Old News

By my schedule necessities, I’m writing this on Sunday, right before election night knowing you’ll see it afterwards. And if I’m going to give you old news, I might as well make it really old:

“Designed especially for city and suburban motoring, this handsome automobile is smooth, quiet, easy to drive and powered by electricity, so it can be charged up at home.”

That’s ad-copy from 1905, for Studebaker’s electric car. 105 years later (!), we are told that GM will somehow return to glory with the lil’ electric car, The Volt, although they’ll lose about $2,000 on every one sold. Not to mention that these puppies aren’t as “green” as the greenie folks would have you believe. A whole lot of electricity the electricity they run on comes from coal. And some rare metals they require must be purchased from China.

Oh, and the adult-sized electric cars cost a small fortune, so they’re really just a toy for the rich. One utility industry expert made the talk show rounds not long ago insisting that, if one-fourth the homes in a dense housing development plug these things in to charge up overnight, they’ll crash the whole power grid. Forgive me, but I smell a Studebaker. In the meantime, our President does everything he can to stymie oil production here.

See what you think of this:

Snake oil. Just try it once and you’ll never be without it. It cures nervousness, upset stomach, all diseases, aches and ails.There’s a peculiar brand of snake-oil being peddled in America today. It’s the cure-all variety whose sponsors talk like this: let the federal government solve our problems by running things. Let it take over the doctors, the railroads, the power companies, industries, banks. But every time you let government take another control, you lose another freedom. Socialism’s promises might sound soothing and inviting. But so do the promises of the peddler selling snake-oil. Neither cures anything. Both are dangerous when people fall for them. The threat of socialism is everyone’s problem because it’s everyone’s danger.

Tea Party whack-job talk? No, this is from an ad run by the Electric Light and Power Companies of America, in the Farm Journal, in 1950 or 1951. (I can’t be sure from the copy mailed me by a friend, Jimmy Vee, co-author of the book “Gravitational Marketing.”) That’s 59 or 60 years ago.

The schemes for transforming America into something other than a free nation promulgated by President Obama these past two years aren’t new. They’re a Studebaker of the past, with a new hood ornament. Since most people aren’t students of history and many are too young to have witnessed the previous attempts at destroying The American Way from within – I was born in 1954 myself – they thought they were seeing something new with Obama. Not new at all. In fact, its roots lie in the fundamental battle between good and evil. Evil forces bent on bringing down the American values and way of life have been beaten back a number of times. This time we’ve traveled closer to the point of no return than ever before. Whether Tuesday night signaled a screeching halt a few feet from cliff’s edge or not I do not know as I put pen to paper for this.

You will find almost no one in media reporting or opining on all the battles being waged now, government against business, investors, producers; government against private ownership and earned wealth; government against self-reliance; federal government power grabs against states and entire industries, etc. in context of a war of good vs. evil, with The American Way at stake.

When somebody does posit this, like Glenn Beck, he is ridiculed and attacked, as in a recent New Yorker Magazine article, devoting many pages to pointing out that he isn’t new; that previous incarnations of Beck have risen to influence in America before. The article’s not entirely unjust in its analysis. But it misses the point that Glenn Beck and those like him appear when war breaks out, with enemies of The American Way of Life threatening to dismantle it, from every edge working inward, from within the White House itself. The midnight cry of Paul Revere, after all, was neither accident or loon on the loose or entertainer pandering to extremists and idiots; his warning cry was for good reason.

Those ignorant of true American history are easily misled. Sold the snake-oil of electric cars with no foreknowledge of Studebaker. Sold the snake-oil of socialism with no foreknowledge of its true purpose. Sold Obama with no basis for seeing what he really represents. So far, each time approaching the precipice, America’s better judgment has awakened. Again, the test.

Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 14 books. His latest, “Make ‘Em Laugh & Take Their Money: A Few Thoughts on Using Humor as a Speaker or Writer or Sales Professional for Purposes of Persuasion,”  contains a selection of his BMI essays. More information about Dan can be found at www.NoBSBooks.com, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at www.DanKennedy.com.