide what’s best.”
Americans have resisted that, except in crises. When there was a financial crisis, we were willing to let the government take over most of the financial markets and the mortgage industries. And during the COVID crisis, they actually now own a lot of the airlines, and they have taken over large swaths of the American economy and tell us when we can go to work and when we can’t. I think even a year ago, this was unimaginable.
Mr. Jekielek: So Jim, with respect to Coronavirus response, you mentioned that the government was using erroneous data. According to the principles of Saving America, how should a government respond to something like Coronavirus, which clearly requires some sort of broader response?
Mr. DeMint: I don’t think the data in the beginning was intentionally erroneous. But it’s clear now that the medical models, the millions of people who would die, I mean, none of that happened. What has worried me is that we have learned relatively quickly that healthy working-age Americans had very little threat from this virus. Yet, you didn’t hear that. The large majority of people who died were actually in nursing care facilities with pre-existing conditions, and they were over 80 years old.
Now, we don’t want anyone to die, but we cannot keep folks from getting sick and particularly the elderly. We can do everything we can to protect them, but to shut down our economy, based on what we know now, did not make sense. Now, I think we can say they acted rationally until we knew the truth, but we know it now, and we’re still not hearing it. There are a group of doctors in America called Leveling the Fear, trying to get the truth out so Americans won’t be afraid to send their children back to school.
One person under 18 in America died from the Coronavirus. Children have almost no risk, as do people under 50 years old. If you’re under 65 and don’t have a health condition, you have very little risk. So how can we close down the world’s biggest economy, and still keep it closed down? They’re trying to hype now a second wave of Coronavirus and spikes in Texas and Florida, but they’re not telling us that these are young people getting it and they’re not even getting sick.
So what I would do, certainly now that we know what we know, is we need to go back to normal and go back to work. People who understand that they have a risk need to take special precautions, and businesses and the government need to do everything we can to give flexibility to people with conditions that might be exacerbated by Coronavirus. But we cannot afford to print enough money to support an idle America. If we keep doing this even a few more weeks, I’m afraid that we’re going to have an economic catastrophe on our hands, and there’s just no rational reason to do it.
I am just appalled at the lack of good information that is actually given by the media. Right now, if you gave a good balanced presentation of the risk, most Americans would feel good about going back to work, going into restaurants, going back to school. … What we’ve done may be the biggest mistake in the history of our country, and it’s time that we get back to normal and back to work.
Mr. Jekielek: So that’s actually something that also you talk about in your book. It’s kind of a theme that basically, whenever there is this opportunity to expand government, there seems to be this push to do that, aside from actually dealing with the crisis or so forth.
Mr. DeMint: Well, you’re right. We see this with the riots … that were supposedly because of police racism. That’s a whole other story, because more whites are shot by police than blacks. I mean, we certainly have problems, but it’s not racism. Racism is a way to create a crisis and make people feel like they’re being taken advantage of. They need the government to come in and take care of these rich people or these white supremacists, whether they exist or not.
They create these crises artificially in order to take more control of our lives. A lot of people are encouraging President Trump to take more control at the state level, which so far he’s resisted, and I appreciate that. But the real reason for the book coming out right now is to help people understand that socialism is a threat. There are ways that we can combat it if we understand how it works, and if we understand how good we have it in a free market system.
Mr. Jekielek: One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is that there are certain things that require this broader response or potentially national response. The argument has been that Coronavirus is one of these things. There’s also the issue of national security; we have [the threat of] Communist China. … Now we’ve seen them implement this national security law in Hong Kong, criminalizing potentially all sorts of freedom, free behavior, which was previously normal and is certainly normal in any free society. This is a behemoth, and it’s very difficult for any individual small unit to fight something which is essentially a giant monopoly that’s aggressive.
Mr. DeMint: You’re exactly right. [The CCP’s] role in this Coronavirus has been a wake-up call for many Americans that too much of our production, particularly our medicines, is going on in China. It has brought to light how much of our intellectual property, our patents, and our military secrets they’ve stolen. It has brought to light that this trade deficit of moving all the production and jobs to China has just been absurd. We’ve allowed it to happen right under our nose.
China has a socialist-communist type of economy, and they’re trying to spread that around the world where we have been a threat to them, because whenever you compare what they do with capitalism, ours is so much better. They have to clamp down on freedoms. This whole problem we’ve had this year with the Coronavirus hopefully will backfire against China and help Americans realize that these folks are our enemies.
You know, I had the impression twenty years ago that more trade and contact with China would create more freedom. I was wrong. They were just not ready for the civilized world. I was wrong that America would enforce these trade agreements and keep China accountable. We didn’t do it even when it was obvious they were cheating. I’m going to play a role myself, and I know a lot of conservatives are going to be very active in exposing China and helping Americans realize that they are an adversary and that we have to deal seriously with them.
Mr. Jekielek: Right, and an adversary with a very, very different system. Of course, this is exactly the system that you’re talking about here. I’ve told people in the past, if you let things go in that direction, you will eventually end up with what China has now. But frankly, there are people in America, especially in big finance, Wall Street and so forth that actually kind of liked that model. It’s a stable one, at least that’s the argument.
Mr. DeMint: Well, the Wall Street folks like central control, because whenever you have central political control, you have central economic control and central cultural control. The big corporations—I have realized painfully over the last several years—are not so much interested in America. Even American globalist companies are not interested in whether things are produced here or what’s good for America. All they want is cheap production and access to the American markets.
The big benefit from big, and whether it’s big banks, big corporations, big unions, or big government, the little guy always loses. That’s part of the warning signal whenever you see the consolidation of economic activities, these huge mergers AT&T and DirectTV. Now you can only get one service in some places. Whenever you have monopolies, you have something that’s akin to socialism, because these large monopolies are in bed with the government. They’re the ones that have the big lobbyists in Washington. That’s what we call crony capitalism. A lot of people don’t even know how capitalism really works, because they see so much crony capitalism where big government and big business are benefiting at the expense of the little guy.
Mr. Jekielek: … You were a big part of the government for quite a number of years. There’s certainly people that your organization, conservative partnership institute, supports, helps place staffers and so on. So, who’s actually complicit here?
Mr. DeMint: Well, we all are in a lot of ways as voters. It’s incredible to me that they are telling me that half of American voters are going to vote for Joe Biden right now, when he is basically saying we need to move towards a more socialist economy. The green new deal is all about socialism and government control of economic activity. Yes, I was in the government, and I saw how so many people are co-opted by the environment in Washington and in the media. The big media is so in bed with them, they should have been mentioned with big corporations and big unions, because they now are advocates of socialism as much as anything.
So if you have a congressman or a senator who is trying to do what I did, to try to move education control back to states to stop all this federal earmarking, which gives federal control of so many local project, to try to stop things like amnesty, which big corporations wanted for cheap labor and big unions wanted for more union members, [they face] the excruciating attacks that come on anyone who’s trying to do what the Constitution says we should do, and that is keep power out of Washington. Move power back to the States and the people. There’s so much abuse for people doing the right thing.
That’s one of the reasons we formed the conservative partnership. I realized you could spend millions electing good people, but if you don’t take care of them, once they get in Washington, they’re going to become like the swamp, and it doesn’t take very long. That’s what we’re doing, but citizens need to be informed. That’s why Saving America from Socialism is so important right now, because if you don’t understand the threat, you won’t see it coming.
As so many philosophers have told us, people willingly give away their freedom without knowing it little by little. Americans have given away more and more control of our lives. Now the government is telling us where our children go to school and what they learn, what kind of health care we’re going to get and who our doctor is going to be, whether banks can make us a loan or not, and now whether we can go to church, and a lot of folks are saying we should not be able to bear arms. If you go down the checklist of rights of Americans, all of them are being threatened.
Mr. Jekielek: So you mentioned the American system of government, and I actually find it quite fascinating. I’m Canadian, you know, we have a different system. It’s a parliamentary democracy. There’s something quite specific about the US system as a constitutional republic. What I find fascinating is that it is actually a kind of a check or even like a protection from democracy [itself] in a sense, straight-up democracy. You talked about this a bit in the book. I’m wondering if you could kind of give us that picture?
Mr. DeMint: Well, you’re exactly right. A lot of folks don’t want to hear this, but our founders and our constitution did not establish a democracy. They did everything they could to avoid this national popular vote idea where the people decide on everything. They first divided power between local, state and federal governments, so that power would not be concentrated. At the federal level, they divided power between the presidency, the Congress, and the courts.
To divide power again, they did not want a majority rule at 51 percent, because think about it, when majority rules, minorities lose their rights. The 51 percent can decide everything, and so if you’re a part of a group of 20 percent or 30 percent, you have no say, and the majority rules. In countries like Russia, they are a democracy, but somehow the same guy keeps getting elected and gets richer. Venezuela is a democracy, but somehow the tyrant gets elected and re-elected.
Our founders had a lot of wisdom that a lot of people are trying to change today. That’s why the left wants to get rid of the electoral college that allows states to continue to have a say in who becomes the president. National popular vote would give the presidency to a few major states that are very progressive and liberal.
Mr. Jekielek: In a nutshell, how does it work? How is this … tyranny of the majority, I’ve heard that term, held in check exactly in our system for the benefit of our audience here.
Mr. DeMint: Well, you see it in the Senate where there was established a 60 vote threshold and in some cases a two-thirds threshold, because that forces the majority [to compromise]. If you are a Republican and you have 54 votes, you have a majority in the Senate, but you can’t pass bills without working with the minority. You have to compromise, you have to give something, so a lot of folks want to get rid of that and say, “Why can’t we just make it easy?”
The Constitution intentionally made it hard to get things done in Washington. We have to have a consensus. The idea was that we would not pass laws at the federal level unless there was a broad national consensus that supported those laws. Otherwise, they needed to stay in the hands of the state and local government. A lot of people want to throw that out now, but it’s because of … the desire for centralized power in a socialist form of government.
If folks don’t understand that, I don’t think a lot of Americans understand when people say we want a popular vote to elect the president, what they’re saying is they want socialism. They want government control. They do not want minority power spread around the country where districts represent different people, and they all come together to try to create a system where everyone is heard and has a fair chance. We’re losing that. Oddly, it’s the little guy who’s voting, because of this propaganda that socialism and big government is going to make life easier, fairer, and more equitable.
Mr. Jekielek: You talk about this lore of socialism. … Every time that I’ve read about how these systems are established in the world, it’s kind of a similar thing that’s played on. I guess it’s an aspect of human nature. How do you see this?
Mr. DeMint: Well, you’re right, it sounds fair. “Hey, let’s change our government, so that we share more. We take from these very rich people and spread that wealth among folks who have very little, and let’s create a referee and government to try to decide how everything is done.” Because when you have free markets, you have winners and losers. When people are free to go out and work hard, those who don’t work hard, don’t get as much.
The idea sometimes sounds very compassionate and charitable, and it’s a little bit of what we call the Robin Hood instinct in the book. It’s actually a psychological term where it sounds like a good idea to take from the rich and give to the poor. But we call that legal plunder when you give the government the ability to go in and take from those who’ve earned it and worked for it and give it to those who don’t have it.
While it may sound charitable, it never works that way. The poor people never get [the money] in Venezuela. They’re not getting it that, but the leaders of the government are getting it. All you’re doing is diminishing the wealth and prosperity of the whole country in order for a few to get wealth and power that no one else has.
Mr. Jekielek: You mentioned 2008 earlier, and I’ve been thinking about this. … I think there’s a compelling argument that one of the reasons that the financial crisis happened was kind of a lack of regulation in the financial system. People were able to create these various financial products that no one could understand, and they were unchecked. Then they basically crashed the system, because ultimately they weren’t worth what people were saying they were supposed to be worth. This is a very simplistic version, but basically, there was seemingly a need for regulation.
Right now you have a lot of Chinese companies that are listed in the US exchanges, but they have very, very limited disclosure requirements, essentially the equivalent of a prospectus or something like that. There’s people arguing about that and trying to change this as we speak. You’re not arguing for a complete lack of regulation here or is that what you’re arguing?
Mr. DeMint: No, no. Freedom only exists within a framework of rules, something we talked about in the book: law and order, why the Constitution is relevant. Certainly, some regulations are needed in the financial markets, but the crash was more related to bad government policy than it was to a lack of regulations. The government had an implied guarantee on these subprime mortgages. These subprime mortgages were bundled and sold all over the world with an implied guarantee from the government. A big part of it was when the government got in with these big businesses and big banks, and they created all these products.
When we try to regulate that, the big companies just use the government to go around it. A good example is that we’ve added all these regulations after the financial collapse, and who is still at top? The banks that caused the last collapse are now the ones who have profited the most from the regulations, because they know how to get around them. Regulations are needed; rules are needed; laws are needed. But when you over-regulate, you basically give the power to government elites instead of the people.
Mr. Jekielek: This is a very interesting point. I can’t help thinking about this whole education aspect that you mentioned earlier. How has our perception changed? You suggest that education is important. This issue of school choice keeps coming up again and again. There’s an increasing desire by many groups in society to have access to that, even just purely for socio-economic reasons. How does school choice fit into this?
Mr. DeMint: I consider education choice and more education choices. [This is] one of the biggest opportunities we have as a country to save our country from socialism, because if the government is in control of educating our children, it’s going to be very difficult for them to arrive at a conclusion that is consistent with freedom, because these schools are controlled by government unions and big politicians, and they have proved not to work.
But if parents have a choice, in many cases to choose a private school or religious school, they’ll choose a school that’s best for their child. Even poor single moms I’ve seen stand in line all night to try to get their child in a charter school that will give them a better chance. If we’re going to be free, as Americans, we need to have a free education system, where the money that we provide to the public is attached to the child, and the parent can pick different schools.
We already spend more than any other country in the world on a per child basis. We could take that money and allow it to create the best education system in the world. But not if we allow the government to be the only entity that controls that public money that we make available for education. So I see that education choice, school choice, education savings accounts, [and] state control of education is probably the number one thing that we can do as a nation to save America from socialism.
Mr. Jekielek: This is really a kind of a fundamental culture clash. I think you’ve talked about this. There’s basically [disagreement] on almost every issue, because I’m thinking about the Harvard professor that is basically saying we shouldn’t have school choice, because people will have different ideas and won’t fit into the hole, at least that’s how I read it. On so many issues, there’s a very divergent perspective.
Mr. DeMint: It is. Socialism depends on sameness, people thinking the same way and believing the same things. When you allow people to believe different things and have different ways of life, [when you allow] different states to go different directions on how they do healthcare education, this is very frustrating to the socialist in the left, who want to converge power in one place. But freedom depends on decentralizing power and pushing it back as low as we possibly can. So there is this fight in our culture, and there has been from the beginning, between centralized power and freedom at the individual level.
America was built from the ground up. We are one person at a time doing business together, local communities going to church together. … In my life, I spent 25 of my years in business working in the local community. Most of the good things that happen at the local, individual family, and small organization level. At the federal level, I saw very little good that was done. We could produce safety nets, but somehow we’ve turned them into snares and traps, where people can’t get out. They can’t get out of poverty, and then we have multi-generations of poverty, because our programs basically disincentivize work, they disincentivize marriage and family and they make it almost impossible for the people we’re trying to help to actually work their way out.
Mr. Jekielek: So family is something very important in this saving America project to you.
Mr. DeMint: It really is, and it’s not just a belief, it’s the real data. … Children who grew up in intact families have an overwhelmingly big advantage over those who don’t. I can say that as someone who grew up with a single divorced mom who had to support us, we made it, but it does make it a lot harder. If you don’t tell people the things that can help make you successful, like staying in school, waiting until you get married to have children, waiting until you graduate high school to have children.
If you don’t tell people basics, if you don’t help them understand that if you work—even if you start at a low level—and continue to work, you can move up through the middle class and beyond if you want, [you are not setting them up well]. Now we’re telling people that the best way to get ahead is to be a victim and to try to get something from rich people. There’s not enough money in the hands of rich people to help everybody in the country, we have to build it from the ground up.
Saving America from Socialism is just a good education on what America is and how it works, where the threats are coming from and why they really are threats. We’ve got a lot of good data to support what we’re saying. This is not just my opinion, we’ve got a lot of historical evidence and current evidence, but if you want to get a glimpse of socialism, just look at the last few months, when the government is just taking control of our lives under the guise of doing what’s best for us. That’s how socialists work.
Mr. Jekielek: Jim, you mentioned crony capitalism as being basically a big problem in Washington DC and America. In general, I think this is something that’s a very bipartisan position. It’s just that the responses [differ with regards] to how to deal with this accumulation of wealth through means that are highly suspect. Essentially how to deal with it is the question, and you’re proposing a lot of solutions in the book itself. Can you tell us more?
Mr. DeMint: Yes, I can. There is a reason that seven of the richest counties in America are in Washington DC or around Washington DC. This is where the power comes. This is where the money comes. Both parties talk about how bad big government and big corporations are, but they don’t do anything about it, because these big corporations, these big lobbyists, are how campaigns are financed. A lot of the campaign money is coming from these big special interests, who have big offices in Washington.
Our government no longer represents the average American, but they represent the people who are here in Washington lobbying. Now they go home and tell people something totally different, how they’re thinking about them and representing their district or their state. But what I’m challenging people to do in the book Saving America is to … get involved enough to see what’s really happening. If congress was doing what it’s telling us it’s doing, we wouldn’t be having all of these problems. They’re acting in their own best interest.
We certainly see this during all the riots and everything that even the republicans are kowtowing to this, and you wonder, “Why are they doing it?” It’s because that’s where the money is. I mean, they don’t want to offend these big campaign contributors. It really all comes back to the people. Freedom depends on individuals knowing what freedom is and being willing to stand for it, and to vote thoughtfully for folks who are at least saying the right thing. Then let’s keep them accountable once they get there.
If you hear people talk, they’re going to go to Washington to make education better and make healthcare better, rather than saying, “We’re going to go to Washington, and we’re going to move power and money back home, where the decisions can be made by local people, by families.” If people are talking in that way, those are the folks I would vote for. I don’t think there are any Democrats left like that. I think there are some Republicans who say it; there are fewer who actually believe it and will stand for it. But they will if people support it, and ultimately, we get the government we deserve and that we vote for. That’s why it’s important for me through this book, Saving America from Socialism, to talk to people and not politicians, because ultimately politicians will respond to what Americans demand.
Mr. Jekielek: What does Saving America have to say about so-called cancel culture?
Mr. DeMint: Well, it says it in different ways. It’s the idea of removing history, something that the Marxists that you saw in China during their Great Revolution [acted on]. The way people take over is to blot out a lot of history. The whole idea of being progressive is to leave history behind and just go into the future without any bearings, because the progressive say the Constitution, a lot of laws, and traditions are all obstacles to moving ahead into the future. History is a part of that.
For instance, the history of socialism is so clear that those records need to be removed for people to accept that socialism is going to be a good thing in America. So you’ll see the statues continue to come down, which is completely absurd and illogical when you say you want to celebrate emancipation day, but then you want to tear down Abraham Lincoln’s statue, calling him a racist when he gave his life to free the slaves and began the Republican Party, essentially the first Republican president.
I just think there’s a small group of people that are doing the writing and the removal of history. Their messages being amplified by complicit media. But I can guarantee you that 90% of Americans think this is nonsense if they were to be honest, so we’ve got to rise up as a people and take back our country. One of the things I say in the book is that every generation has to fight for freedom. That’s what we’ve got to do, and this book is a call to do just that.
Mr. Jekielek: Senator DeMint, one of the things about socialism is typically that it’s also secular, often atheistic. One of the points that you raise in the book and that you feel quite strongly about is the necessity to ensure freedom of belief, freedom of conscience, and the diversity that creates for the nation.
Mr. DeMint: Well, it seems an odd part of history that whenever tyrants are trying to take control of a country, again whether it be China, the Soviet Union, or North Korea, one of the first things they do is to get rid of religion or at least control it and make it state-controlled. The problem for dictators is that people can’t have two masters. If they give their allegiance to God and get their moral guidance from God, then the government is subservient to that in effect. The first allegiance is to God and moral principles, and for Christians, that’s the Bible. That actually gives people the spiritual freedom to demand political freedom.
That’s what people are seeing around the world. If there is a belief, if there’s faith, then people yearn for freedom. And so they always try to stamp it out. I say in the book that freedom and faith are two sides of the same coin. That doesn’t mean that atheists can’t live in freedom. Part of the idea is that people are free to believe or not believe whatever they want. But what we see is that for people who don’t tend to have a belief in God and eternity and the next life, the government becomes much more central to their life. Their inclinations are to give the government more control. People with a strong faith in God, their own identity, and their own direct relationship with God tend not to want someone else to dominate, particularly a government figure that acts in opposition to their faith.
Mr. Jekielek: Jim, you also give a few prescriptions in the book for people, the everyday folks out there of whatever political persuasion about how to actually make a difference, how to try to affect some sort of change in the face of all this.
Mr. DeMint: Yeah, a lot of it is how we think. There is a need to elect good people, and sometimes it’s hard to find out who are good people. I know we have to take care of them when they get there. And of course, I’d love for folks to support our nonprofit work at the conservative partnership.
But [what is important] is a way we think about government, the idea of decentralizing power, [and] our constitutional concept of federalism. Don’t elect people to go to Washington to solve problems and take more control. Elect people who are real, who realize that Washington needs to do a few things much better than it does today, for instance, dealing with China, in world threats and international trade and our borders. Those are things that the constitution wanted the federal government to do. But the idea of the federal government controlling health care and education and banking and so many other things is just going to lead to a poor quality of life. Look for those signs of people who want to centralize power.
Again, I would encourage people to read Saving America, so they’ll know what makes America so special. There is certainly hope to change this slide into socialism, but there’s not if we don’t understand how it works and how to recognize the signs. If we do that, I’m convinced that the heart and soul of most Americans [turns] towards freedom and towards a belief in a God that loves us and has blessed our country and that we are wonderfully blessed to be Americans. If we live that way, as people who are grateful and loving to others, then we’ll have the America that we want.
Mr. Jekielek: Senator DeMint, any final words before we finish up?
Mr. DeMint: Well, let me end on an optimistic tone really. We are blessed to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. Anyone who tries to say something different just doesn’t know our country and doesn’t know history. We’ve got problems. You can’t deal with problems and solve problems if you don’t understand the causes. So when we have things happen, and it’s blamed on racism or politics or whatever, let’s take a minute and understand what is really the problem, so that we can solve it.
The book, Saving America from Socialism has a whole plan that citizens can use to try to save the country and create a better way of life. It’s a few simple things at the end of the book. I think folks will enjoy the book because every chapter begins with a very simple little story that makes the point in that chapter, and some of these are just children’s stories. I’ve written it so that all of us can understand it and act on it. But we need your help. We need Americans to stand up, because the politicians are not going to solve these problems for us unless we force them to.
Mr. Jekielek: Jim DeMint, such a pleasure to have you on.
Mr. DeMint: Thank you. Thank you so much for what you do; your publication is great. I know that you have folks who are conservative, liberal, on all sides of the political spectrum. I just appreciate your focus on what the facts are, to give people a little clearer perspective of what is really going on.
Mr. Jekielek: Thank you, Jim.
Mr. DeMint: Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.