MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’

The billionaire takeover of civil society – spiked

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2021

The Omidyar Network

Omidyar, whose Omidyar Network funds AELP, also funds the Democracy Fund which is now part of Omidyar Group (1). The Democracy Fund, in turn, together with the Knight Foundation, Quadrivium, the McArthur Foundation and Luminate (also funded by Omidyar) fund Democracy Works (2). Omidyar also funds Democracy Fund Voice, which in turn contributes to Defending Democracy Together (3). Then there is Healthy Democracy which is funded by the Democracy Fund, Silicon Valley Community Foundation (which also receives money from Democracy Fund) (4) and the Ford Family Foundation. The Omidyar Network also co-funds New Public by Civic Signals, along with the Knight Foundation, One Project, the National Conference on Citizenship and the University of Texas at Austin, Centre for Media Engagement. Of course, the University of Texas at Austin, Centre for Media Engagement is also funded by the Omidyar Network, the Democracy Fund (funded by Omidyar), the Knight Foundation, Robert McCormick Foundation, and Google. To name just a few others, the Ada Lovelace Institute also receives funding from Luminate, the Wellcome Trust and Nuffield Foundation, while TicTec, a MySociety event about ‘civic tech’, is funded by Facebook, Luminate and Google, among others.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2021/01/29/the-billionaire-takeover-of-civil-society/

Roslyn Fuller

As the founder and operator of a pro-democracy civil-society organisation, I’ve often been astounded at calls to give NGOs a greater say in rule-making, more visibility during negotiations and privileged access to decision-makers. Because I know what few people do – that small, member-driven, self-funded NGOs are relatively rare.

Instead, the kind of organisation that tends to drive the political agenda is generally billionaire (or at least multimillionaire) funded. The most well-known examples here are groups funded by conservatives like the Koch brothers and large companies like ExxonMobil. I had naively assumed that others criticised these organisations for the same reasons I did – because their actions undermined the principle of democratic equality by giving the impression that their ideas enjoyed far more backing than they did.

However, I stand corrected.

A few months ago, I suffered a rare relapse into naivety and decided that it was about time I got on to the NGO ‘funding’ gravy train. Apparently, floods of money were out there waiting for me in the democracy world. Meanwhile, for incomprehensible reasons, I was stubbornly insisting on behaving like some old-fashioned grandmother, cackling things like, ‘In my day, we used to go around with a tin can collecting for Amnesty International at Christmas! We met in the basement of a pub and everyone paid for their own beer!’

People were so baffled at this attitude that I began to doubt myself and look into how to get funding for projects in the democracy space. And because I thought it would be a good idea to be organised about it, I made a database.

That turned out to be a good idea, because it revealed the influence exerted by a wealthy few over civil society. To illustrate this, I am going to show how just a tiny fraction of a small slice of one funding network starts, but definitely does not end, with eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

I should stress that I have no particular axe to grind against Omidyar, who has supported things I whole-heartedly approve of, like the Intercept under Glenn Greenwald. I also don’t believe that Omidyar is the source of any kind of unique evil or that he is up to anything other wealthy people aren’t. I merely picked him as my starting point to illustrate the generalities of the modern NGO-industrial complex, which includes an end-to-end web of political financing, of which Omidyar is merely a part.

Omidyar provides funding for, among many other things, the American Economic Liberties Project. AELP views itself as a check on the influence of big business on politics. According to its website: ‘All across society, monopolistic corporations govern much of our economic lives and exert extraordinary influence over our democracy.’

According to a typically fawning article about the AELP, during one meeting:

the conversation turned to a report the group was producing: a series of graphics showing that different brands of a certain product – or coffee – were, in fact, owned by a small number of conglomerates. The graphics represented the group’s hope that people will understand how concentration affects their lives – and be moved to do something about it. [To which AELP’s executive director Sarah Miller said:] “Let’s just wonder at it for a minute.”’

And that is exactly what we’re going to do here: just wonder at the concentration of power behind a bazillion different brand names and hope people understand how it affects their lives.

See the rest here

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Panic in the Imperial City | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on January 23, 2021

Why are the media and congress silent on these war crimes, especially at a time when they will stop at nothing to destroy President Trump?

Because the media is complicit—they exist to serve the empire.

Nothing that substantially challenges the presumption of U.S. global hegemony ever makes the airwaves.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/panic-in-the-imperial-city/

by Kenny MacDonald

Pexels Jacob Morch 572779

Despite all the lip service about democracy, justice, human rights, freedom, equality and so forth—the entire Washington establishment exists for the sole purpose of perpetuating the empire.

How do I know?

Because the media response to the January 6th attack at the Capitol reveals the Washington establishment’s true nature.

The political class has commenced Operation Destroy Trump. The Washington machine will stop at nothing to expose every character flaw, every incompetency, and every authoritarian tendency of Trump.

Except one thing; if I wanted to prove that Trump was a dangerous racist dictator with no regard for human decency I could do it pretty easily, and I wouldn’t even have to search for subliminal messages in his bumbling speeches.

Trump has been complicit in a genocidal war waged by Saudi Arabia that has killed over 200,000 Yemeni civilians.

Trump illegally assassinated a high ranking member of the Iranian government—a sovereign government that the United States is not at war with—risking a conflict that would certainly produce more casualties than any other war this century!

Trump has dropped more drone strikes on Somalian civilians in 2020 than Bush and Obama did in 10 years combined! He also killed more Afghan civilians via airstrikes in 2019 than any other year in that war!

Where was mainstream media? Where was Congress? they must have been combing through speeches and tweets for racist dog whistles and subliminal calls to violence because they certainly weren’t monitoring the American drones dropping bombs on the heads of black children in Somalia.

Trying to prove Trump is the most dangerous president in U.S. history, while not attacking him on the worst atrocities he has committed is criminal, maybe even slanderous in a morbid way.

Why are the media and congress silent on these war crimes, especially at a time when they will stop at nothing to destroy President Trump?

Because the media is complicit—they exist to serve the empire.

Nothing that substantially challenges the presumption of U.S. global hegemony ever makes the airwaves. Yes, every once in a while the media will toss a low ranking soldier under the bus for war crimes, but those crimes are never presented in a way that challenges the policy. And to their credit, the media did create a hoopla over the assassination of Iranian General Qassam Soleimani, but again, they never asked the critical questions that would challenge U.S. policy in the region.

The mainstream media is state media in all but name. Journalists enjoy relationships with various anonymous sources within the intelligence community who leak cherry-picked intelligence for news rooms to gobble up in exchange for writing news stories that parrot the regime’s official lines.

After the lines are repeated enough times to satisfy Joseph Goebbels, a litany of retired generals who sit on the boards of defense contractors (which is never disclosed) make their rounds on cable news networks as they pass the ready-made sermons of the empire along to the people without a bit of skepticism from the host. In other words, the American people are exclusively inundated with the opinions of so-called experts who all stand to financially or professionally benefit from war.

The formula is rather simple. The think tanks create the policy; congress implements the policy; the network news manufactures your thirst for war; and the defense contractors fasten the weapons and buys everyone else off. Ultimately, money is moved from your pocket and is used to line the pockets of the whole cabal.

That’s why no one on network news, despite their real hatred of him, will ever dunk on Trump with the phrase “Trump is a war criminal.” Because even taking out Trump is not worth the American people wondering for even a second what exactly they mean by war criminal.

The mainstream media is not just complicit with the empire, in fact, their sole job is to protect the empire against any threat to it, such as Trump. Trump was the first candidate in recent history to make it into the Oval Office without the approval of the Washington establishment. He cracked the code of American politics by circumventing the filters of the corporate media and spoke directly to the American people through social media. The recent social media purges against Trump and his inner circle was not spontaneous, it was premeditated. The Washington machine was merely waiting for a catalyst event to occur so it could reassert its stranglehold on American political discourse.

Before Trump broke the system, the presidential primary elections were designed specifically for the corporate media to weed out unacceptable candidates. What constitutes unacceptable? Anyone who opposes the American global empire. The media gatekeepers successfully scuttled every campaign that advocated radical foreign policy change. Tulsi Gabbard spent her 2020 primary season getting ridiculed on TV for allegedly being a friend of dictators, which is an impressive way to spin her anti-war platform. Gabbard was simply getting the Ron Paul treatment, who was also lambasted by the elites during his presidential runs (2008, 2012) for having the gall to point out the evil hypocrisies of American foreign policy. The Washington machine conspired to steal the democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders twice – not because of his democratic socialism – but because he wasn’t an empire zealot either. The message is clear: anything goes in American politics except questioning the empire.

In 2016, on a Republican debate stage Trump openly called the Iraq war a mistake, criticized our wars in Afghanistan and Syria, and questioned our role in NATO. The media worked overtime to ensure a Trump defeat, but Trump proved to be bulletproof because of his cult-like following on social media. Of course, Trump never quite lived up to his promises of an America First foreign policy as he perpetuated the criminal wars of his predecessors. However, it was clear that the Washington establishment was terrified of what he might do, which is why most of his administration was plagued with a ridiculous investigation of a Russian collusion hoax that nobody believed, followed by an impeachment based on the flimsiest of pretexts. They were grasping at straws to get rid of Trump.

Trump’s improbable victory caused a panic in 2016 until the establishment realized that Trump had very little understanding of his own America First ideology. A Trump presidency could be managed by the Washington machine as long as Trump didn’t appoint anyone who could implement his campaign promises. For the most part, the Washington establishment was able to control the Trump administration with well placed neocons such as Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and Jim Jeffrey who worked tirelessly to undermine Trump’s vision at every foreign policy turn. The only redeeming quality the Washington establishment saw in Trump was his hawkishness on China, which the media has been happy to help propagandize the American people into supporting a trade war and military posturing in the South China Sea.

As the Trump movement comes to an end the chickens are coming home to roost. Washington was so worried about controlling and eliminating Trump that they neglected his base, which has become increasingly radicalized due to the media’s deranged hostility towards them.

The anger of Trump’s base came to head on January 6th when protesters stormed the Capitol building because they believed the election had been stolen from Trump. Of course the violence at the Capitol was inexcusable, but why was the Washington outrage machine cranked up to level 11?

Washington is panicking because they see the unfolding events as an existential threat to their stranglehold on the American people and their global empire. The Washington machine was unable to stop Trump’s 2016 insurgent campaign, and Washington’s damage control strategy only worked to contain Trump’s policies but failed to control his growing popular base. Here’s three reasons why panic is suddenly setting in in the Imperial city.

First, the ruling class recognizes that their power is waning. George Bush’s Global War on Terror was truly a global war fought on two fronts, international and domestic. The national security state was given a shot in the arm with the Patriot Act, and Americans have been taking their shoes off at airports ever since. After twenty years of war, it’s undeniable that the war abroad has been a miserable failure (Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria). But despite the empire’s failures abroad, the American people could always be counted on to stay in line. Now it seems the population is spiraling out of control of the Washington handlers.

Second, the violence is finding its target. The ruling elite has always tolerated violence as long as it stays on the peripheral and is directed at factions within the population, such as the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer. Although their cause may be misguided and their legitimate anger has been manipulated, the Capitol protesters have at least identified the proper source of all their frustrations, Congress. Congress has robbed all of us blind in pursuit of their maniacal vision of global dominance, and now—to their surprise—the war has come home.

Finally, whether the claims of the protesters are true or not, this event exposes American democracy for the sham that it is. The assumption of U.S. global hegemony is derived from the belief that America has a uniquely exceptional system of government. When an angry mob storms the Capitol building because 34% of voters believe the election was fraudulent, America’s exceptional system appears to be a myth. Therefore, the foundation of America’s global empire is nothing but a house of cards on display for the world to see.

To the empire zealots, this wasn’t just an attack on a government building, this was an attack on a religious structure, which should raise red flags. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi both referred to the Capitol as a “temple to democracy.” Joe Biden called the process of ratifying the election “sacred.” The Capitol is their vatican, their religion is American democracy, and their salvation is fighting evangelical wars to spread their religion far and wide. To these true believers, only America’s government is sacred. No one was referring to Muammar Gadhafi’s government buildings as sacred when Schumer, Pelosi, and Biden all supported Obama bombing those buildings to spread the blessings of American democracy to Libya. Trump and his supporters have exposed America’s favorite export, democracy, as a rotten product. For Washington’s empire lackeys, such as Republican Liz Cheney, this attack on America’s religion can not be tolerated.

In response, the domestic War on Terror, which previously relied on spying and government psyops, is now being fought in plain sight. Congress immediately moved to impeach Trump with just days to go in his administration to make sure that he never gets near the strings of power again. The Capitol protestors are labeled as “domestic terrorists” to clear the road for a new domestic terrorism bill in the upcoming Biden Administration. Big tech has been co-opted to do the government’s bidding by removing anyone deemed a dangerous subversive from the internet. Take out their leaders, label them terrorists, and disrupt their lines of communication. Sound familiar?

The Republican base, which has always been loyal to the Empire, has lost its faith in American Exceptionalism. The Past 12 months of impeachments, lockdowns, corporate bailouts, left-wing riots, mandatory white privilege training, and censorship has pushed a large segment of Republicans into a corner where they feel like they have nothing to lose. Despite all the nonsense rhetoric about right wing militias, the reason the Capitol police was so unprepared for this moment was because the right doesn’t normally act like this. Now Washington realizes they have a full on insurgency on their hands that isn’t going away no matter how bad they want to wish it out of existence.

It’s tempting to interpret the empire’s employment of its awesome powers against the American people as a sign of its overwhelming strength. But that’s false. This is a sign of weakness. This is how empires die, like a wounded beast lashing out as it takes its last gasps. The war on the home front is failing. The people are rejecting the government which increasingly feels as if it’s being forced upon them. The government response is merely the domestic surge (like Iraq’s in 2007, and Afghanistan’s in 2009) that puts a bandaid over an infection that will continue to spread underneath. That infection is our lack of consent. Washington is now recognized for what it is, an occupying force that hardly anyone consents to anymore. After the last 4 years of the left declaring “not my president,” the right will share that same sentiment for the next 4 years.

People are finally waking up and realizing that the federal government stopped caring about its citizens long ago. The beginning of the end was when President Truman stood up the national security state after World War II and declared that the U.S. government would counter the Soviet Union in every country on the map, including our own. After 70 years, the United States has morphed into a rogue military state hiding behind a facade of democracy that exists only to feed its own lust to dominate the globe at the expense of the American people. While the empire spoiled over $6.4 Trillion in the last 20 years looking for other countries to fix, America was slowly crumbling and stood woefully unprepared to respond to domestic emergencies, such as a pandemic or a fedup American population that has begun to reject government legitimacy.

There is no putting the genie back in the bottle. The system is exposed. The empire can not be reigned in, it’s a cancer that has metastasized to engulf the entirety of the beltway. The only solution is secession and a peaceful dissolution of the federal government. If that sounds crazy to you, consider the alternative: a perpetual cycle of hatred and violence that may end in a bloody civil war.

Kenny MacDonald is a former Navy SEAL and veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history. Follow his Youtube channel here.

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bionic mosquito: The Underclass

Posted by M. C. on January 12, 2021

I would point to the roots of it in the political strategy of Antonio Gramsci, who knew that communism would not come to the West via a division between the workers and the owners/capitalists, but only through the creation from below of a new culture – one that by design would crush Christianity.  And this would be true enough; we are living it.

http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-underclass.html

Paul VanderKlay commented: “The underclass knows the overclass better than the overclass knows the underclass.”  I replied, in the comments to the video (modified slightly for clarity):

Something really worth considering in understanding the political and world events (and the media that has covered these) that have played out over the last years.

This, in the context of events at the capitol, etc.

I have been thinking about when the political division in this country took such a toxic turn – not just toxic between and amongst politicians, but toxic toward and between some multiple number of tens-of-millions of people.

I would point to the roots of it in the political strategy of Antonio Gramsci, who knew that communism would not come to the West via a division between the workers and the owners/capitalists, but only through the creation from below of a new culture – one that by design would crush Christianity.  And this would be true enough; we are living it.

I would also consider the manifestation of this strategy in the 1960s and the cultural revolution that was plainly visible at the time.  Certainly, by the 1990s, the toxic ideas of critical theory would begin to permeate academia to the point where today the various disciplines of the liberal arts are all lost to corruption (with STEM now being dragged through the wreckage of their wake).

Yet, throughout this time – and for the most part – the debates and discussions were on policy matters; we didn’t turn the issues into ones where the other side was seen as totally corrupt and unpardonable.

Sure, there was a small minority of us who saw as totally corrupt some of the institutions and objectives: The Federal Reserve and the military adventurism and empire, as two examples.  But, given the overwhelming support that these received (either actively or passively, whether considered or ignored), the national personal animus was limited to something like everyone ganging up on Ron Paul (the most courageous politician of my lifetime) during a presidential debate.

I think that there were a couple of events that marked the divide – where the political debate turned into personal animosity, division, derision, disgust and disdain.  The first event marked it economically, and that was the bailouts in 2008.  Calls to congress were running as high as 95% against the bailouts, as I recall.  But we know how the rest of the story played out.  This made clear the purpose of the financial system.  But while it has contributed to the divide (or helped accelerate it), this is a separate issue to my point here.

The event that marked the first formal notice that the cultural divide was going to be forced upon us was back in April, 2008.  Sure, the seeds were planted long before: once Gramsci’s strategy was put in place – especially in higher education – the deck was stacked.  But in April, 2008, we were put on notice:

“And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

So said presidential hopeful Barack Obama, when speaking about those who are frustrated with their economic conditions – said frustration, of course, quite warranted given the aforementioned financial crisis (and the economic divide that has been growing wider since Nixon closed the gold window).

Obama was speaking of the underclass – and it is the underclass clings to religion and guns.  Or, more properly: if you cling to religion and guns, you are underclass.  Religion and guns: two targets to be eliminated, as we know, by the overclass. 

Further, the underclass was labeled by Obama as being against others not like them – yet, this same underclass helped elect Obama to the office of president a few months later.

Hillary Clinton would reply:

“The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling to’ religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.”

Of course, her reply was based solely on the possibility that this would bring her more votes, as she was running against Obama at the time.  To say it was a cynical statement would be redundant, as this could be said about virtually every statement made by virtually every politician. 

As if to demonstrate the point of cynicism, and to further the seeds sown that have resulted in the divide, Clinton offered eight years later (and four years ago):

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?

“The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now how 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

These folks are deplorable and irredeemable.  If you believe there is something in your culture, tradition, and Western Civilization worth saving, you are deplorable and irredeemable.

Between these two comments – first Obama’s, then Clinton’s – it seems to me that we find the lines of hate drawn.  And it is during the last twelve years that the seeds planted by Gramsci have turned into the culture war of today – one driving the country to a totalitarian dystopia.

Conclusion

When Nietzsche wrote of the death of God, he wasn’t making a prophetic statement, nor was he offering a clarion call to action.  He was describing the reality of the time, capturing, in that phrase, what has transpired from the time Enlightenment ideas took root until that moment and the inevitability of what was to come and where this road would lead.

Take the following in the same light:

The day after the events of January 6, I heard someone on sports talk radio reliving his feelings from the day before, while he sat glued to the television news coverage.  “We didn’t know if they would start dragging congressmen out of their offices.”

Yet, if you are deemed irredeemable, why wouldn’t you?  What do you have to lose? 

Two women were kicked off of a Delta Airlines flight for having a private conversation about Trump.  There are at least 70 million other adults who fall into this category.

As I wrote the other day, this is the lesson that the irredeemable deplorables are being taught:

No matter what, you will lose.  We are going to beat this so far into you that you will never forget it.  Even when you win, you will lose; even when you are peaceful (or especially because we count on you being peaceful), you will lose.

Dragging congressmen out of their offices might be the most peaceful event on the road ahead of us.

When there are at least 70 million irredeemable adults, where else does this road lead?  Posted by bionic mosquito

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It’s Been Morphed into a ‘Democracy,’ So What Else Would You Expect? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 9, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/01/l-reichard-white/its-been-morphed-into-a-democracy-so-what-else-would-you-expect/

Democracy, n. “A government of the masses. …Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic – negating property rights. …Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.” –War Department Training Manual TM_2000-25 issued November 30, 1928

Hence it is that such democracies 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.” –James Madison, Federalist Paper 10

All democracies turn into dictatorships — but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it’s Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea … ” –filmmaker George Lucas, Dark Victory from time.com

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Democrats and Media Abandon Democracy – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on November 24, 2020

Matthew Brann, a federal district judge appointed by Obama, refused to accept Giuliani’s lawsuit against the Pennsylvania election fraud.  The judge was not content to deny the case a hearing.  He used the occasion for a propaganda attack, demonizing the lawsuit, based on affidavits from witnesses who signed under penalty of perjury, as “speculative accusations unsupported by evidence.”  The judge knows full well that affidavits are always evidence. 

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/11/23/democrats-and-media-abandon-democracy/

Paul Craig Roberts

Michigan State Attorney General Dana Nessel has attributes of a Nazi.  She, like Washington Post columnist Randall D. Eliason, wants to falsely prosecute attorneys who represent those making challenges to the election. She also wants to prosecute election officials who refuse to certify until irregularities are properly dealt with, and she wants to prosecute Pennsylvania Republican state officials who met with Trump at the White House. In other words, Dana Nessel has proved herself unfit for any public office by her effort to weaponize law for her political agenda.

George Washington Law School professor Jonathan Turley discusses Dana Nessel’s attempt to coerce Republicans by threatening them with indictments. https://www.zerohedge.com/political/michigan-ag-calls-criminal-charges-against-gop-certifiers-who-wont-fall-line?utm_campaign=&utm_content=Zerohedge%3A+The+Durden+Dispatch&utm_medium=email&utm_source=zh_newsletter 

Matthew Brann, a federal district judge appointed by Obama, refused to accept Giuliani’s lawsuit against the Pennsylvania election fraud.  The judge was not content to deny the case a hearing.  He used the occasion for a propaganda attack, demonizing the lawsuit, based on affidavits from witnesses who signed under penalty of perjury, as “speculative accusations unsupported by evidence.”  The judge knows full well that affidavits are always evidence.  So we now have an Obama federal judge who for political purpose pretends to be thoroughly ignorant of law and not know that affidavits signed under penalty of perjury are always evidence.

 The presstitutes are not interested in Brann’s extraordinary pretense of utter ignorance, which if true would disqualify him as a judge.  Instead they are using his ignorant pronouncement as “proof” that the legal team has no evidence. https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/pennsylvania-judge-throws-out-trump-campaign-lawsuit?utm_campaign=&utm_content=Zerohedge%3A+The+Durden+Dispatch&utm_medium=email&utm_source=zh_newsletter 

Democrats, who share Dana Nessel’s determination to weaponize law and destroy democracy, are pushing Biden, if he becomes president, to prosecute Trump and his supporters.  Rep. Bill Pascrell, Democrat from New Jersey, declared that “Donald Trump along with his worst enablers must be tried for their crimes against our nation and Constitution.”  If this sounds like a South American banana republic, that is what the Democrats are turning us into. https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/526978-biden-faces-politically-thorny-decision-on-trump-prosecutions 

Attempting to prosecute Trump, of course, is what the Democrats have been doing for four years with Russiagate and Impeachgate without any evidence.  Clearly, the Democrats envison a one-party state under them in which the abuse of law for political purpose to which they are giving birth cannot, in turn, be used against them.  The Democrats are greasing the skids for America to become the most corrupt country on earth.  https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/11/22/the-dnc-an-american-politburo/ 

The New York Times has scaled new heights in Reality Denial. 

For several years the World Economic Forum, an elite organization, has been hyping the need for the “Great Reset” — https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/11/19/from-freedom-to-tyranny-the-world-economic-forums-great-reset/  The Great Reset requires tremendous authoritarian power.  

The elite organization has hosted meetings, the purpose of which is to make the Reset seem inevitable, and has a book published on the Great Reset.  The appearance of Covid was used as added reason for the Reset.  

But no sooner than Klaus Schwab, a leading exponent of the Great Reset, explained it to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs— https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/klaus-schwab-great-reset-will-lead-fusion-our-physical-digital-biological-identity –than the New York Times denied the very existance of such a thing, calling it a “far-right conspiracy theory” — https://summit.news/2020/11/19/ny-times-says-great-reset-is-a-conspiracy-theory-on-same-day-world-economic-forum-celebrates-it/ 

Perhaps the NY Times’ faux journalists—they don’t have any real ones—got confused, thinking that the word was getting out on an elite plot and moved to squash knowledge of the plot, not realizing that the WEF is hyping the Reset as part of the sell.  

Alternatively, we can conclude that the NY Times’ journalists and editors are so ignorant that they are unaware of the WEF’s big agenda item.  These are the same journalists and editors who are telling us that there is no evidence of election fraud and that America was racist at birth.

Americans are faced with a so-called Democrat political party that has abandoned America’s democratic ways. Democrats have made a power grab for ideological purposes that are hostile to principles such as election integrity which is essential for democracy.  Americans are also faced with the absence of a media that serves as watchdog and reports objectively.  Without objective reporting, Americans are denied the information that democracy requires to function. Instead, the media controls explanations for the Democrats that support the Democrats’ power grab.  The picture is clear that both Democrats and media have abandoned democracy because democracy is a check on their agenda. They value their agenda more than they value democracy, and they are going to force their agenda down our throats whether we want it or not.

According to polls, a majority of Americans believe the November 3 election was stolen by the Democrats— https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/11/21/30-of-democrats-believe-democrats-stole-the-election-and-75-of-republicans-think-so/ 

If the Democrats succeed with their theft, whatever is left of public confidence in American institutions will evaporate.  After Clinton’s lies, 9/11, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Assayd’s use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russian invasions, Russiagate, Impeachgate, Covid, and now a stolen presidential election, confidence in government must be close to nonexistent.  When there is no confidence raw power takes over.  If Democrats get away with their theft of the election, we will have crossed the Rubicon.  

Some say there has always been voter fraud in American elections and ask what is new this time. What is new this time is election fraud on a national level with the appearance of a plot to create a one-party state.  What is new this time is the entirety of the media in support of the party that committed the election fraud.  What is new this time is the calls for prosecution of members of the defrauded party.  What we are witnessing is not only the suppression of evidence but also the prosecution of those who present it.

Despite the evidence of election fraud, the Democrats have a good chance to succeed with their theft.  First of all, we all know that the media will not present the case against the Democrats.  The media will continue to deny that hundreds of affidavits are evidence.  Most Americans will never hear the story of the extraordinary audacity that stole a presidential election.

Second, Trump is a populist, and few populists in America have ever succeeded at the national level.  Populists are in the way of the elite who have more money and more influence.  From the media’s perspective, Trump’s majority are “deplorables”–racists and misogynists who must be overthrown.  The fact that Trump is a Republican does not mean that he has the support of the Republican Party.  Republicans have just as many feet in the establishment as Democrats have.  To the establishment Trump is an outsider and, thereby, a potential threat to their interest, just as his intention to normalize relations with Russia was seen by the military/security complex as a threat to their budget and power.

The absence of any Republican Party support for Trump is obvious in the failure of the Barr Justice Department to bring (1) any indictments against the government officials who orchestrated the Russiagate hoax and committed federal felonies, (2) any indictments against Biden and his son for the corruption evidenced in Hunter Biden’s laptop in the hands of the FBI, and (3) the lack of any Justice Department interest in obvious election fraud backed up by hundreds of affidavits.

The Republican Establishment has hung Trump out to dry and is urging him to concede.

A minority of Republican voters themselves, although they regard the election as stolen, nevertheless believe that Trump should concede and thereby preserve the undeserved reputation of “American Democracy.”  These feeble-minded people think that it is not democracy itself that is at risk, but America’s reputation.

Over the course of my life I have watched the politicization of the federal judiciary.  Judges are no longer appointed because they are competent to interpret law according to the intent of Congress and the Constitution. They are appointed according to whether they do or do not support abortion, racial and gender quotas, homosexual marriage, open borders, amnesty for immigrant-invaders, the globalist agenda, and so forth.  The American judiciary is chosen according to which party’s agendas are ascendant.  This is the way countries are destroyed.

Consider:  if federal district judge Matthew Braun truly believed that Trump’s legal team’s Pennsylvania lawsuit is invalid, the partisan judge would accept the case and let its falsity be proven in court. What better way to dispose of the charge?  That he closed the court to the case despite majority opinion of the public that the election was stolen is proof that he knows the lawsuit is grounded in evidence.  So he suppresses the case instead of trying it.

When it is not only the Democrat Party and media who don’t respect evidence but also federal courts, the basis for evidence -based law no longer exists. Instead, law is based on power.  Who has power has the law.

The country that the Democrats and media are birthing will not know justice.

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Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem Exposes a Big Problem with Democracy | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2020

Specifically, if we ask “Does ‘society’ think Trump is better than Biden?,” the answer is yes, because Bob and Charlie think Trump is better than Biden—they outvote Alice on that narrow question. Using majority rule, we can also conclude that “society” thinks Biden is better than Jorgensen, because Alice and Charlie outvote Bob. So since “society” thinks Trump beats Biden and Biden beats Jorgensen, for the group to be rational we would also expect “society” to think Trump beats Jorgensen. And yet, as the table indicates, on that narrow question the voters would say the opposite: Alice and Bob would vote for Jo Jo over the Donald.

https://mises.org/wire/arrows-impossibility-theorem-exposes-big-problem-democracy?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=b6b76242be-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-b6b76242be-228343965

Robert P. Murphy

Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article.

There is arguably nothing more sacrosanct to today’s elites than “democracy”—by which they mean “a political outcome we endorse.” And yet ironically, one of the most surprising and powerful results in social choice theory, namely Kenneth Arrow’s so-called impossibility theorem, shows that even in principle there is no coherent way to aggregate individual preferences into a collective will.

In a sense, Arrow did to democracy what Kurt Gödel did to the attempts to place mathematics on an axiomatic foundation. Yet while everyone from philosophers to cognitive scientists to computer programmers cites Gödel—even when they don’t really understand what he demonstrated—hardly anyone discusses Arrow when it comes to politics. My simple and cynical explanation is that his result is so devastating that it’s hard to say anything at all in its wake. (Note that free market economists also might suffer from this problem, if we speak too glibly about the “optimality” of a market outcome.)

Why Majority Rule Doesn’t Work

Before explaining Arrow’s shocking result, let me set the table with a demonstration of why simple majority rule isn’t a viable rule for making group decisions. Suppose Alice, Bob, and Charlie have the following subjective rankings of three candidates:

murphchart.png

murph

Specifically, if we ask “Does ‘society’ think Trump is better than Biden?,” the answer is yes, because Bob and Charlie think Trump is better than Biden—they outvote Alice on that narrow question. Using majority rule, we can also conclude that “society” thinks Biden is better than Jorgensen, because Alice and Charlie outvote Bob. So since “society” thinks Trump beats Biden and Biden beats Jorgensen, for the group to be rational we would also expect “society” to think Trump beats Jorgensen. And yet, as the table indicates, on that narrow question the voters would say the opposite: Alice and Bob would vote for Jo Jo over the Donald. Now with only three voters and three possible candidates, it should be relatively simple to determine what “the group” thinks about the best candidate, right? Yet if we happen to have the political preferences shown in the table above, then simple majority rule leads to intransitivity in the social ranking.

And so we see, even with a very simple example, that there is a fundamental problem with using simple majority rule as the mechanism for aggregating individual preference rankings into a single ‘social’ ranking. To repeat, there is no guarantee that the resulting ‘social’ rankings will obey transitivity.

Besides being worrisome conceptually, intransitive rankings also suffer from the practical problem that the overall winner is dependent on the order of pairwise contests. In our example above, if the group first pitted Biden versus Trump and then had the winner face Jo Jo, then Jo Jo would win. But if instead the elites wanted Biden, they would have the voters first decide between Trump and Jo Jo, then have that winner go head to head against Sleepy Joe.

Because a robust social choice rule shouldn’t be vulnerable to such manipulation, political thinkers have known since Condorcet that majority rule isn’t the answer.

Arrow’s Approach

I don’t know if this backstory is apocryphal, but I was taught that Kenneth Arrow set out in grad school in the late 1940s/early 1950s to get rigorous in social choice theory. Economists and other formal social scientists had known there were many types of undesirable social choice procedures (or rules). Arrow, so the story goes, originally wasn’t trying to find the best one, but instead he was merely trying to weed out the obviously bad rules in order to focus attention on the pool of surviving candidate procedures.

Arrow’s framework was a generalization of our table above. Specifically, Arrow assumed there were a finite number of citizens who each had subjective rankings of the possible “states of the world,” and he further assumed that each citizen’s preferences were complete (meaning the citizen had a definite opinion on any pairwise comparison, including the possibility of being indifferent between two outcomes) and transitive.

Taking this list of citizens’ complete and transitive preference rankings, Arrow wanted a procedure that would generate a complete and transitive “social” preference ranking of the various possible “states of the world.” In order to rule out what seemed self-evidently undesirable procedures, Arrow insisted that the eligible procedures also obey the following principles:

  • Nondictatorship: there shouldn’t exist one person in society such that, no matter what everyone else says, the procedure always makes the “social” ranking identical to the one person’s preferences. To be clear, it’s fine if in any particular example of everybody’s rankings the rule just so happens to make the “social” ranking the same as Jim’s ranking. But if, no matter what Jim and everybody else preferred, the rule always made “society” agree with Jim’s personal views, then he would be a dictator in Arrow’s sense.
  • Weak Pareto optimality: if every citizen thinks outcome A is preferable to outcome B, then it better be the case that the procedure spits out the result that “society” prefers A to B.
  • Independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA): this is the least intuitive of the axioms, but when you understand it, it also sounds reasonable. This criterion says that the “social” ranking of outcome A versus B should only depend on how the citizens compare A to B.

To get a sense of what Arrow is after with IIA, suppose a child is ordering ice cream at a restaurant. The waiter says, “We have vanilla or chocolate.” The child chooses vanilla. Then the waiter comes back a minute later and explains, “Sorry, I just realized we still have some strawberry ice cream as well. Would you like to change your order?” The child responds, “Yes! I’ll order chocolate instead.”

I hope the reader can see why our hypothetical child would here be exhibiting unusual choices. This is in the spirit of what the IIA criterion is prohibiting.

Arrow’s Shocking Result

To continue the story, apparently Arrow set about to prune away the possible procedures that violated any of the above criteria and ended up with…the empty set. In other words, Arrow realized that there did not exist a procedure for generating “social” preference rankings that obeyed his list of seemingly innocuous requirements.

What’s really fun is that any interested reader can see an actual proof of Arrow’s result that doesn’t rely on prior mathematical knowledge. See, for example, this version that Amartya Sen formulated. I heartily encourage the curious to give it a shot. You’ll see that it’s not based on a trick; Arrow really did demonstrate something with devastating relevance to the notion of political sovereignty.

Conclusion

As the media elites urge Americans to vote and celebrate the wonders of “democracy,” both at home and foisted by firepower around the world, always keep in mind the elephant in the room: Kenneth Arrow showed in 1951 that the entire project of social choice theory rested on quicksand. Author:

Contact Robert P. Murphy

Robert P. Murphy is a Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute. He is the author of many books. His latest is Contra Krugman: Smashing the Errors of America’s Most Famous KeynesianHis other works include Chaos Theory, Lessons for the Young Economist, and Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action (Independent Institute, 2015) which is a modern distillation of the essentials of Mises’s thought for the layperson. Murphy is cohost, with Tom Woods, of the popular podcast Contra Krugman, which is a weekly refutation of Paul Krugman’s New York Times column. He is also host of The Bob Murphy Show.

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Will Democracy’s Myths Doom Liberty? | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2020

Rather than revealing the “will of the people,” election results are often a one-day snapshot of transient mass delusions.

In reality, the more edicts a president issues, the less likely that his decrees will have any connection to popular preferences. It is even more doubtful that all the provisions of hefty legislative packages reflect majority support, considering the wheeling, dealing, and conniving prior to final passage.

https://mises.org/wire/will-democracys-myths-doom-liberty?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=7fe6676c9a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_10_02_06_25_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-7fe6676c9a-228343965

James Bovard

The Supreme Court declared in 1943, “There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority.” In reality, the cardinal doctrines of contemporary democracy are layer upon layer of mystical claptrap. The phrases which consecrate democracy seep into many Americans’ minds like buried hazardous waste.

If Joe Biden wins the presidential election, voters will be told that our political system is redeemed: the “will of the people” is now clear, Biden will rule with “the consent of the governed,” and Americans are obliged to again trust and obey the federal government. If Donald Trump is reelected, much of the same media will continue howling about imaginary Russian plots. But these notions remain dangerous delusions regardless of who is declared the winner on Election Day.

The notion that election results represent the “will of the people” is one of the most shameless triumphs of democratic propaganda. Rather than revealing the “will of the people,” election results are often a one-day snapshot of transient mass delusions. Votes which only reveal comparative contempt for competing professional politicians are transmogrified into approvals for blueprints to forcibly remake humanity.

Americans are encouraged to believe that their vote on Election Day somehow miraculously guarantees that the subsequent ten thousand actions by the president, Congress, and federal agencies embody “the will of the people.” In reality, the more edicts a president issues, the less likely that his decrees will have any connection to popular preferences. It is even more doubtful that all the provisions of hefty legislative packages reflect majority support, considering the wheeling, dealing, and conniving prior to final passage. Or maybe the Holy Ghost of Democracy hovers over Capitol Hill to assure that average Americans truly want every provision on every page of bills that most representatives and senators do not even bother reading?

A bastard cousin of the “will of the people” flimflam is the notion that citizens and government are one and the same. President Franklin Roosevelt, after five years of expanding federal power as rapidly as possible, declared in 1938, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.” President Johnson declared in 1964: “Government is not an enemy of the people. Government is the people themselves,” though it wasn’t “the people” whose lies sent tens of thousands of American conscripts to pointless deaths in Vietnam. President Bill Clinton declared in 1996, “The Government is just the people, acting together—just the people acting together.” But it wasn’t “the people acting together” that bombed Serbia, invaded Haiti, blockaded Iraq, or sent the tanks in at Waco.

President Barack Obama hit the theme at a 2015 Democratic fundraiser: “Our system only works when we realize that government is not some alien thing; government is not some conspiracy or plot; it’s not something to oppress you. Government is us in a democracy.” But it was not private citizens who, during Obama’s reign, issued more than half a million pages of proposed and final new regulations and notices in the Federal Register; made more than 10 million administrative rulings; tacitly took control of more than 500 million acres by designating them “national monuments”; and bombed seven foreign nations. The “government is the people” doctrine makes sense only if we assume citizens are masochists who secretly wish to have their lives blighted.

Presidents perennially echo the Declaration of Independence’s appeal to “the consent of the governed.” But political consent is gauged very differently than consent in other areas of life. The primary proof that Americans are not oppressed is that citizens cast more votes for one of the candidates who finagled his name onto the ballot. A politician can say or do almost anything to snare votes; after Election Day, citizens can do almost nothing to restrain winning politicians.

A 2017 survey by Rasmussen Reports found that only 23 percent of Americans believe that the federal government has “the consent of the governed.” Political consent is defined these days as rape was defined a generation or two ago: people consent to anything which they do not forcibly resist. Voters cannot complain about getting screwed after being enticed into a voting booth. Anyone who does not attempt to burn down city hall presumably consented to everything the mayor did. Anyone who does not jump the White House fence and try to storm into the Oval Office consents to all executive orders. Anyone who doesn’t firebomb the nearest federal office building consents to the latest edicts in the Federal Register. And if people do attack government facilities, then they are terrorists who can be justifiably killed or imprisoned forever.

In the short term, the most dangerous democratic delusion is that conducting an election makes government trustworthy again. Only 20 percent of Americans trust the government to “do the right thing” most of the time, according to a survey last month by the Pew Research Center. Americans are being encouraged to believe that merely changing the name of the occupant of the White House should restore faith in government.

If Biden is elected, we will hear the same “redemption” storyline that was trumpeted when Obama replaced (temporarily) disgraced George W. Bush. The same media that ignored Biden’s corruption during the presidential campaign will insist that his inauguration purifies Uncle Sam. With Biden in charge, pundits and pooh-bahs will swear that it is safe to expand federal control over healthcare, education, housing, the economy, the environment, and anything else that moves.

But the benevolence of government rarely transcends the perfidy of politics. Washington will remain as venal as ever, regardless of the hallelujah chorus of PBS NewsHour panelists. When scandals erupt, citizens will be told to trust politically approved fixes to the system—even though most Washington reforms are like fighting crime by hiding the corpses of victims.

It is time to demystify democracy. The surest effect of exalting democracy is to make it easier for politicians to drag everyone else down. Until presidents and members of Congress begin to honor their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, they deserve all the distrust and disdain they receive. Americans need less faith in democracy and more faith in their own liberty. Author:

James Bovard

James Bovard is the author of ten books, including 2012’s Public Policy Hooligan, and 2006’s Attention Deficit Democracy. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Washington Post, and many other publications.

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What will be the foreign policy of the next US President?, by Thierry Meyssan

Posted by M. C. on September 11, 2020

The two programs for the Trump and Biden candidacies are not similar to those of previous candidates. It is no longer a question of adjusting the United States to the changing world, but of defining what they will be. The question is existential, so it is quite possible that things will degenerate and end in violence. For some, the country must be a nation at the service of its citizens, for others it must restore its imperial status.

https://www.voltairenet.org/article210762.html

by Thierry Meyssan

The U.S. 2020 presidential campaign pits two radically different visions of the United States: empire or nation?

On the one hand, Washington’s claim to dominate the world by “containment” – a strategy articulated by George Kennan in 1946 and followed by all presidents until 2016 – and on the other hand, the rejection of imperialism and the desire to facilitate the fortunes of Americans in general – a strategy articulated by President Andrew Jackson (1829-37) and taken up only by President Donald Trump (2017-20).

Each of these two camps wields rhetoric that masks its true practice. Democrats and Republicans pose as heralds of the “free world” in the face of “dictatorships”, as defenders of racial, gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and as champions of the fight against “global warming”. The Jacksonians, for their part, take turns denouncing the corruption, perversity and ultimately hypocrisy of their predecessors while calling to fight for their nation and not for the empire.

The two camps have in common only the same cult of force; whether it is at the service of the empire (Democrats and Republicans) or the nation (Jacksonians).

The fact that the Jacksonians unexpectedly became a majority in the country and took control of the Republican Party adds to the confusion, but should not confuse trumpism with what the Republican ideology has been since World War II.

In reality, Democrats and Republicans tend to be well-to-do people or professionals in new technologies, while Jacksonians – like the “yellow vests” in France – are rather poor and professionally tied to the land from which they cannot escape.

For the 2020 campaign, Democrats and Republicans are united behind former Vice President Jo Biden. He and his supporters are extremely voluble about their intentions:
- “The Power of America’s Example”, by Joseph R. Biden Jr., Voltaire Network, 11 July 2019.
- “Why America Must Lead Again. Rescuing U.S. Foreign Policy After Trump”, by Joseph R. Biden Jr., Foreign Affairs, March/April 2020.
And especially the statement by senior Republican national security officials to Democrat Biden :
- “A Statement by Former Republican National Security Officials”, Voltaire Network, 20 August 2020.
On the contrary, Donald Trump is evasive in writing:
- “Donald Trump Second Term Agenda”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 24 August 2020 (foreign policy is the small paragraph at the end of the text).

In my view, the main disputes are not stated, but are constantly implied.

JPEG - 81.6 kb
As a television host, Donald Trump dreamed of giving the country back to the people as President Andrew Jackson did.

The Jacksonian agenda

As soon as he took office, Donald Trump questioned the Rumsfeld/Cebrowsky strategy of annihilating the state structures of all the countries of the “Broader Middle East” without exception and announced his wish to bring home the troops lost in the “war without end”. This goal remains at the top of his priorities in 2020 (“Stop Endless Wars and Bring Our Troops Home”).

As a result, he excluded the Director of the CIA and the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee from regular meetings of the National Security Council. In so doing, he deprived the supporters of imperialism of their main tool of conquest.

See:
- “Presidential Memorandum: Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 28 January 2017. And “Donald Trump winds up “the” organization of US imperialism”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 31 January 2017.

There followed a battle for the presidency of this council with the indictment of General Michael T. Flynn, then his replacement by General H. R. McMaster, the exceptionalist John R. Bolton, and finally Robert C. O’Brien.

In May 2017, Donald Trump called on U.S. allies to immediately cease their support for jihadists charged with implementing the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy. This was the Riyadh speech to the Sunni heads of state and then to NATO heads of state and government. President Trump had declared NATO obsolete before changing his mind. However, he obtained not the abandonment of Russia’s policy of containment, but the halving of the credits used for this purpose and the allocation of the funds thus preserved to the fight against jihadism. In doing so, it partially stopped making NATO an instrument of imperialism and turned it into a defensive alliance. It has therefore demanded that its members contribute to its budget. Support for jihadism, however, was pursued by the supporters of imperialism with private means, notably the KKR Fund.

See:
- “Presidential Memorandum: Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 28 January 2017.
- “Donald Trump’s Speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 21 May 2017.
- “Remarks by Donald Trump at NATO Unveiling of the Article 5 and Berlin Wall Memorials”, by Donald Trump, Voltaire Network, 25 May 2017.

Hence his watchwords: “Wipe Out Global Terrorists Who Threaten to Harm Americans” and “Get Allies to Pay their Fair Share.

Like the Democrats and Republicans, the Jacksonian Donald Trump is committed to restoring the capabilities of his armies (“Maintain and Expand America’s Unrivaled Military Strength”). Unlike his predecessors, he did not seek to transform the Pentagon’s delusional management by privatizing one department at a time, but rather developed a plan to recruit researchers to compete technologically once again with the Russian and Chinese armies.

See:
- “National Security Strategy of the United States of America”, December 2017. And “Donald Trump’s National Security Strategy”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 26 December 2017.

Only Donald Trump’s desire to regain primacy in missile matters is supported by Democrats and Republicans, although they do not agree on how to achieve it (“Build a Great Cybersecurity Defense System and Missile Defense System”) : the tenant of the White House wants the USA to equip itself alone with these weapons that it can eventually deploy on the territory of its allies, while its opponents want to involve the allies in order to maintain their hold on them. From the point of view of the Democrats and Republicans, the problem is obviously not withdrawing from the Cold War disarmament treaties to build a new arsenal, but the loss of means of diplomatic pressure on Russia.

A professional politician, Joe Biden hopes to restore the imperial status of the former First World Power.

The program of Democrats and non-party Republicans

Joe Biden proposes to focus on three objectives: (1) reinvigorate democracy (2) train the middle class to cope with globalization (3) regain global leadership.

- Reinvigorate democracy: in his words, this means basing public action on the “informed consent” of Americans. In doing so, he used Walter Lipmann’s 1922 terminology, according to which democracy presupposes “manufacturing consent”. This theory was discussed at length by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in 1988. It obviously has nothing to do with the definition formulated by President Abraham Lincoln: “Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Joe Biden believes he is achieving his goal by restoring the morality of public action through the practice of “political correctness”. For example, he condemns “the horrible practice [of President Trump] of separating families and placing the children of immigrants in private prisons,” without saying that President Trump was merely applying a democratic law to show its futility. Or he announces that he wants to reaffirm the condemnation of torture that President Trump justified, without saying that the latter, like President Obama, has already banned the practice while maintaining life imprisonment without trial in Guantánamo.

He announced his intention to convene a Summit for Democracy to fight against corruption, to defend the “Free World” against authoritarian regimes, and to advance human rights. In view of his definition of democracy, it is a question of uniting allied states by denouncing scapegoats for what is wrong (the “corrupt”) and promoting human rights in the Anglo-Saxon sense and especially not in the French sense. That is to say, to stop police violence and not to help citizens to participate in decision-making. This summit will launch an appeal to the private sector so that new technologies cannot be used by authoritarian states to monitor their citizens (but the USA and its NSA can always use them in the interest of the “Free World”).

Finally, Joe Biden concludes this chapter by highlighting his role in the Transatlantic Commission for Electoral Integrity alongside his friends, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who overthrew the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and Michael Chertoff, former US Secretary of Homeland Security, who put all US citizens under surveillance. Not forgetting John Negroponte who organized the Contras in Nicaragua and Daesh in Iraq.

- Educating the middle class to cope with globalization. Joe Biden believes that the politics that have been pursued since the dissolution of the USSR have led to the rapid disappearance of the middle class, and that training the remaining middle class in the use of new technologies will prevent the relocation of their jobs.

- Renewing U.S. leadership. In the name of democracy, this means stopping the rise of “populists, nationalists and demagogues. This formulation helps us understand that democracy, according to Joe Biden, is not only the fabrication of consent, but also the eradication of the popular will. If demagogues pervert democratic institutions, populists serve the popular will and nationalists serve the community.

Joe Biden then specifies that he will stop wars “forever”; a formulation that seems to support the same goal as the Jacksonians, but differs in terminology. It is in fact a question of validating the current adaptation of the system to the limits imposed by President Trump: why make US soldiers die abroad when one can pursue the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy with jihadists at a lower cost? All the more so since when he was only an opposition senator, Joe Biden gave his name to the plan to partition Iraq that the Pentagon was trying to impose.

A verse follows on the enlargement of NATO to include Latin American, African and Pacific allies. Far from being obsolete, the Alliance will once again become the heart of U.S. imperialism.

Finally, Joe Biden pleads for the renewal of the 5+1 agreement with Iran and disarmament treaties with Russia. The agreement with President Hassan Rohani aims to classically divide Muslim countries into Sunni and Shia, while the disarmament treaties aim to confirm that the Biden administration would not envisage a global confrontation, but the continued containment of its competitor.

The program of the Democratic Party candidate and non-party Republicans concludes with the assurance of joining the Paris Accord and taking leadership in the fight against global warming. Joe Biden specifies that he will not give gifts to China, which is relocating its most polluting industries along the Silk Road. On the other hand, he omits to say that his friend, Barack Obama, before entering politics, was the drafter of the statutes of the Chicago Carbon Emissions Trading Exchange. The fight against global warming is not so much an ecological issue as a matter for bankers.

Conclusion

It must be said that everything is opposed to a clarification. Four years of upheavals by President Trump have only succeeded in replacing the “endless wars” with a low-intensity private war. There are certainly far fewer deaths, but it is still war.

The elites who enjoy imperialism are not ready to give up their privileges.

So it is to be feared that the U.S. will be forced to go through an internal conflict, a civil war, and break up like the Soviet Union once did.

Translation
Roger Lagassé
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Nock and Mencken on Democracy and Equality | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 31, 2020

The government “is a separate, independent and often hostile power.” Mencken perceived “the deep sense of antagonism between the government and the people it governs. It is…a separate and autonomous corporation mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefits of their own members…, oppressing the taxpayers to their own gain.” The best kind of government, he writes, “is one which lets the individual alone, one which barely escapes being no government at all.”

If one of the main purposes of civilized governments is to preserve and augment liberty of the individual, then surely democracy accomplishes it less efficiently than any other form of government, since “the aim of democracy is to break all free spirits.”

https://mises.org/wire/nock-and-mencken-democracy-and-equality

[Adapted from “The Libertarian Legacy of the Old Right: Democracy and Representative Government,” Journal of Libertarian Studies 23 (2019): 5–21.]

Albert Jay Nock (1870–1945) and Henry L. Mencken (1880–1956) were the two leading libertarian intellectuals of the Old Right, during the thirties of the twentieth century. Both defended laissez-faire but opposed the New Deal, any connections between big government and big business, the First World War and the American policy of imperialism. They were also very polemical against various movements for cultural and moral elevation of the people, such as Prohibition and the battle for public education.

With Myth of a Guilty Nation, published in 1922, Nock influenced an entire generation of classical liberals, opposing Wilsonian internationalism and arguing for anti-militarism. From 1920 to 1924 he was editor of the weekly journal The Freeman. His writings are mostly elitist, based as they are on the fundamental role of the individual capable of elevating himself over the mass of the people. His thought is anchored in a strong individualism, explicitly critical of any forms of statism. Nock has a disenchanted approach to democracy, mainly based on the idea that the lowering of the level of culture and education is related to the democratic ideology. Enlarging the suffrage would not do any better and its only result would be the destruction of the highest ranks of culture. The policy, decided on by the government, of universal education is based on the theory that everyone is equally educable and that education has to be extended to the largest possible group. But, for Nock, this does not make sense, since we are not all equals in attitudes and capacities. The only true kind of equality is the equality of liberty and before the law. But the education system is based on a perversion of the idea of equality and on democracy. First of all, Nock clarifies, the Founding Fathers chose the republican system as the best way to secure the free expression of the individual in politics. A republic where everybody votes is considered ipso facto a democracy, but considering republican and democratic as synonymous is simply a confusion of terms. Actually, strictly speaking, democracy is simply a matter of counting the ballots, but it became an ideology. “Republicanism”—Nock writes—“does not…of itself even imply democracy….Democracy is not a matter of an extension of the suffrage….It is a matter of the diffusion of ownership; a true doctrine of democracy is a doctrine of public property.” And this because we are “aware that it is not, never was and never will be, those who vote that rule, but those who own.” So democracy, being an economic status, is animated by a strong resentment toward the élite, the socially, economically and intellectually superior persons. The democratic ideology rejects the simple reality that some achievements and experiences are open only to some people and not to all. Democracy postulates that everybody has to enjoy the same things.

The whole institutional life organized under the popular idea of democracy, then, must reflect this resentment. It must aim at no ideals above those of the average man, that is to say, it must regulate itself by the lowest common denominator of intelligence, taste and character in the society which it represents.

In a democratic system, therefore, education would be “common property” and so what is not manageable by everybody must be disregarded. This leads to a low and poor level of education and to the destruction of the higher ranks of culture, art, taste and life itself. Moreover, Nock’s theory of the state, as an enemy institution, founded on exploitation and robbery, sheds further light on his ideas about democracy. The doctrine of popular sovereignty was a structural alteration to the state, necessary to make people believe that the state was literally the expression of the popular will. Democratic representation has been an expedient in order to submit the subjects to a state they believed was legitimate. The most important expedient

was that of bringing in the so called representative or parliamentary system, which Puritanism introduced into the modern world, and which has received a great deal of praise as an advance towards democracy. This praise, however, is exaggerated. The change was one of form only, and its bearing on democracy has been inconsiderable.

Henry Louis Mencken was a leading protagonist of the American Old Right. In the weekly journal American Mercury, he and his colleagues bitterly criticized moral crusaders and the entire Wilsonian politics that considered the United States as the guardian of the world. Although he was a literary figure and did not elaborate a systematic system of political thought, he can rightly be considered a libertarian. Both Murray N. Rothbard and [Justin] Raimondo are convinced that there are many good reasons to place Mencken in the libertarian tradition. Rothbard defined him as “the joyous libertarian” for his witty and satirical prose. Mencken was, in Rothbard’s words, “a serene and confident individualist, dedicated to competence and excellence and deeply devoted to liberty, but convinced that the bulk of his fellows were beyond repair.” Mencken had a great influence on the Old Right during the twenties, rejecting the idea of a world war for peace and democracy, and defending laissez-faire in economics and in private life. His liberating force and his writings were not for the masses, but for the intelligent few who could understand and appreciate his message. Mencken believed that

government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man; its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him….One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regards to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.

The government “is a separate, independent and often hostile power.” Mencken perceived “the deep sense of antagonism between the government and the people it governs. It is…a separate and autonomous corporation mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefits of their own members…, oppressing the taxpayers to their own gain.” The best kind of government, he writes, “is one which lets the individual alone, one which barely escapes being no government at all.”

Mencken’s individualist perspective gives great consistency to his views on many topics, among the most important of which is democracy. Notes on Democracy, published in 1926, contains one of the most scathing critiques of the idea that the great masses of the people have an inalienable right to govern themselves and that they are competent to do it. A government is considered a good one if it can satisfy quickly the desires and ideas of the masses, that is to say of the inferior men. A good and democratic government is based on the idea of the omnipotence and omniscience of the masses. But, Mencken states, “that there is actually no more evidence for the wisdom of the inferior man, nor for his virtue, than there is for the notion that Friday is an unlucky day.” Mencken begins his analysis of democracy examining the psychology of the democratic man and clarifying that “in an aristocratic society government is a function of those who have got relatively far up the poles….In a democratic society it is the function of all, and hence mainly of those who have got only a few spans from the ground.” The democratic man contemplates with bitterness and admiration those who are above him. Bitterness and admiration form a complex of prejudices that, in a democracy, is called public opinion, which, under democracy, is regarded as something sacred. But, asks Mencken:

What does the mob think? It thinks, obviously, what its individual members think. And what is that? It is, in brief, what somewhat sharp-nosed and unpleasant children think. The mob, being composed, in the overwhelming main, of men and women who have not got beyond the ideas and emotions of childhood, hovers, in mental age, around the time of puberty, and chiefly below it. If we would get at its thoughts and feelings we must look for light to the thoughts and feelings of adolescents.

The main sentiment of humanity is fear and the main sentiment of the democratic man is envy. The “democratic man hates the fellow who is having a better time in this world” (Mencken 1926, 45), this is why, according to Mencken, envy is the origin of democracy. Politicians are well aware of the psychology of the masses, and those who know how to use the fears of the mob are the most successful. “Politics under democracy consists almost wholly of the discovery, chase and scotching of bugaboos. The statesman becomes, in the last analysis, a mere witch-hunter”; in fact “the plain people, under democracy, never vote for anything, but always against something.” Actually politics are not determined by the will of the people, but by small groups with special interests able to use the fears and to excite the envy of the masses. “Public policies are determined and laws are made by small minorities playing upon the fears and imbecilities of the mob.” Those who succeed in the realm of politics are not the best and most intelligent men, but are the ablest and cunning demagogues. Anticipating Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Mencken states that except for a miracle it would be very difficult for a man of value to be elected to office in a democratic state. The problem is that people believe that “the cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy” or something closer to direct democracy. The great masses of men, though free in theory, submit to oppression and exploitation. In fact, according to Mencken, the popular will remains purely theoretical in every form of democracy. Moreover, there is no reason for believing that its realization would change the main outlines of the democratic process, considering the low level of intelligence and knowledge of the mob.

Mencken examines the relationship between democracy and liberty and notes that the democratic man does not fight to gain more liberty but for more security and protection. “The fact,” he writes, is that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of the inferior man’s mind….Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means enterprise, it means the capacity for doing without.” But these are not the characteristics of the democratic masses. Actually, the masses’ longing for material goods can only be satisfied at the expense of liberty and property rights. It cannot be denied that freedom is an indispensable condition for the development of the personality of the individual, but if we look at the propensities of the masses we discover that frequently they prefer to sacrifice freedom in order to enjoy material or psychological advantages. The average man wants to feel protected even from himself. Writes Mencken:

The truth is that the common’s man love of liberty…is almost wholly imaginary….He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed….He longs for the warm, reassuring smell of the herd, and is willing to take the herdsman with it. Liberty is not a thing for such as he….The average man doesn’t want to be free. He simply wants to be safe….What the common man longs for…is the simplest and most ignominious sort of peace—the peace of a trusty in a well-managed penitentiary. He is willing to sacrifice everything else to it. He puts it above his dignity and he puts it above his pride. Above all, he puts it above his liberty.

The average man tends to consider liberty as a weapon used against him in the hands of superior men but, recalling Edmund Burke, Mencken writes that

the heritage of freedom belongs to a small minority of men….It is my contention that such a heritage is necessary in order that the concept of liberty…may be so much as grasped—that such ideas cannot be implanted in the mind of man at will, but must be bred in as all other ideas are bred in….It takes quite as long to breed a libertarian as it takes to breed a racehorse.

If one of the main purposes of civilized governments is to preserve and augment liberty of the individual, then surely democracy accomplishes it less efficiently than any other form of government, since “the aim of democracy is to break all free spirits.” Mencken describes the tyrannical consequences of the cultural levelling tendencies of democracy. Like Alexis de Tocqueville he realizes that the pressure of a mass society of men all alike and equal leads to ostracism of those superior individuals “merely thinking unpopular thoughts.” “Once” a man “is accused of such heresy, the subsequent proceedings take on the character of a lynching.” The democratic, egalitarian society is pledged to common cultural values resulting in a rigorous homogeneity of way of thinking and of life. So “a man who stands in contempt of the prevailing ideology has no rights under the law.” By the mid-thirties the influence of Nock and Mencken had begun to decline. The Old Right, after playing an important role opposing the New Deal and in the crucible of the First World War, almost disappeared. During the years of World War II, government banned any opposition to war, Roosevelt and the New Deal. “The Old Right went underground for the duration” of the war and when America emerged from the war a new generation of old style libertarians appeared. They believed in laissez-faire and nonintervention in foreign policy.

 

Author:

Contact Roberta A. Modugno

Roberta Modugno is professor history of political thought at the University of Roma TRE (Rome – Italy). A scholar of American libertarianism, she is the author of several works on Murray N. Rothbard and edited the collection of Rothbard’s papers, Rothbard versus the Philosophers: Unpublished Writings on Hayek, Mises,

 

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Mises on Secession | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on July 8, 2020

https://mises.org/library/mises-secession?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=9afce7e2be-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-9afce7e2be-228343965

[Editor’s Note: Contrary to some attempts to portray Ludwig von Mises as a theorist who rejected radical solutions, we find in his works that Mises supported radical decentralization and widespread secession. Hans-Hermann Hoppe discusses Mises’s views below.]

“A nation, therefore, has no right to say to a province: You belong to me, I want to take you. A province consists of its inhabitants. If anybody has a right to be heard in this case it is these inhabitants. Boundary disputes should be settled by plebiscite.” (Omnipotent Government, p. 90)

“No people and no part of a people shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.” (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 34)

“Liberalism knows no conquests, no annexations; just as it is indifferent towards the state itself, so the problem of the size of the state is unimportant to it. It forces no one against his will into the structure of the state. Whoever wants to emigrate is not held back. When a part of the people of the state wants to drop out of the union, liberalism does not hinder it from doing so. Colonies that want to become independent need only do so. The nation as an organic entity can be neither increased nor reduced by changes in states; the world as a whole can neither win nor lose from them.” (Nation, State, and Economy, pp. 39–40)

“The size of a state’s territory therefore does not matter.” (Nation, State, and Economy, p. 82)

“The right of self-determination in regard to the question of membership in a state thus means: whenever the inhabitants of a particular territory, whether it be a single village, a whole district, or a series of adjacent districts, make it known, by a freely conducted plebiscite, that they no longer wish to remain united to the state to which they belong at the time, but wish either to form an independent state or to attach themselves to some other state, their wishes are to be respected and complied with. This is the only feasible and effective way of preventing revolutions and civil and international wars.” (Liberalism, p. 109)

“If it were in any way possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, it would have to be done.” (Liberalism, pp. 109–10)

The situation of having to belong to a state to which one does not wish to belong is no less onerous if it is the result of an election than if one must endure it as the consequence of a military conquest.” (Liberalism, p. 119)

“It makes no difference where the frontiers of a country are drawn. Nobody has a special material interest in enlarging the territory of the state in which he lives; nobody suffers loss if a part of this area is separated from the state. It is also immaterial whether all parts of the state’s territory are in direct geographical connection, or whether they are separated by a piece of land belonging to another state. It is of no economic importance whether the country has a frontage on the ocean or not. In such a world the people of every village or district could decide by plebiscite to which state they wanted to belong.” (Omnipotent Government, p. 92)

From an interview with Hans-Hermann Hoppe in the Austrian Economics Newsletter (AEN):

AEN: Was Mises better than the classical liberals on the question of the state?

HOPPE: Mises thought it was necessary to have an institution that suppresses those people who cannot behave appropriately in society, people who are a danger because they steal and murder. He calls this institution government.

But he has a unique idea of how government should work. To check its power, every group and every individual, if possible, must have the right to secede from the territory of the state. He called this the right of self-determination, not of nations as the League of Nations said, but of villages, districts, and groups of any size. In Liberalism and Nation, State, and Economy, he elevates secession to a central principle of classical liberalism. If it were possible to grant this right of self-determination to every individual person, he says, it would have to be done. Thus the democratic state becomes, for Mises, a voluntary organization.

AEN: Yet you have been a strong critic of democracy.

HOPPE: Yes, as that term is usually understood. But under Mises’s unique definition of democracy, the term means self-rule or self-government in its most literal sense. All organizations in society, including government, should be the result of voluntary interactions.

In a sense you can say that Mises was a near anarchist. If he stopped short of affirming the right of individual secession, it was only because of what he regarded as technical grounds. In modern democracy, we exalt the method of majority rule as the means of electing the rulers of a compulsory monopoly of taxation.

Mises frequently made an analogy between voting and the marketplace. But he was quite aware that voting in the marketplace means voting with your own property. The weight of your vote is in accord with your value productivity. In the political arena, you do not vote with your property; you vote concerning the property of everyone, including your own. People do not have votes according to their value productivity.

AEN: Yet Mises attacks anarchism in no uncertain terms.

HOPPE: His targets here are left-utopians. He attacks their theory that man is good enough not to need an organized defense against the enemies of civilization. But this is not what the private-property anarchist believes. Of course murderers and thieves exist. There needs to be an institution that keeps these people at bay. Mises calls this institution government, while people who want no state at all point out that all essential defensive services can be better performed by firms in the market. We can call these firms government if we want to.

Authors:

Ludwig von Mises

Ludwig von Mises was the acknowledged leader of the Austrian school of economic thought, a prodigious originator in economic theory, and a prolific author. Mises’s writings and lectures encompassed economic theory, history, epistemology, government, and political philosophy. His contributions to economic theory include important clarifications on the quantity theory of money, the theory of the trade cycle, the integration of monetary theory with economic theory in general, and a demonstration that socialism must fail because it cannot solve the problem of economic calculation. Mises was the first scholar to recognize that economics is part of a larger science in human action, a science that he called praxeology.

Contact Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Hans-Hermann Hoppe is an Austrian school economist and libertarian/anarcho-capitalist philosopher. He is the founder and president of The Property and Freedom Society.

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