Archive for authoritarianism

Coronavirus: Martial Law & The New Police State

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2020 by jtoddring

An excellent live webstream discussion was given last night by Sayer Ji, the founder of GreenMedInfo – the best source I know of for science-based health information. His remarks offer a calm, well-reasoned, fact-based entry into the discussion as to what in the world is really going on with the coronavirus hysteria, and the obvious draconian, authoritarian responses by governments around the world.

James Corbett summed it up well: every authoritarian in the world is taking advantage of the crisis. And that is the gist of it.

The coronavirus itself is still less dangerous than the common flu, traffic accidents, or bathtub drownings. But the draconian, authoritarian responses to the virus, are ushering in fascism, most ominously, as well as destroying the global economy, and will create millions of times more deaths from the coming economic crash than the virus is ever likely to do.

GreenMedInfo founder and primary medical researcher Sayer Ji, in his live webstream discussion last night, was mainly re-assuring people that the sky is not falling, though things are decidedly bad, and the growing authoritarianism is certainly very concerning, to say the least.

He emphasized natural methods of boosting immunity, if people are afraid of germs. He said, emphatically, he is not.

He re-stated the view of every serious researcher and analyst I have seen. (At present, there are only a handful, since the best and the brightest have joined the masses for the moment, it seems, and have also temporarily lost their minds, or at least their ability to think rationally.)

He stated the obvious, which is this: based on the facts and figures to date, the virus danger is wildly exaggerated (2% mortality rate now confirmed for Italy, and 90% of deaths are among the very old and the severely ill) – probably, and almost certainly, for political motives (ie: social control, both in China and in the West).

He posted a summary of the articles that appeared in Rolling Stone and The Hill yesterday, March 22, on the US government’s Department of Justice secretly calling on Congress to suspend constitutional rights, in order to allow indefinite detention – for anyone who MAY be infected, or is deemed infected, or is suspected of being infected: in short, anyone the government wants to “quarantine”.

It is an obvious power grab, as Sayer Ji at GreenMedInfo, Gerald Celente at Trends Journal, and James Corbett, along with myself, have made clear.

Make sure you read the GreenMedInfo summary articles, and above all, see the video on Medical Martial Law, by the Corbett Report.

The Rockefeller Foundation made plans in 2013 for what they called “Lock Step”: a move to “a more authoritarian order” “with tighter government control” – utilizing a pandemic as the means to bring this about, during a state of public health emergency.

Since popular movements shut down the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in 1999, the ruling corporate oligarchy have been afraid of the rising tide of global protests, and the growing crisis of legitimacy, that threaten to sweep them from power. They have been dreaming of, and planning for, preparing for, and writing about, the nullification of constitutional rule, civil liberties, freedom and democracy, and the consolidation of their powers by use of a global police state, for over 20 years. This “crisis” is largely their creation. Whether natural or man-made, they have clearly turned it to their advantage. This is disaster capitalism. Read The Shock Doctrine. This is a desperate act by desperate men to stave off social change, and to ensconce themselves in power for another generation – and to hell with the other 99% of humanity, democracy, freedom, civil rights, or the future of life on Earth.

Whether the coronavirus was a deliberately released bioweapon – perhaps the first joint US-China military operation, designed to consolidate the powers of oligarchs East and West, which it clearly has done, and done remarkably well (and the evidence points in this direction), or an accidentally released bioweapon, or a natural virus, in any case, the indisputable facts are these:

1) The danger of the virus has been vastly exaggerated, for political and/or commercial reasons that are clearly unrelated to public health;

and

2) The manufactured crisis is being used as a pretext to establish what the billionaire elite and their political minions have been clearly seeking, moving towards, preparing for, dreaming about, and also writing about, for years – especially since 9/11: the consolidation of the corporate-state oligarchy, by means of the creation of a global police state, and the suspension of all constitutional rule, human rights and civil liberties.

Make sure you watch the Gerald Celente, Trends Journal video from March 17, in particular. Remember, this is the best trend analyst in the world – the guy all the major governments and all the biggest corporations go to for trend analysis. He puts it plainly enough.

Get ready to fight for freedom and democracy, or to be slaves. Yes, it is that stark.

As the US constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley said, at an earlier juncture, when the elite were just getting warmed up on their constitution-shredding power grab, (I’m elaborating further here on what he said) this is not just a roll-back to pre-New Deal times, and a tearing up of the social contract of compromise between the ruling business elite and the other 99% of the people; it’s not just a roll-back to Charles Dickens’ time, in the early industrial revolution; it’s not just a roll-back to before the American and French Revolutions of 200 years ago. This is a roll-back of 800 years of common law, based on the Magna Carta, the basis of all constitutional law – the right to not be arbitrarily arrested or indefinitely detained without trial.

This is an attempt by the new empire of global corporate oligarchs and their political minions to establish a new kind of feudalism, with themselves as the God-kings, who are thoroughly above the law, with the people stripped of all rights and all protections, and at the mercy of the ruling elite.

See Jonathan Turley and Keith Olbermann, The Military Commissions Act 2006.

How familiar are Olbermann’s words from that time:

“We have lived, as if in a trance.”

That about sums up the state of the people now.

“We have lived in fear. And now, our freedoms and our rights in peril, we awaken to realize, we have been afraid of the wrong thing.”

It is exactly the same then as now.

The Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act began the shredding of constitutional rights, as part of the professed “War On Terrorism”, in 2001 and 2006. The new quarantine laws and pandemic/public health emergency laws, seal the destruction of 800 years of constitutional rule since the Magna Carta.

To stop a virus that has a death toll of 1% of the common flu, we are willing to accept a global police state? Very wise. Very wise indeed.

What the “war on terror” began, which was a war on democracy, will be finished by the war on a germ, and for the same purposes and ends.

If we don’t stop this now, or very, very soon, we will be peasants and serfs, or worse, and more likely: we will be slaves.

The real danger, as I have been saying, is not a virus that has 1% the death toll globally as the common flu – but the fascist response to it.

Get ready to defeat the second wave of fascists. We defeated them in WWII. We will defeat them again.

JTR,
March 23, 2020

Here is the best analysis on the coronavirus event that I have seen anywhere to date:

The Corbett Report (what serious investigative journalism looks like)

Liberty – such an outdated concept…

 

It’s happening again, and the war on democracy and constitutional rights and freedoms is intensifying – with the war on a germ, and the pandemic laws and draconian responses of elites that are ushering in martial law.

 

The war on germs is the new 9/11

 

Peddling hysteria

 

Fascist response to virus hysteria is also crashing global economy

 

Italian Government Study: 99% of their Coronavirus Fatalities Were Already Sick; Half Diagnosed with 3 or More Diseases

Serious doubts about the accuracy of COVID-19 testing methods, results, mortality rates, and the supposedly unique and extreme lethality of this virus are starting to emerge, even within mainstream media and government reporting. A recent study released by the Italy’s national health authority found that nearly everyone who was pronounced dead from COVID-19 was already struggling with serious chronic disease(s).

The Bloomberg article also pointed out that the primary threat is to the elderly (the average age of someone who died was 79.5) and that the fatality rate may have been significantly overblown: instead of 8%, the fatality rate may, in fact, be closer to the global average of about 2%.

“The median age of the infected is 63 but most of those who die are older.

The average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions.

According to the GIMBE Foundation, about 100,000 Italians have contracted the virus, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported. That would bring back the country’s death rate closer to the global average of about 2%.” 

This new report challenges much of the global reporting on the topic which presents a unilateral narrative that simply being exposed (within six feet) to someone who may have tested positive for the virus is life-threatening, independent of one’s health status and other precautions one might take, such as supporting one’s immune system.

In short, the Italian Government’s own federal health agency report shows that a) the coronavirus danger is wildly exaggerated, b) is almost exclusively a threat to the very old and the already ill, and c) IS NOT A DANGER OF CONTAGION TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT EITHER EXTREMELY OLD OR SEVERELY IMMUNE COMPROMISED. THIS MEANS THAT THE MASS QUARANTINE AND POLICE STATE MEASURES ARE COMPLETELY UNJUSTIFIED. IT MEANS THAT THE POLICE STATE MEASURES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH AN ELITE POWER GRAB – AS I HAVE BEEN SAYING FROM THE START.    – JTR, March 23, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Importing From China: A Virus? Or A Totalitarian Model Of Elite Control?

Posted in American politics, analysis, China, civil liberties, class, collapse, common ground, communism, concentration camps, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, deep integration, democracy, democratic deficit, detention centers, disaster, economic collapse, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, fascism, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, health, human rights, imperialism, Mussolini, neo-feudalism, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, propaganda, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized, war on democracy, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Someone prescient once said, “Those who would sacrifice a little freedom for a little security, deserve neither, and will lose both.” We would do well to remember those words now.

And we are most definitely in the process of losing both, as we speak.

But maybe we aspire to be very healthy, germ-free slaves?

*

A friend said to me the other day, “Do you think China has 700 million people under lockdown for no reason?!”

I replied by saying:

China has been a police state for over fifty years, at least since the start of the “Cultural Revolution” in 1966 – the Chinese government prefers lockdown, for reasons of control: any pretext will do.

The thought of China taking such drastic measures to contain this latest virus surely makes many people assume that the virus must truly be terrifically dangerous. Surely China would not take such drastic or draconian measures if it were not. But we just explained why the Chinese government prefers totalitarian control measures, under any and all circumstances – and any crisis, real or imagined, will do for creating the justification for authoritarian measures. (Disaster capitalism is a globalized game endeavour.)

The entire assumption that the danger must be real if the government response is so extreme, simply falls apart upon examination, or the slightest critical thought.

China now has 600 million security cameras for 1.2 billion people – one camera for every two people, and with ever growing, soon to be total surveillance.

China now has a system of social credits, incorporated into its social control system, which is plugged into its surveillance system, and its economy. If you spit on the sidewalk, or jaywalk, are involved in one of the thousands of protests occurring every day, or, heaven forbid, criticize the government, then, low and behold, you find that you are refused for loans, mortgages, even the purchase of a train ticket. (And Facebook is working hard to introduce a similar system for the West. Good ole’ Zuck.)

China has gone headlong, and willfully, into a very consciously totalitarian system of extreme authoritarian control. What the Chinese government does, should not be taken as a good model for our policies, responses or behaviour: China is a police state.

Not only are China’s actions frequently and utterly unacceptable in a free society; but its actions are frequently motivated, not by concern for public health, for example, but by simple control.

*

What we should be more concerned about, is not the import of a few germs from China, which, so far, are much less dangerous than the flu: but the import of a totalitarian social model which would make Orwell cringe in horror.

But, then again, we in the West now have our own brand of technocracy, corporate fascism, and Orwellian oligarchy. It’s called the ECB, the Fed, the military-industrial-security complex – or simply, the corporate police state.

We needn’t import anything from China, as far as authoritarian social models go. In fact, the elite from East and West might want to swap notes. And I’m sure that Western and Eastern oligarchs have, and are, busily sharing notes.

After all, the Chinese authoritarians are our business partners now. A shared hatred for democracy and freedom, which is common, and nearly universal among the ruling classes of both East and West, simply seals the pact.

China has embraced neo-feudal corporatism. The West has embraced corporatist neo-feudalism. One is the mirror image of the other. The former has the bureaucratic elite in charge of a corporate capitalist economy; the latter has the corporate elite in charge of the bureaucratic and political-state powers. But although they have different inflections, both represent the merger of business and the state, which, as Mussolini said, is properly called corporatism, which is the proper term for fascism.

So, welcome to the Brave New World, germophobes. Wash your hands before kissing the ground before your masters, please.

*

De-industrializing the Western nations, and offshoring production to China and other low-wage regions, was astronomically profitable for the Western business elite. But, it destroyed the middle class at home; destroyed and gutted domestic consumer market demand, thus destroying and hollowing out the economy, which is now ready for implosion and collapse; caused inequality and poverty to soar; has led to a growing backlash and rising social tensions, as well as right-wing pseudo-populist movements of demagoguery and scape-goating (think Trump and co, and even worse); and with the resulting social, economic and political tensions about to erupt, either into revolution, or civil war, as a result. Good plan.

This has been truly great leadership, for the past 50 years. Now, we are reaping the harvest.

Short-sighted would be one word for it. The destruction and collapse of the United States, and the entire Western world, brought on by the greed and egomania, and power-lust, of the Western business and plutocratic elite, would be a more precise and detailed description.

In any case, to import China’s model of authoritarian, Orwellian, and totalitarian social control – based on the full and active cooperation of the new tech giants, and the Western corporate and governmental powers, is, quite simply put, disastrously insane.

We are importing a dark age. And everyone is worried about a few bugs.

Smart thinking.

JTR,
March 9, 2020

Fantasy and Indoctrination: Rough notes on a few fantasy novels: part one

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2020 by jtoddring

New Spring, The Novel:

The Wheel Of Time: In The Beginning – Robert Jordan (so the cover says)

(Lord of the Rings films and Terry Brookes Shannara novels got me hooked on epic, high fantasy – and no, I have no slight embarrassment about that. I think too much. Sometimes, I just want a novel that washes over me, where I can rest my mind and NOT think. Like looking at gardening magazines, or taking a hot bath, or a sauna, fantasy novels relax my mind – but only if they are well-written, and only if the content is not overly disturbing, or disgusting, of course, as it occasionally is; such as in this case.)

If Tolkien is the grand master of fantasy (I have not read him yet, sadly, but know his story-telling of course, and it is brilliant), Terry Brookes is one of his best, shining students. This novel, however, doesn’t remotely come close to the master or his protege, it seems to me. It reads like a book written for 12 year old pre-teen girls in a rich girls boarding school. I am now at page 111, and it seems to me there have been 96 pages of filler – very boring filler, at that. Dull, with a capital D, is the first thing that comes to mind, in describing this book. Extremely dull. Master of banality, maybe – not masterful fantasy, or even mediocre fantasy. D for dismal, as well as dull, I would say.

The character development is slow, plodding, and dull. The dialogue is pre-teen banal drama, and extremely dull. The setting is, at times, a bit more interesting, but rarely. Mainly it is absent, and thus, entirely dull. And the plot is plodding, and more like a barely moving bog, than a quietly meandering stream, much less a river.

Far worse than the dullness of the writing style, however, is the content. This is a book filled with feudalism and authoritarianism – and the ideology and mythology of feudalism and authoritarianism firmly upheld – with obedience to authority, knowing one’s place, pride of place, all-pervasive consciousness of status, class and caste, cheerily accepted arrogance of those in high places, and cheerily accepted condescension, if not disdain, for the common folk below. The ethos consistently conveyed is that hierarchy, inequality, feudalism, authoritarianism and elite rule are natural, inevitable, right and good – and so, an attitude of superiority among the higher classes is presented as natural, normal, right and good; and extra privileges, along with great wealth and great power, is to be expected for the elite, naturally, along with an attitude of superiority, because, of course, they are superior – as everyone rightly knows.

So yes, whether it was intentional or not, this book acts as a good system of indoctrination for rich girls and boys who are being groomed to rule over others – and for the lower ranks and classes to accept such inequality, hierarchy, and unequal power and wealth, as normal to life.

Wonderful! Let’s all return to medieval times, in the worst sense of that period, and return to feudalism! How grand that would be!

(And that is exactly where we are heading.)

And of course, fittingly, the book is also filled with infantile, or at best adolescent, ego games and power games, scheming and manipulation, by characters of all ages and levels of status, especially the “higher” classes, and this is also presented as natural, normal, inevitable, perfectly acceptable, unavoidable, intelligent behaviour, necessary and good. Machiavelli would approve, with a sly, sickening grin, as would Thomas Hobbes. Orwell and Jefferson would roll in their graves.

This book seems to be a “prequel” to the original series that was written by Robert Jordan, and presumably, and apparently, this book was not written by him, as he had died earlier. Hopefully, the original series, written by Robert Jordan, and not a team of writers using his name, is a far better quality of writing, far more engaging, far more interesting, and above all, is not steeped in the ideology and mythology of authoritarianism, feudalism, classism and elite rule.

(After this disaster of a novel, I will try the first book of the original series, and hope it is far better, in terms of both content and style.)

I don’t know whether I can finish the book. I hate not finishing a book, even if I strongly dislike it. But this book is both dismally dull, and thoroughly disgusting in its ideology. A book filled with obvious racist and sexist ideology, or chocked to the gills with graphic, gratuitous violence, would be no worse than this. It is not only dull, it is revolting.

Bring me some Dickens, or Ursula Le Guin! Before I throw up!

JTR,
March 5, 2020

On Libertarianism: Right & Left

Posted in anarchism, Bakunin, Bertrand Russell, capitalism, Chomsky, communism, conservative, corporate rule, corporatism, crisis of democracy, democratic deficit, Eric Fromm, fascism, globalization, Hobbes, Jefferson, Kropotkin, left, Lenin, libertarianism, Marx, neoliberalism, philosophy, Plato, political theory, politics, right, social theory, socialism, Thoreau, war on democracy, World Economic Forum with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2007 by jtoddring

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

~Albert Einstein

Libertarianism is a term that has come to be identified with the right, with limited government, ideals of freedom, free market capitalism and laissez fair economics, however, the term originally meant libertarian socialism, a libertarianism of the left. The distinction of two kinds of libertarianism, or more appropriately, a spectrum of views within what is called libertarianism, is important. Both right and left libertarianism have a deep skepticism about excessive concentrations of state power, encroachments of government power in the lives of individuals and communities, and a belief that ultimately, “That government is best which governs the least.” Beyond this agreement, there are considerable differences between libertarianism of the right and that of the left. But before the distinctions between left and right libertarianism can be discussed, we need to clarify just what is essential to a libertarian perspective, and also, to distinguish between the ideal and the immediate in terms of advocating or working towards specific goals for human society.

Thoreau expresses a very clear and lucid view of the subject, recognizing the ideal, yet also the immediate reality: ideally, and “when men are ready for it,” no government, which we shall have, and which shall be a degree of liberation not yet seen or imagined; but in the immediate sense, not “no government, but at once, a better government.” In other words, work toward and keep in mind the ideal – freedom from state power messing up and intruding on the peoples’ lives, liberty and communities, but also seek more limited victories in the short term: a better government.

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have…..But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

– Henry David Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience

Bertrand Russell also came to the same conclusion. His cool, rational conclusion, after a very fair-minded and objective analysis, was that anarchism – from the Latin, an-archos, meaning absence of an over-arching power, not chaos – is likely the best form of human society (as well as the full and self-consistent application of libertarian values), but we are not likely ready for it; in the short term, what he called libertarian socialism is the best order for society to which we can aspire. By that he meant limited government, with all government power kept as close to the community as possible, and as close the hands of the people as possible – as Jefferson urged – but also with strong values of voluntary free association and human cooperation for mutual aid and benefit (a la Kropotkin). Ideally, and in the short term, he recommended we work toward a society where power lies primarily, not in the hands of a few bureaucrats and lobbyists in a far away capital where power is centralized, but in the hands of the people at the level of community, with federations or networks of human cooperation and solidarity, trade and communication between and among communities and individuals for their mutual benefit and protection. Jefferson would certainly agree in spirit if not in all details.

Chomsky clarifies the distinction between long-term ideals and short-term goals within a reasonable and clear-headed perspective which is skeptical of concentrated political power, or any form of social power for that matter:

“Classical anarchist thought would have been more opposed to slavery, feudalism, fascism, and so on, than it would have been to parliamentary government. There was a good reason. Classical liberal thought, and anarchism coming out of it, were opposed to any concentration of power, that is, unaccountable concentration of power. It is reasonable to make a distinction between the more accountable and less accountable. Corporations are the least accountable. So, against the corporate assault on freedom and independence, one can quickly turn to the one form of social organization that offers … public participation and … that happens to be parliamentary government. That has nothing to do with being opposed to the State. In fact, it’s a sensible support for the State.” – Noam Chomsky

This is precisely why I can admire a democratic socialist like Hugo Chavez, who was democratically elected in closely monitored free and fair elections, who has introduced and held public referenda on every major decision faced by the people of Venezuela – a thought inconceivable to the elitist politicians of Washington, Ottawa, London, Paris or Berlin – and who is presently utilizing, with great popular democratic support, the institution of constitutional parliamentary democracy to protect the people of Venezuela from the greatest threat to human freedom and well-being on the planet today: the tyranny of unaccountable private empires – the global corporate raiders. It is no contradiction, therefore, to support libertarian socialism, or left libertarianism, while admiring a social democrat like Chavez. As Chomsky put it, it’s sensible support for the state – under certain limited conditions.

Chomsky as well expresses a view of libertarian socialism, and advocates for a society based on libertarian socialist principles of freedom along with voluntary cooperation and mutual aid. And Chomsky, as well or better than any other, clarifies the distinction of right and left libertarianism. Libertarians across the spectrum are opposed to excessive concentrations of political power, as it is viewed that such high degrees of concentrated political power in society have more often than not created more harm than good – a view that is shared among Jefferson, Thoreau, Bertrand Russell, Kropotkin, Chomsky and many others.

The history of the world shows that this view is the most realistic perspective on government and political power. The opposing view, that government is the saviour and redeemer of humanity, has brought about Stalinism, Nazism, fascism, Maoism, and lately, neoconservatism, among other evils. The view that is opposed to the libertarian desire to keep political power firmly in check, sees government as a kind of benign big brother, a paternal or maternal figure, a parent that treats citizens like children, who need to be coddled and scolded, controlled for their own good. It is a dangerous elitism, breeding naturally authoritarianism. It comes from a fear of freedom, as social psychologist Eric Fromm correctly pointed out, and not just megalomaniacal dreams of power.

Plato was the most famous and influential of the “government as saviour” camp. The philosopher kings, the wise few, would rule with benign despotism over the hapless and ignorant many. Sounds desirable, maybe, until you reflect that if you do not trust people to govern themselves, how can you possibly trust them to govern others? (A flaw of basic logic which was not missed by Jefferson.)

Hobbes furthered the view, presenting the anthropologically ignorant and incorrect view that life before civilization, by which he meant life before centralized government, was “evil, nasty, brutish and short.” The revolution in anthropology that occurred in the 1970’s with the discovery of new and conclusive evidence about our human history prior to the age of empires, refutes Hobbes unequivocally. Hobbes knew nothing of anthropology, of course, and the data would not be revealed for another few centuries, but he was wrong, and we know that now – or at least, we can know that now, although almost no-one is aware that such a revolution has occurred in anthropology and our knowledge of human history: we live in a pre-Copernican time with regard to the general culture’s understanding of anthropology and human history; most still believe the sun revolves `round the earth, though the evidence to refute this fallacy has been made clear.

In any case, Hobbes was engaging in a kind of rational self-deceit. Hobbes view of human beings was jaundiced and pessimistic in the extreme. He felt, as many do, that if there was no powerful over-arching force to restrain human beings, they would instantly rip each other’s throats out, and everything would descend into a war of “all against all.” Again, the anthropological data refutes this terrified view, but even if one were to accept it for sake of argument, it simply begs the question. If you do not trust people, then why would you give a few people extraordinary power? Would this not seem even more dangerous? Who did Hobbes expect to govern us, aliens? Hobbes did not trust people, so he argued that some people have an all-powerful position in order that these people protect people from people. This should strike us as immediately self-contradictory, ridiculous and absurd.

As Jefferson said, “If you do not trust people to govern themselves, how can you trust them to govern others?” It is therefore not idealistic and utopian to think that government should be kept to a minimum of centralized, concentrated power, but on the contrary, it is a healthy and prudent skepticism that informs such a view.

(When you combine Plato, Hobbes and Machiavelli, you get the neoconservatives – or their mirror image, neoliberalism. You get wildy elitist, authoritarian, ruthless, predatory, self-delusional, megalomaniacal empire fetish. That is what we are experiencing now.)

Thoreau demolishes Hobbes’ fantasy-scape with a few strokes on the pen:

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

Libertarianism: Right and Left

The libertarianism of the right has a view of power that does not keep to its own self-consistency. It views political power as potentially dangerous, having the great potential to be abused, and therefore needing to be kept in close check. But it does not recognize economic power as a power in society, which is an oversight that is hard to fathom, such power being so plainly obvious. Because libertarians of the right tend not to recognize economic power as a form of power in society, they are unconcerned with its concentrations – even when concentrations of economic power become staggeringly large, as they have over the past twenty or thirty years. This is an oversight that is frankly dangerous, if not delusional.

Libertarians of the left share the skepticism of highly concentrated political power, but, naturally, recognize the potential for harm and abuse from excessive concentrations of economic power. Thus, in the present order of things, corporate power is to be addressed equally, along side state or governmental power. To do otherwise is to contradict oneself, and worse, to leave the door open to serious and extreme abuses of power, and also, to fascism, which, as Mussolini said, is rightly called corporatism, since it is the merger of business and the state (and that is exactly what is happening now, and on a global scale) due to the lack of foresight to correct and put in check all forms of great concentrations of power in society.

Right libertarianism questions, challenges, and repudiates high levels of concentration of political power in society – and rightfully so, I believe – yet it is, or at least has been until recently, unwilling to question the role and nature of high levels of concentrations of economic power.

This is, once again, frankly, a gross oversight, and one that makes right libertarianism a contradiction in terms: you cannot advocate limitations on powers that unduly constrict human freedom and pose threats of tyranny in a self-consistent, coherent, or even rational manner, if you are only willing to look at one form of power in society, and remain blind to others. Economic power is every bit as real as political power – some would say more so.

The 500 biggest corporations on earth now have combined revenues that total three times the GDP of the world’s biggest national economy – that of the United States. If this does not constitute power in society, I’m not sure what would.

OK, well, corporations have immense power, but that does not mean it translates into political power – does it? They are competing with one another. Yes, they are competing with one another, and they also share common interests: drive labour costs and wages down, eliminate or circumvent labour and environmental standards, find the cheapest source of labour and resources and move there, then dominate them, open borders to free flow of capital, but not to labour…..The commonalities are pretty clear.

And do they meet, discuss common interests, work together cooperatively? Of course. Wouldn’t you if you were in their position?

Do teachers join together to pursue common interests, such as decent pay, pension plans, etc.? Do janitors get together to pursue common goals of better pay and working conditions?

It is obvious, or should be, that there are common group interests – or, heaven forbid we use the term, class interests – that bring otherwise competing parties together to pursue common goals. The corporate elite are no different. This is not a conspiracy, but simply common sense.

The world’s corporate elite gather, among other places, at Davos Switzerland, every year for the World Economic Forum, and there seek to push governments to their will, to advance common interests among the elite global investment class, the billionaire class, or the class of ruling oligarchs, to every extent that they are able to do so – and that is a considerable length.

The billionaires, and the large corporations they control, do not control the world – but they certainly dominate it, and they dominate virtually every nation and government on earth, as well as dominating the global economy, the financial system and most of the media. This is, by any sane or reasonable definition, hegemonic power: corporations and the billionaires who control them, now effectively rule the world. The only way to properly define such a system or order of things, is not democracy, certainly, but oligarchy – or plutocracy, or neo-feudalism, or most starkly, and what we are fast approaching in its full, ugly form: global, neo-feudal, corporate fascism.

It is impossible to deny the very real power of corporations in society without digressing into ideological fundamentalism and willful blindness. Refusing to challenge economic concentrations of power while espousing a libertarian philosophy is self-contradictory: right libertarianism is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

Would a laissez-fair, free-market capitalist, who supports only limited government – a libertarian as it is known on the right – be considered an oxymoron or a self-contradiction if he was also a slave owner? Of course. But it is not very different if a libertarian advocates checks and balances on political power, yet does not question the giant corporate monopolies and oligopolies that now wield more power than democratically elected governments.

Right libertarianism is truly a contradiction in terms, unless by that you mean a conservative libertarian, who also questions and challenges excessive concentrations of corporate, economic and financial power, and not only state or governmental power. U.S. Congressman and 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul, for example, I would describe as a conservative libertarian in this sense. He has his head on his shoulders when it comes to corporate powers, as far as I can tell. He is not stuck in ideological dogmatisms.

The left is equated – wrongly – with heavy-handed, bureaucratic, if not totalitarian government – or at least this is the view of the left that we get from the right wing; however, there are, broadly speaking, two wings or schools of thought within what has been called the left, and only one of the two fits the above description.

In the socialist movement of the 1800’s there was a definite rift, and a fierce debate, between the two very different currents of thought within what is loosely described as the political left. Marx led the wing we are most familiar with, Bakunin the other. Bakunin and the libertarian socialists were ousted, lost the battle, and were to some considerable degree eclipsed from history – at least until very recently. Bakunin warned that Marxist ideas would lead to a new form of tyranny – and of course he was right. The Soviet Union was the prime example, and Bakunin predicted the tyranny long in advance.

Now, with the Marxist-Leninist school of thought being in full disgrace within the left, as well as within the broader community of humanity world-wide, and with global neoliberal corporate capitalism experiencing a deep and profound, and rapidly growing crisis of legitimacy world-wide, with rapidly rising popular discontent, people are beginning to look for alternatives – and the alternative is becoming clear to many. That is, in the short term: a freedom-loving and anti-authoritarian, democratic socialism in the short term; and libertarian socialism in the longer term. I would say they deserve our thoughtful attention, and merit respectful consideration, at the very least, and to put it most mildly.

The War on Democracy: Unchecked Power Out of Control

Under what we should more honestly call monopoly capitalism, the era of the small shop owner being the primary economic player having long ago vanished, corporate power has become so concentrated – that is, economic power has become so enormously concentrated – that it now threatens to engulf and eviscerate all remaining democratic power of societies world wide. We should be concerned. Jefferson warned of this 200 years ago. We did not listen. We are now facing the results of our lack of foresight.

Those on the right and the left with a libertarian perspective would do well to communicate. There is a natural alliance here, if we can learn to speak in ways that are mutually understandable. There is no time for bickering or ideological warfare. We need to get together to protect the basics: decent, although flawed, human, imperfect limited government, within the framework of constitutional democracy and basic human rights and freedom.

If we do not come together, and not just right and left libertarians, but more traditional liberals, conservatives, social democrats, greens and progressives, and all who oppose the, by now undeniable, drift into oligarchy and corporate fascism, and stand together for constitutional democracy, civil liberties, human rights and freedom, all other considerations will become merely abstract, and we will find ourselves living in a brave new world, and a very dark age,  leading rapidly to ecological collapse and the end of human life on earth.

Jamie Brownlee sums up the current, central challenge to humanity at this time, in one brief and extremely lucid passage:

“At present, the state is the only institution large enough to act as a counterweight to corporate power; therefore, short-term goals should involve defending, even strengthening, those elements of the state that are accountable to public input (which are the ones constantly under attack by private power.) Opening up the state to democratic participation and improving the effectiveness and accountability of state regulation are the most realistic interim strategies for dealing with the corporate threat and the practical problems of tomorrow—problems on which people’s lives depend. In the short-term, then, political activism that directly targets corporate power should be complimented by efforts to re-democratize the state and government.”

– Jamie Brownlee, Ruling Canada, Corporate Cohesion and Democracy, 2005

As constitutional lawyer Joel Bakan, author of, The Corporation, has said, if the typical corporation really was a person, then by an exact psychological definition, it would have to be labelled as a sociopath. Even if we did not have grave misgivings about excessive concentrations of power in human society, as we should, these are not the kind of powers which we should wish to govern and rule our nations or the world. Clearly, it is time for a change – a real change, and now. The urgency cannot be overstated, or emphasized enough.

First things first – let us recapture, reclaim and renew our democracy, and “crush in its infancy”, as Thomas Jefferson said, the oligarchy, the new empire, and the excessive powers of “the new moneyed aristocracy,” which now threaten, not only democracy and freedom, but all life on earth. Then we can decide where to go from there. On this point, we must be clear.

We must gain the clarity that is urgently needed at this time, and unite and inspire, and empower the people. And we must act decisively, and now.

J. Todd Ring

April 15, 2007

Further reading:

Writings of J. Todd Ring

Amazon.com: Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions): Books: Henry David Thoreau

Amazon.com: Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism & Syndication: Books: Bertrand Russell

Amazon.com: The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future: Books: Riane Eisler

Amazon.com: The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy: Books: Murray Bookchin

Amazon.com: Escape from Freedom: Books: Erich Fromm

Amazon.com: The Power Elite: Books: C. Wright Mills,Alan Wolfe

Amazon.com: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: Books: Joel Bakan

Economist’s View: You’ll Miss Us When We’re Gone

Economist’s View: Can Democrats and Libertarians Find Common Ground?

“Their Libertarianism and Ours” – from:

Amazon.com: Don’t Think, Smile!: Notes on a Decade of Denial: Books: Ellen Willis

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