Archive for history

The Failure of Propaganda, The Crisis of Legitimacy, and The Resort to Fascism

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2020 by jtoddring

The propaganda is hitting Goebbels level, it is getting that obvious and stark. The elite are losing the propaganda war – hence, the increasingly shrill and panicked, desperate measures. Keep up the dissidence; speak truth to the people. But do know this, which is critical to understand. We need to understand the following, right now.

The more the propaganda war fails, the more desperate the methods employed by the ruling Wall Street/Davos corporate elite, and the more screeching the tone of their presstitutes and unwitting followers. This is moving rapidly into authoritarianism, totalitarianism, and yes, fascism. In order to defeat that, and to restore democracy and freedom, we need to understand its roots, and understand our history.

The ruling bipartisan corporate elite (both liberal and conservative, and with the alliance of social democrats) have been losing the propaganda war since the defeat of the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Investment) in 1998, and particularly since protesters shut down the WTO (World Trade Organization) talks in Seattle in 1999. These were two giant victories for grassroots popular movements, and for the global democracy movement, and the alternative globalization movement – enormous victories and landmarks which very people understand, or even know about.

(The Multilateral Agreement on Investment was a “trade agreement”, which, like most “trade agreements”, was and are, in reality, corporate rights agreements. They enshrine the rights of corporations over and above the rights of people, or the powers of democratic nations and governments. They effectively codify, legalize and enshrine global corporate rule. We have been fools to allow them to succeed and be passed into law, or signed and agreed to, and we must abrogate them immediately, in concert with other nations, and governments at all levels, and build free and fair trade, aid and mutual security alliances, rejecting NAFTA, CETA, the TPP, SPP, and the like, along with the organizations and bodies that represent the “new normal” of de facto global corporate rule, such as the WTO, WEF, BIS, Fed, ECB, World Bank and OECD. That is the critical context to understand. We can abandon all hope for humanity and the Earth until these key points and central facts are understood, at least by a small, dedicated and passionate minority who can and will make manifest the full outbreak and triumph of democracy, and the end to neofeudal global corporate rule. The MAI, in that context, was a corporate rights agreement which would have given transnational corporations even greater powers over democratic governments. It was defeated in 1998, in Canada, by a handful of activists, before the vast majority of people had even heard of it. That is the power of a few dedicated individuals. Always remember that. The power is always with the people, regardless of outward appearances. Know that, and act upon it.)

This was a monumental turning point in Western history, in 1999, when protesters shut down the WTO talks – a turning point which virtually no one recognized or noticed, aside from the ruling elite’s own intellectual courtesans, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, along with a handful of dissidents, such as Noam Chomsky, Maude Barlow and John Ralston Saul.

The 50,000 activists and protesters from around the world, and across all social lines, whose non-violent civil disobedience and blockade shut down the WTO talks in 1999, at what has since been called the Battle of Seattle, marked a distinct, historical turning point.

It was late 1999, at those failed WTO talks, that the Western crisis of legitimacy was confirmed, and reached a tipping point. It was also at that time that the ruling Western elite realized that the outbreak of democracy which they had witnessed and been horrified by in the 1960’s, which they had consciously worked hard to suppress, had not gone away, but had only become stronger. In short, they were shell-shocked, they were outraged and indignant, and they were panicked.

(For further history, going back to the 1960’s, see Ralph Nader on the Powell Memorandum, and Noam Chomsky on the Pentagon Papers, and later, Chomsky and Holy Sklar on The Crisis of Democracy. Going forward in time, look at the COG planning under Reagan/Bush, the PNAC papers under Bush/Cheney, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Lock Step planning document, among others. The imperial elite always become filled with hubris in late stage empire, preceding collapse. They left a paper trail of their plans, motives and objectives, out of sheer arrogance. “The American people don’t read.” We know very clearly what they were and are planning, since they put it down in writing and it is in the public record. Conspiracy theory? What a foolish phrase. Look at the records. Look at the documents written by the power elite. There is no theory about it. It is simple class warfare and power lust. Only a school child would think that powerful people are incapable of evil acts. Adults know that people sometimes do horrible things. Those with great power simply have greater opportunity to do greater evil. History shows that they carry out evil actions with disturbing frequency. It is not rare. It is the norm. Power corrupts. Do not be surprised at the evil actions powerful men commit. Instead, expose them, curtail or stop them where possible, and decentralize power to prevent such evil on such grand scale in the future. That was Jefferson’s attitude, and I think it makes the most sense. But in any case, do not be naive. That would be foolish. It would also be dangerous and irresponsible. Democracy and freedom demand eternal vigilance, not naive and childish complacency.)

The crisis of legitimacy was further confirmed in early 2003, when the WEF’s own global poll came back, in time for the royal Davos annual meeting of oligarchs.

Here is the leading dissident intellectual of the Western world, Noam Chomsky, the most influential intellectual alive, based on citations, ranked as the 6th most influential figure in Western history, right after Plato and the Bible, speaking to the World Social Forum in February 2003, about the World Economic Forum at Davos and the global crisis of legitimacy, which spells trouble for the ruling elite, but spells hope for humanity and the Earth:

“Let’s start with some good news about these basic themes. As you know, there is also a conference of the World Economic Forum going on right now, in Davos. Here in Porto Alegre, the mood is hopeful, vigorous, exciting. In Davos, the New York Times tells us, “the mood has darkened.” For the “movers and shakers,” it is not “global party time” any more. In fact, the founder of the Forum has conceded defeat: “The power of corporations has completely disappeared,” he said. So we have won. There is nothing left for us to do but pick up the pieces — not only to talk about a vision of the future that is just and humane, but to move on to create it.

Of course, we should not let the praise go to our heads. There are still a few difficulties ahead.

The main theme of the WEF is “Building Trust.” There is a reason for that. The “masters of the universe,” as they liked to call themselves in more exuberant days, know that they are in serious trouble. They recently released a poll showing that trust in leaders has severely declined.”

As Chomsky noted, since its creation in the 1971, by oligarch architect Klaus Schwab, the tone at the New Palace of Versailles, as Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul has called the Davos gathering, or “the new royal court”, which the world’s leading business journal calls “the de facto world government”, was jubilant every year, and increasingly so, as profits soared and the rich grew richer, and increasingly took over the world. But in 2003, the tone turned suddenly somber, as the news of the WEF’s own global poll sank in, and the meaning of it was realized.

The WEF global poll showed a deep and widespread loss of confidence, faith and trust in political and business elites, and in existing political and economic systems and institutions amongst the people world-wide. The intellectuals in residence to the Western oligarchs explained what this means to the ruling business elite, and their political and technocratic minions. It means that the Western capitalist powers could collapse like a house of cards, just as the Soviet Union and the entire Eastern Bloc did, virtually overnight – and the collapse of the Western oligarchy could come very soon, as a result of what is known as a crisis of legitimacy.

The ruling Western oligarchs at Davos knew, or were starkly and clearly informed, that they had three options:

  1. Compromise with the people, to address and resolve the crisis of legitimacy, by increasing democracy and meeting more of the needs and desires of the people. (A New Deal compromise was once again needed to stave off revolution and collapse.)
  2. Allow the crisis of legitimacy to go unaddressed, and be swept from power – just as the Soviet elite were swept from power, and very recently, a mere three decades ago, and as were the aristocrats during the French Revolution before that, and a series of dethroned and cast down emperors and collapsed empires, stretching back through time to the Babylonian kings, and before.
  3. Refuse options 1 and 2, and instead resort to rule by force – resort to fascism, authoritarianism, and a police state.

Options 1 and 2 were quickly dismissed. Compromise was not what the elite wanted. They had resented the compromise made in the New Deal; they had resented that their preferred route of fascism had failed, so far (see, Smedley Butler and The Business Plot, and Naomi Klein’s, The Shock Doctrine); and they were not in the mood to compromise now, with greater power than any empire in history. Loss of power was, of course, completely out of the question. That left only one option in the minds of the ruling business elite. That was rule by force: resort to a police state.

As Chomsky has said, if you want to understand a society, you have to look at where power lies. Seems obvious enough. But that is called “conspiracy theory” – a phrase which Chomsky has rightly said is, “used to poo-poo institutional analysis.”

Further any serious sociological investigation, or basic observation, shows that the business elite rule the West, and by now, most of the world. (See C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite, Peter Phillips’ Giants: The Global Power Elite, John Pilger’s The New Rulers of the World, John Perkins’ New Confessions Of An Economic Hitman, and, A Game As Old As Empire, Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, and Chomsky’s Class Warfare, Necessary Illusions, and Year 501.)

What is also true, as Chomsky has also said, is that in democratic societies where real social power is highly concentrated in elite hands, there are two options for dealing with the conflict between official democracy and unofficial or de facto oligarchy. Either reduce the power of the elite, or reduce democracy. Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and a few others have advocated for increased democracy. They were not warmly greeted by the ruling elite. The elite have always preferred the latter, which is the reduction or hollowing out of democracy, and explicitly so, as they have said in their written words – and viciously so, in action, with ruthless force. (See Noam Chomsky, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, and William Blum’s, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.)

Do the Western elite prefer fascism to democracy? That would be an amazingly naive question. It would show a grim and total lack of any knowledge or understanding of history.

The next principle is that if a power elite does rule a society, as in the West today and for a very long time, there are two ways power can be kept in the hands of the few: propaganda or force. And when the former fails, the options are only two: lose power, or resort to force. Again, it is no secret which option the elite prefer, and have shown they strongly, even viciously prefer, throughout the history of the West. (The first act of the newly created CIA, for instance, was to subvert and destroy democracy in Italy, and to put the Mafia in charge of the country – yes, the literal Mafia. See Peter Dale Scott for further details.) Anyone who does not clearly understand these things frankly has no idea what is going on.

That was the beginning of the post-9/11 era: the War On Terrorism was, in reality, a continuation and an escalation of the elite-driven war on democracy. It wasn’t a sudden change of heart among the ruling elite, but simply a continuity of agenda, by both liberals and conservatives, including Saint Obama, and a heightening of the long campaign of a war on democracy, taken to new levels, out of fear and desperation, in response to the growing global crisis of legitimacy, the growing outbreak of democracy, and the failure of propaganda, leading to the resort to thinly veiled fascism, basically overt in the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act, which suspended the Constitution.

Now, in 2020, we have seen the war on democracy escalate further.

That explains the past two decades: growing public awareness, growing protests, and a growing crisis of legitimacy, led to a failure of the propaganda war, which led the ruling business elite to a resort to force, to authoritarianism, and to fascism.

This explains what is happening in 2020. It is a fascist power grab by the ruling business elite, in response to a crisis of legitimacy. To fail to contextualize events in 2020 in this way, represents either a failure of intelligence, or else a failure in honesty.

Our response should be clear enough. Defend freedom, democracy and constitutional rule; remove the Wall Street/Davos business elite and their technocratic minions and political prostitutes from power; and restore power to the people, where it rightly belongs.

If people on the left, the right, or in the centre do not realize these facts, and keep them in focus, front and centre, then they have either been corrupted, or are simply not dealing with reality, and are living in a dream world.

Perspective is everything. Stay focused, and keep the narrative clear, or all is lost.

What is the challenge of our time?

Simply put, it is the people versus the elite.

See my book by the same title, released in June of this year, available at Barnes & Noble and all good bookstores.

The People vs The Elite: A Manifesto for Democratic Revolution, Or, Survival in the 21st Century & Beyond

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-people-vs-the-elite-j-todd-ring/1137072026

We must stand up for democracy and freedom now, or it is a dark age and a gulag society, followed by extinction and collapse, which lies ahead.

Stand now.

J. Todd Ring,
September 16, 2020

The War On Democracy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2020 by jtoddring

(Comment below after listening to the most important three minutes of info you are likely to hear, read or otherwise encounter in decades, or have likely ever heard. Noam Chomsky on The Crisis Of Democracy, via Spotify, is linked below. But note this important synopsis of my political analysis, which pretty much accords with Chomsky’s, nearly on every point.)

The war on democracy has had many incarnations and taken many forms. The War On Drugs was one form. That was conjoined by the older, Red Scare and Cold War tactics. Fostering racism, sexism, xenophobia, anything that will divide the people, is strategy number one, of course, and always has been. Then came the War On Terrorism. That too, was effective, but not sufficient. Something further was needed to control the 99% and keep the 1% in power. Now we have the War On Germs. Does anyone notice a pattern here? You should.

JTR,

August 30, 2020

I offer you these hashtags, to sow dissent, non-violent revolution, freedom and democracy:

#WarOnGerms #WarOnDemocracy #FightTheFascists

#OccupyYourMind #ScienceIsNotDogma #NoToOligarchy

#FreedomNotFascism

 

Who Are The CIA?

Posted in activism, American Freedom Agenda, American Freedom Campaign, American politics, analysis, anarchism, Bakunin, books, Chomsky, CIA, civil liberties, class, common ground, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, elite, empire, empowerment, Eric Fromm, far right, fascism, fascist, FDR, freedom, Jefferson, left, Lenin, libertarian, libertarian socialism, libertarianism, Marx, must-read, Orwell, people's movements, philosophy, police state, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, right, right wing, socialism, the right, the world's other superpower, Thoreau, truth, U.S., Uncategorized, war on democracy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2020 by jtoddring

Who are the CIA? This will tell you everything you need to know.

Here’s where things really started to go wrong: 1947, the National Security Act, which created the National Security Council and the CIA, giving the CIA sweeping, ultra-secretive, unconstitutional powers, and near limitless budget through the legalized, covert re-allocation of funds from other government agencies – and the secret recruitment of thousands of Nazis: not just Nazi scientists, to create NASA; but Nazi spies, into the new CIA.

Can you say, “Deeply corrupting influence“? That would be an understatement. No wonder the CIA became instantly ghoulish, and has remained so.

Read, The CIA’s Greatest Hits, by Mark Zepezauer, for a brief overview of one of the world’s most truly evil organizations. Then read, Blowback: America’s Secret Recruitment of Nazis and Its Disastrous Effects On Our Domestic and Foreign Policy, by Christopher Simpson and Mark Crispin Miller – to see where it all started, and how it went deeply wrong in 1947, right from the beginning.

If there are any doubts as to the nature of the organization, the next step would be to read William Blum’s, Killing Hope. Noam Chomsky and Peter Dale Scott can shed light into this dark netherworld of deep state politics, as well.

The organization should be disbanded. JFK and RFK were right. It is a dangerous criminal organization that has waged a war on democracy and freedom around the world since its creation, including at home within the United States. There are 17 other intelligence agencies in the US. This one, can and should be abolished.

JTR,
August 3, 2020

 

Post-Script:

Am I a radical leftist? Yes.

By radical, I mean the original meaning of the word, from the Latin, radus, meaning root: “to get to the root of”; “that which gets to the root of”; or, “one who gets to the root of things”.

By leftist, I mean this. The political spectrum has been driven so far to the far right over the past 50 years by the slow motion global corporate coup, that anyone who questions the new global corporate empire, including moderate conservative Republicans such as Eisenhower, are viewed as dangerous radical leftists. (“Beware the military industrial complex.”) So yes, if Eisenhower, MLK and FDR would all be viewed today as radical leftists, which they undoubtedly would, then I am proud to say I stand with them.

Am I a terrorist? No, I believe, along with Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Henry David Thoreau, in non-violent civil disobedience, as a means of making our society better, more ethical, more just, and more sane. I have always disavowed violence; and I agree with MLK: “If I was not opposed to violence for moral reasons, I would be opposed to violence for reasons of strategy.”

Am I an authoritarian? A Marxist? Neither. Not a Marxist, no. Marx was a brilliant sociologist, whose writing is important, or at least worth while to read. He was a terrible political philosopher, however – precisely because he left the door wide open to authoritarianism: which is why Bakunin, the leader of the larger, libertarian socialist wing of the First International, which fiercely opposed Marx’s centralist, statist, and elitist, distorted vision of socialism, predicted that if Marx or his followers were ever to succeed in capturing state power, they would usher in a tyranny worse than that of the Tzar. That was a prediction Bakunin made decades before the Bolshevik revolution – and he was perfectly right. Kropotkin, my favourite political philosopher, along with Spinoza, Chomsky, Bookchin, Joanna Macy and Thoreau, also summed it up, when he said, after the Bolsheviks seized power, The revolution is dead. Meaning, of course, that the faux socialists, who in reality were and are simply statists, elitists, and authoritarians, had killed it. So no, I am adamantly and passionately opposed to all forms of authoritarianism, be they right wing corporate-fascist, or (pseudo-leftist) Marxist-Leninist. I would call myself a libertarian socialist, along with Chomsky, Kropotkin, Rocker, Bookchin, Ursula Le Guin and Bertrand Russell. But in the near term, and immediately, I would be very happy simply to see basic constitutional democracy and freedom secured, restored, and renewed. In fact, I would take Thomas Jefferson’s vision over Marx any day, in a heartbeat – because Jefferson had the clearer mind and clearer vision.

Decentralize power, and do not mistrust the people – beware instead the excessive concentration of power in the hands of an elite. That was Jefferson’s view; and he was far more prescient, prudent, and sane, than Marx, or any of his followers. So yes, I will take Jefferson over Marx any day.

Am I a conspiracy theorist? Anyone who uses such a phrase is either dishonest or deeply misled. It is a red herring phrase, designed to scare people away from serious investigation of their society. As Chomsky said, “The term conspiracy theory is used to poo-poo institutional analysis.” Amen. That sums it up perfectly. As Chomsky also said, with his usual matter of fact cutting through the bullshit and fog: “If you want to understand a society, you have to look at where power lies.” That should be obvious to everyone with even a glimmering flicker of intelligence. Naturally, in less than ideal societies, that takes you into dark corners, and shadowy areas steeped in secrecy and denial. To some people, that makes you a courageous freedom fighter, a seeker of truth, and a serious researcher, thinker, scholar or investigator. To others, that just makes you scary. But I will choose to side with the courageous, and not the mousy. As MLK said, “The moral arm of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

And if the CIA decides it has a bullet for me as well, for criticizing them or their crypto-fascist corporate masters, then I will happily take that, over silent complicity with great, on-going, systemic evils, which no good man or woman can acquiesce to, in any semblance of good conscience.

I’ve already pointed out many times that the emperor has no clothes. Somebody has to speak the truth. Thankfully, there are millions of us, who prefer truth to illusions and lies, and freedom to servitude or slavery.

I take my stand with Orwell and Huxley and Fromm, Chomsky, Thoreau and MLK. I could do far worse. It is hard to imagine a way to do much better.

JTR,
August 3, 2020

 

Gender, Hierarchy, Civilization & Collapse: A Few Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

What did Sumeria ever do for us? Invented writing, our concepts of time, irrigation, cities, created the first literature…little stuff like that.

Sumeria predates ancient Egypt, Babylon, Greece, and Biblical times, though it was a completely forgotten civilization until very recently. The civilization spanned roughly 3,500 years, between 5,500 BCE & 1,750 BCE.

Remember, modern Western civilization is a mere 400 years old. Just a baby, by comparison.

The Sumerian civilization, mythology and writings inspired the book of Genesis and Homer, for example, and provided one of the primary the seedbeds for Western civilization, such as it is. Unfortunately they also invented or co-invented war, empire, conquest, ecological degradation, class division, hierarchy, plunder and inequality. Crappy stuff we’re still living with today. 

They did uphold gender equality, however. Mind you, this seems to indicate Eisler was wrong and Bookchin was right: hierarchy spreads as a corrosive social model that comes to infect everything, but it does not necessarily begin with gender. 

“Even so, the culture had been struggling to retain its autonomy ever since the Amorites had gained power in Babylon. A shift in cultural influence, evidenced in many respects but, notably, in the male-female ratio of the Mesopotamian pantheon, came with the rise to power of the Semitic Amorites in Babylon and, especially, during the reign of Hammurabi (r. 1792-1750 BCE) who completely reversed the Sumerian theological model in elevating a supreme male god, Marduk, over all others. Temples dedicated to goddesses were replaced by those for gods and, even though the goddesses’ temples were not destroyed, they were marginalized.

At this same time, women’s rights – which were traditionally on par with men’s – declined as did the great Sumerian cities. Overuse of the land and urban expansion, coupled with ongoing conflicts, are cited as the primary reasons for the fall of the cities. The correlation between the decline in the status of female deities and women’s rights has never been adequately explained – it is unknown which came first – but it is a telling detail in the decline of a culture which had always held women in high regard. By the time the Elamites invaded c. 1750 BCE, the Sumerian culture was already deteriorating and the [invading] Elamites simply finished the process.”

   – Joshua J. Mark, Ancient History Encyclopedia 

Hierarchy, inequality of class, empire, war, conquest, pillage and plunder, and ecological destruction: all of these things existed in Sumer alongside gender equality, it seems, and gender equality both in terms of cultural values, religion and mythology, and in practice. Therefore, we have to conclude that gender imbalance is a severe social, spiritual, and moral problem, but the evidence seems to indicate that it is not the root of all evils that it is sometimes presented to be.

That being said, when gender imbalance begins, society rapidly spirals into ever deeper problems, because the fundamental balance between agency and communion is destroyed; until the society finally collapses, or rediscovers a balance.

Sumeria was well on the way to collapse, regardless of external threats, exactly as with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Internal imbalance always brings internal decline, and finally, either an eventual renaissance and rebirth, or the collapse of the civilization.

“Sumerian was well established as the written language by the late 4th century BCE and Sumerian culture, religion, architecture, and other significant aspects of civilization were as well. The literature of the Sumerians would influence later writers, notably the scribes who wrote the Bible, as their tales of The Myth of Adapa, The Eridu Genesis, and The Atrahasis would inform the later biblical accounts of the Garden of Eden, Fall of Man, and the Great Flood. Enheduanna’s works would become the models for later liturgy, Mesopotamian animal fables would be popularized by Aesop, and The Epic of Gilgamesh would inspire works such as the Iliad and Odyssey.

The concept of the gods living in the city’s temple, as well as the shape and size of the Sumerian ziggurat, is thought to have influenced the Egyptian development of the pyramid and their beliefs about their own gods. The Sumerian concept of time, as well as their writing system, was also adopted by other civilizations. The Sumerian cylinder seal – an individual’s sign of personal identification – remained in use in Mesopotamia until c. 612 BCE and the fall of the Assyrian Empire. There was literally no area of civilization the Sumerians did not make some contribution to but, for all their strengths, their culture began to decline long before it fell.”

   – Joshua J. Mark

Their civilization began to decline long before it fell and actually collapsed. Then as now. History is repeating.

We must regain the balance, in multiple ways, or we too are headed for collapse.

“When I observe the ruts in a road, I am compelled to think, how much deeper the ruts in the mind.”

– Henry David Thoreau

But as Thoreau said, it is never too late to give up our bad habits, or our old ideas. Remember: “There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

JTR,

May 19, 2020

Post-Script:

On a comic note, for comedic relief, note this. Trump must have been advising the Sumerians on wall construction. Something was clearly amiss. The futility is amusing, in any case. Decline and collapse was due to internal factors, not external threats. But it surely is a Homer Simpson moment to build a wall, and not even get the basic concept right!

“The Sumerian civilization collapsed c. 1750 BCE with the invasion of the region by the Elamites. Shulgi of Ur had erected a great wall in 2083 BCE to protect his people from just such an invasion but, as it was not anchored at either end, it could easily be walked around – which is precisely what the invaders did.”

Wow. Is that how historians will look at us in 4,000 years, presuming humans are alive on Earth by then? Ending our civilization with one big, “Doh!”

Oh, Marg….

 

Critical Reading:

Rianne Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade

Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom

Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom

Ronald Wright, A Short History Of Progress

Wade Davis, The Wayfinders

David Suzuki, Elders’ Wisdom

Joanna Macy, World As Lover, World As Self

Allan Wallace, Choosing Reality

Noam Chomsky, Year 501

Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions

Henry David Thoreau, Walden and On Civil Disobedience

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Kindred Spirits & “Civilization”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2020 by jtoddring

Thinking about questions of human society and what is “civilized” or “civilization” makes me realize again how much I agree with Chomsky, Gandhi and Thoreau. They have all been deeply critical of what is called Western “civilization”. It also makes me think it’s time to read Vine Deloria Jr. All of them seem like definite kindred spirits to me. I take that thought with a great deal of comfort.

JTR,

May 18, 2020

The end of civilization? I’d like to see its beginning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2020 by jtoddring

 

Civilization? Technology does not define it. Morality does. That makes all empires uncivilized, because they are based in conquest, plunder, mass murder and theft.

Amazing… Scholars still talking about the Roman Empire as civilized and civilizing… By what definition? Because they had sewers? I agree with Gandhi, Western civilization, “would be a good idea”. 

An otherwise thoughtful historian writes typical gibberish, which is universally accepted in Western civilization (sic) as matter of fact, common sense, and informed opinion:

“Wolfram points out that no other nationality, such as the Celts, seems to carry as much emotional and historical baggage as the Goths. They are either traditionally blamed for the destruction of the civilization of the Roman Empire that plunged western culture into a “dark age” or as heroes who refused to bear the yoke of Rome submissively (best exemplified in the figures of Athanaric, Fritigern, Alaric I, and Totila). It is entirely possible, however, to see the Goths as both these entities. Recent scholarship presents a view of the Goths which is more balanced than the either-or view, which has defined them for so long. The historian Philip Matyszak writes:

Until recently it was automatically assumed that Roman civilization was a Good Thing. Rome carried the torch of civilization into the barbarian darkness, and after the unpleasantness of conquest, Rome brought law, architecture, literature and similar benefits to the conquered peoples…There is now an alternative view, which suggests that Rome became the only civilization in the Mediterranean area by destroying half a dozen others. Some of these civilizations were as advanced as Rome’s, or even more so. Others were developing, and the form they might have finally taken is now lost forever. (9)

Since histories have relied primarily on Roman sources to present the history of the Goths, these people are frequently equated with the concept of the “uncivilized barbarian” or the “noble savage”. In fact, they were neither. As Wolfram points out, their history cannot be claimed as that of the ancient German people nor of the Slavic people nor of any people presently living (74-75).

The Goths entered history at a pivotal moment in the decline of the Roman Empire and played their part in that drama. With the empire gone, they ruled over two great kingdoms: one of Odoacer and Theodoric the Great in Italy, and the other in France (that of Theodoric I).  In Totila, the last great king of the Ostrogoths, they produced one of the most brilliant military leaders in history, a match for the legendary Belisarius of Rome, known as the “Last of the Romans’. With Belisarius’ victory, the history of the Goths ends.”

It is therefore difficult at first to determine exactly what the legacy of the Goths is to the modern-day world until one realizes that, without them, there would not be one. The kingdom of Odoacer preserved the best aspects of the Roman Empire and that of Theodoric the Great maintained that preservation. Western civilization continued after the fall of Rome, an entity that was disintegrating daily and would have fallen anyway even if the Goths had never set a single boot on Roman soil; it was the Goths who preserved the light of western civilization, even as they helped to topple the empire that had given rise to it.”

(From Joshua J. Mark’s, The Goths, though it could be almost any standard issue text)

See notes above. Think again. 

Preserving civilization? What civilization?

Again, I say:

The end of civilization? I’d like to see its beginning.

JTR,

May 18, 2020

Musings On History: Goths, the Fall of Rome, and the Future of Humanity

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2020 by jtoddring

 

I love a good mystery. Who were the Goths? Where did they come from? How did they manage to sack Rome and defeat the most powerful empire the world had ever seen? What is their true cultural, mythological, spiritual, philosophical and ideological history? 

(Genetic history means little, since we are all close family, in reality; and there is more genetic variation in a single family line than between supposed “races”. But cultural history diverges widely, and that is significant, to say the least. It is as significant as it is open-ended, and it is completely open-ended. Racism, xenophobia, eugenics and Social Darwinism can all end here, should end here, if we are sane. They have no valid basis in reality, but are based only in delusion.)

How was a supposed Gothic-Germanic-Scandinavian mythology used and abused by fascists and Nazis, and corrupted and perverted into a dark poison? (There’s a good question for my anthropology and history scholar friends.) How are they really related to the Germanic peoples, and possibly to Scandinavia, or to Germanic and Norse mythology? To the Vikings and other raiders? 

A bigger mystery is this…

Every nation was a raider nation, from pre-Hellenic, Homeric Greece, through the “great” Roman Empire, the Spanish, Portuguese, French and English empires, etc., to the US empire, and the new global corporate empire, which at present, and for the moment, rules the world. 

But five thousand years of conquest mentality, empires, raiders, looting, rape and pillage, narcissistic egomania and infantile grandiosity, slaughter and slavery, is enough. We can do better.

The bigger mystery is this. Why do the people settle for so little?

Dream big. A better world is entirely possible, if we want it.

This could be the last empire, if we want it to be. We can be free, if we choose it.

All empires fall. What we need now, is an end to empire itself.

JTR,

May 18, 2020

History Repeats: The Decline & Fall of the Western Corporate Empire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2020 by jtoddring

“The Goths remained on Roman land and would ally themselves with the Roman army. Later, however, one man, a Goth and former Roman commander, rose up against Rome – a man who only asked for what had been promised him – a man who would do what no other had done for eight centuries: sack Rome. His name was Alaric, and while he was a Goth, he had also been trained in the Roman army. He was intelligent, Christian, and very determined. He sought land in the Balkans for his people, land that they had been promised. Later, as the western emperor delayed his response, Alaric increased his demands, not only grain for his people but also recognition as citizens of the empire; however, the emperor, Honorius, continually refused. With no other course, Alaric gathered together an army of Goths, Huns and freed slaves and crossed the Alps into Italy. His army was well-organized, not a mob. Honorius was incompetent and completely out of touch, another in a long line of so-called “shadow emperors” – emperors who ruled in the shadow of the military.” 

   – Donald L. Wasson, The Fall Of The Western Roman Empire

As I’ve said, history is repeating itself.

A shadow government, a military industrial corporate security complex, rules a decaying Western empire, while the peoples’ needs are met with snears akin to, “Let them eat cake”.

An empire in decline, the Western (pseudo-democratic, crypto-fascist) corporate empire, facing both growing internal revolt and rising external competition, reacts in desperation with ever more desperate measures, like a wounded, dying beast, lashing out.

“By virtue of its unbounded aggression, Roman imperialism was responsible for its own destruction.” Peter Heather summed it up well. And again, it must be seen, it is happening again, as a new empire repeats the mistakes of the past.

The over-reaction, the hubris, the over-reach, both internally and externally; and above all, the callous and imperious, brazen heavy-handedness, will only hasten the decline and collapse of this latest of empires, which is the Western empire of corporate oligarchy.

Would-be God-kings never learn.

The Roman Empire fell for a number of reasons, including simple brain poisoning due to foolish choices of consumption (sounds familiar: lead goblets then, pesticides and junk food now). However, among the various causes, chief was internal decay. (Echoes, then as now: a culture of materialism, perpetual distraction, bread and circuses, and spiritual decay.) But a stubborn refusal to meet the legitimate desires and needs of the people, was key to the collapse and fall of the empire. (Again, a mirror image, and an echo.)

We will see the same again soon. It may take fifty years, or it may take five, but the new empire of global neofeudal corporate rule will fall, sooner or later. It is only a matter of time.

For the sake of the people, for the sake of us all, and for the sake of the Earth, let us pray it is soon. And we must do more than pray.

Let us make it so.

JTR,

May 17, 2020

The Plague: Then & Now

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2020 by jtoddring

Europe did not respond well to the biggest plague in its history, in 1347-1351, to put it mildly – with anti-semitism, pogroms, scapegoating, witch trials, burning heretics at the stake, torture, self-flagellation, misanthropy, self-loathing, death cults, cultural morbidity and dark obsessions, paranoia, highly dubious medical practices, xenophobia, soaring cultural and religious intolerance, dogma, conformity and group-think, etc.

But, to be fair, the Black Death did kill 30% of the population. Many people were sadly but understandably panicked. We have panicked, in 2020, over what amounts, statistically, to the common flu.

(Nerves of steel, I tell you. Clear-mindedness under pressure – to astounding degrees.)

By comparison, fewer than 300,000 have died globally from covid-19, which is comparable in death rates to the annual flu – with 300,000-700,000 deaths per year. That’s fewer than *one death per ten thousand people* from covid-19, versus *one in three dead* from the Plague.

We have utterly lost all perspective. The people have broadly lost their minds. Mass hysteria reigns.

“The study of contemporary archives suggests a mortality varying in the different regions between one-eighth and two-thirds of the population, and the French chronicler Jean Froissart’s statement that about one-third of Europe’s population died in the epidemic may be fairly accurate. The population in England in 1400 was perhaps half what it had been 100 years earlier; in that country alone, the Black Death certainly caused the depopulation or total disappearance of about 1,000 villages. A rough estimate is that 25 million people in Europe died from plague during the Black Death. The population of western Europe did not again reach its pre-1348 level until the beginning of the 16th century.” – Britannica

One in three dead, vs one in 10,000, or less. Yes, we have lost our minds. The response has no sane or rational connection to the reality.

Orwell would understand, as would Huxley. This is not complicated; but it does require a willingness to fact-check, to question authority, the media, the elite, and the standard narrative.

It requires a willingness to deal with reality. So far, that has been lost by the vast majority. That is the real plague: a plague of the mind. And Blake, as well, would understand that.

Everywhere, “The mind-forged manacles.”

Covid-19 is literally one ten-thousandth as deadly as the Plague – and about as dangerous as the common flu. And yet, people have lost their minds to hysteria, panic and fear. Why? Because they are easily manipulated by fear-mongering governments, elites, and the media.

And they are not only losing their minds and their perspective, but also their democracy and their freedoms, as a result.

Pretty poor showing so far. We have definitely returned to the dark ages.

Witch burning, anyone? How about a nice burning of the heretics, hmm?

Worse, we have all that, in essence, along with a modern technocratic, highly Orwellian police state.

Yes, we are in grave danger. But it is not due to a germ.

In the 1930s, the first wave of fascism arose; and the people recognized it, resisted it, and defeated it. In 2020, we have the culmination of a slow motion global corporate fascist coup – and the people see it not.

Their minds have been high-jacked. The psyops propaganda war has been perfected. And this time, the fascists are winning, while the masses are lost in panic and delusion, over an “invisible enemy” – over a germ.

But it ain’t over ’till it’s over. The people are awakening.

JTR,

May 9, 2020

Moral bankruptcy in a time of “plague”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2020 by jtoddring

 

20,000 children die a day of hunger, and nobody notices, nobody makes a peep: outcry is basically zero. But a new strain of the flu (statistically less dangerous than the typical annual flu) scares people into thinking THEY themselves are in danger, and everyone loses their mind. Clearly, we are a morally bankrupt society.

We’ve had an international social, political, and economic order based on mass looting, conquest, rape and pillage for thousands of years – and nobody raises an eyebrow. But a germ comes along that might affect the privileged, affluent regions of the world, and everyone goes insane. 

Again, we are a morally bankrupt society, without question. All pretence of caring for the sick, and ending unnecessary suffering and death, is a joke and a deceit. If we were serious about such things we would end war and poverty. Clearly, we are not serious in the slightest.

6.5% of global GDP, according to the IMF, or five trillion dollars a year, goes to subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. Another two trillion, at least, goes to war, militarism, and the growing global police state. If we were serious about human health and well-being, we would end this mass subsidy to slaughter, planetary destruction, plunder and the police state, and end poverty and war. Clearly we are not serious.

As Chomsky has said, This is a business-run society, whose cardinal value is deceit. That is the problem. Anyone who cares about human health or well-being must first start by dealing with reality.

You who scream your venomous, hate-filled attacks on anyone who questions the new global police state, and in effect beg for your chains: your moral arguments are hollow. You surely, secretly know this, in your heart of hearts; which is why the venom and the screams are so extreme, and extremely insane.

JTR,

May 8, 2020

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