Thursday, December 31, 2009

John Lilburne: the Forgotten Libertarian Hero

John Lilburne was an author of the Agreement of the People, a prototype for the U.S. constitution and the Bill of Rights:

X. That we do not inpower or entrust our said representatives to continue in force, or to make any Lawes, Oaths, or Covenants, whereby to compell by penalties or otherwise any person to any thing in or about matters of faith, Religion or Gods worship or to restrain any person from the profession of his faith, or to exercise of Religion according to his Conscience, nothing having caused more distractions, and heart burnings in all ages, then persecution and molestation for matters of Conscience in and about Religion :

XI.We doe not impower them to impresse or constraint any person to nerve in war by Sea or Land every mans Concience being to be satisfied in the justness of that cause wherein he hazards his own life, or may destroy an others.

And for the quieting of all differences, and abolishing of all enmity and rancour; as much as is now possible for us to effect. (…)

XVI. That it shall not be in the power of any Representative, to punish, or cause to be punished, any person or persons for refusing to answer questions against themselves in Criminall cases. (…)

XVIII. That it shall not be in their power to continue to make any Laws to abridge or hinder any person or persons, from trading or merchandising into any place beyond the Seas, where any of this Nation are free to trade.

XIX. That it shall not be in their power to excise Customes upon any sort of Food, or any other Goods, Wares or Commodities, longer than four months after the beginning of the next Representative, being both of them extreme burthensome and oppressive to Trade, and so expensive in the Receipt, as the moneys expended therein (if collected as Subsidies have been) would extend very far towards defraying the publick Charges; and forasmuch as all Moneys to be raised are drawn from the People; such burthensome and chargeable waves, shall never more be revived, nor shall they raise Moneys by any other ways (after the aforesaid time) but only by an equal rate in the pound upon every reall and personall estate in the Nation.

XX. That it shall not be in their power to make or continue any Law, whereby mens reall or personall estates, or any part thereof, shall be exempted from payment of their debts (…)

XXI. That it shall not be in their power to continue any Law, for taking away any mans life except for murther, or other the like heinous offences destructive to humane Society, or for endevouring by force to destroy this our Agreement, but shall use their uttermost endeavour to appoint punishments equall to offences: that so mens Lives, Limbs, Liberties, and estates, may not be liable to be taken away upon trivial or slight occasions as they have been; and shall have speciall care to preserve, all sorts of people from wickedness misery and beggery: nor shall the estate of any capitall offender be confiscate but in cases of treason only; and in all other capitall offences recompense shall be made to the parties damnified, as well out of the estate of the Malifactor, as by loss of life, according to the conscience of his jury.

XXII. That it shall not be in their power to continue or make any Law, to deprive any person, in case of Tryals for Life, Limb, Liberty, or Estate, from the benefit of witnesses, on his, or their behalf; nor deprive any person of those priviledges, and liberties, contained in the Petition of Right, made in the third veer of the late King Charles. (…)

XXV. That it shal not be in their power, to continue or make a law, for any other way of Judgments, or Conviction of life, limb, liberty, or estate, but onely by twelve sworn men of the Neighbor-hood ; to be chosen in some free way by the people; to be directed before the end of next Representative, and not picked and imposed, as hitherto in many places they have been. (…)

XXX. We therefore agree and declare, That it shall not be in the power of any Representative, in any wise, to render up, or give, or take away any part of this Agreement, nor level mens Estates, destroy Propriety, or make all things Common . (…)

Thus, as becometh a free People, thankfull unto God for this blessed opportunity, and desirous to make use thereof to his glory, in taking of every yoak, and removing every burthen, in delivering the captive, and setting the oppressed free ; we (…)give cleer testimony of our absolute agreement to all and every part hereof by subscribing our hands thereunto.

He also helped entrench the right against self-incrimination and paved the way for the Fifth Amendment:

We sometimes forget how long it has taken to establish the privilege against self-incrimination, the sources from which it came and the fervor with which it was defended. Its roots go back into ancient times. 27 Perhaps [384 U.S. 436, 459] the critical historical event shedding light on its origins and evolution was the trial of one John Lilburn, a vocal anti-Stuart Leveller, who was made to take the Star Chamber Oath in 1637. The oath would have bound him to answer to all questions posed to him on any subject. The Trial of John Lilburn and John Wharton, 3 How. St. Tr. 1315 (1637). He resisted the oath and declaimed the proceedings, stating:

"Another fundamental right I then contended for, was, that no man's conscience ought to be racked by oaths imposed, to answer to questions concerning himself in matters criminal, or pretended to be so." Haller & Davies, The Leveller Tracts 1647-1653, p. 454 (1944).

On account of the Lilburn Trial, Parliament abolished the inquisitorial Court of Star Chamber and went further in giving him generous reparation. The lofty principles to which Lilburn had appealed during his trial gained popular acceptance in England. 28 These sentiments worked their way over to the Colonies and were implanted after great struggle into the Bill of Rights. 29 Those who framed our Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ever aware of subtle encroachments on individual liberty. They knew that "illegitimate and unconstitutional practices get their first footing . . . by silent approaches and slight deviations from legal modes of procedure." Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 635 (1886). The privilege was elevated to constitutional status and has always been "as broad as the mischief [384 U.S. 436, 460] against which it seeks to guard." Counselman v. Hitchcock, 142 U.S. 547, 562 (1892). We cannot depart from this noble heritage.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dick Cheney B-Slaps Barry O for Pretending We're Not at War

Dick Cheney made the following statement, which shows that Darth Vader still has his good stuff:

"As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of Sept. 11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.

“He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core Al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society. President Obama’s first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war." [More]

Danger! Catastrophic Warming! The End of the World!

US Weather Bureau Report

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

(Sorry, I neglected to mention that this report was from November 2, 1922 as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post.)

Read the full story here.

The Speech from Which Free Speech Began in the West

A speech by Peter Wentworth, 1576

Mr Speaker, I find written in a little volume these words in effect: Sweet is the name of liberty, but the thing itself a value beyond all inestimable treasure. So much the more it behoveth us to take care lest we, contenting ourselves with the sweetness of the name, lose and forego the thing, being of the greatest value that can come unto this noble realm. The inestimable treasure is the use of it in this House....(…) It is a dangerous thing in a prince unkindly to abuse his or her nobility and people, and it is a dangerous thing in a prince to oppose or bend herself against her nobility and people.... And how could any prince more unkindly intreat, abuse, oppose herself against her nobility and people than her Majesty did the last Parliament? ... 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Progressive Cess Pool #2,165,437: The Motor City

Airport Security: Police State Proving Grounds?

Is it just me or is the Transportation Security Administration using airports as proving grounds for ever-invasive technology that would be extremely useful for a government, say, that wanted to establish a police state?

In addition to the countless invasive measures already in place at airports, the TSA is pushing full-body scanners, which would size people up like slabs of meat being led to an abattoir.

There is an alternative to all this madness: People can assume the risk for flying and choose airlines they believe will best insure their safety.

What happened to market solutions for commercial safety problems? After all, flying is a business.

The odds of dying in a plane hijacking are about 9.3 million to one for a U.S. citizen. How does that warrant the current expenditure of time, labor, and invasive technology to supposedly protect the lives of Americans?

Despite all of the measures imposed by the odious Department of Homeland Security, a recent airline attack by a man on the "no-fly list" wielding a crotch-bomb had to be put down by an alert civilian and a steward. DHS' reaction? Nothing to see here.

A key question is: Why are we subsidizing the security of airlines, while aiding and abetting a government that is all-too-happy to infringe on our civil liberties?

Another question: Why did Obama just extend immunity to Interpol by executive order? Legal analysts claim Interpol already had many of the same immunities diplomats have. Apparently, with all the problems this nation faces, it is crucial to ensure that Interpol is protected from Freedom of Information Act requests.

The lingering question: Why did Obama propose the erection of a civilian national security force, accountable to him only, that would be just as well-funded and well-equipped as the U.S. military?

Again I ask, why did Obama propose the erection of a civilian national security force, accountable to him only, that would be just as well-funded and well-equipped as the U.S. military?

We need to challenge the airports on their invasion of our civil liberties. Better yet, next time you have a long trip - drive, take a train, or ride the bus.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tea Party Activists: Senatorial Campaign in Massachusetts A Prime Opportunity

This Brown-Coakley race for Senator of Massachusetts is very important for the tea party movement to continue its momentum from the interim elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and even New York (as scandalous as NY-23 turned out to be).

The Massachusetts press is heavily touting Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley, even invoking the myth that there is a "glass ceiling" for women running for senator in Massachusetts. The Boston Globe is essentially providing free campaign advertising for Coakley, as the progressive press typically does for its darlings.

Running against her is the Republican Scott Brown, and Joseph Lewis Kennedy (no relation to the Kennedys, apparently), a faux libertarian and a registered Independent. Some tea parties have thrown their support behind this pretend libertarian, a former Democrat who himself claims to support "green policies." A word to the wise: No libertarian can support "green policies" - only those technologies voted on with dollars in a free market!

A surprisingly balanced AP article shows the crux of the battle for the tea party movement, and that the race in Massachusetts is conceivably winnable:

Brown, who has carved out a decidedly conservative record, faces an uphill challenge in a state where the majority of voters are independents but frequently vote Democratic.

It is not every day that a dinosaur Democrat senator releases his icy grip on political office and with the economy in shambles and a Democrat leadership in Congress that is extremely aggravating for many conservatives and independents, such an opportunity to steal a seat in enemy territory is not likely to return anytime soon.

Besides the heavily favorable press that Coakley is likely to get, her past record of campaign contributions shows connections to a powerful legal lobby that garnered her nearly half a million dollars in 2006. In addition, POLITICO reports that Coakley enjoys the support of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and several abortion rights groups.

Challenging Martha Coakley will be Scott Brown who has a distinguished record and the moral character, values, and fortitude to take on the progressives in Massachusetts and in Congress. His short biography shows his honorable military service and his history of promoting an environment for growing businesses and defending family values:

Senator Brown is a proud member of the Massachusetts National Guard, where he has served for nearly three decades and currently holds the rank of Lt. Colonel in the Judge Advocate Generals (JAG) Corps. Brown was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in homeland security following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. His career in public service began as selectman in Wrentham. He then went on to serve three terms as a State Representative and won his current State Senate seat in a special election in 2004. He is currently in his third Senate term.

In 2004, Senator Brown received the Public Servant of the Year Award from the United Chamber of Commerce for his leadership in reforming the state's sex offender laws and protecting the rights of victims. He has also been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) for his work in creating an environment that encourages job growth and expansion in Massachusetts.

There is an opportunity for Scott Brown to win the vacated U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, which would be huge because it would bring the Democrat-controlled seats in the Senate to 59. The ability to filibuster, obstruct, and block legislation would be indispensable to slowing down the dangerous growth of government under the Democrats.

So how can we as a group get involved to put a dent in the Democrats' plans this January 19th? We need to take action as soon as possible. This involves two things, which can be done right after the holidays: Volunteer to cold call potential voters and contribute what you can to Brown's election campaign.

There are several good reasons for us to get involved:

1) We need to expend our political capital as a movement. The energy is currently high and that inertia needs to be brought to bear against any concrete target.

2) We need to practice mobilizing and facing voters in politically hostile territory using whatever powers of persuasion imaginable.

3) We need to gain experience sharing tactics on what works and doesn't work with potential voters, especially independents and moderates.

4) Regardless of the results, we need to show the progressive media that we are a political force to be reckoned with. They can no longer ignore us; now they must vilify us. As we saw throughout the healthcare debate in 2009, ridicule backfires on the media when wielded against traditional Americans and the tea party movement accrues more sympathizers.

5) We need to give conservative candidates confidence that we will financially and politically support them if they run. Those who have character and commitment to family values, fiscal responsibility, and the Constitution will garner support. Pretenders will be ostracized.

6) We need to support candidates with military service. An honorable military record is not a fail-safe litmus test; but it is a positive sign of a man of character.

7) If we are able to make a difference, even if we help make the Massachusetts senate race closer than it would otherwise be, we will relieve some of the angst that comes from watching a train wreck in slow motion and failing to act.

8) We need to get as politically involved as possible to grow and mature as a movement!

Hundreds Gather to Protest Global Warming

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Power-Drunk Democrat Lectures Republicans on "Courage"

Max Baucus has apparently taken up the Ted Kennedy mantle of slurred grand-standing. I've heard of power drunk, but this is ridiculous...

Healthcare Reform "Evinces a Design to Reduce the Americans under Absolute Despotism"

Given the centrality of the mandate, it is somewhat surprising that little attention has been paid to the critical legal question of whether Congress has the constitutional authority to require Americans to purchase a commodity from a private, for-profit corporation. (...) “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. 

A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Senate Votes America into Slavery

Will some senators get their asses kicked tonight? I mean, fuck, "that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it." 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Selections and Commentary on the Rise of the Totalitarian Personality

Americans for decades have taken it for granted that their nation's heritage of liberty and freedom will carry forth, as if of its own volition, into future generations. Yet the hour is now upon us when burgeoning tyranny has at last reared its monstrous head. The painful realization for many Americans has finally struck home that we are losing our beloved republic. Patriots at last are rallying to sound the alarm of advancing statism only to find that while many are sympathetic to the cause, there are millions steadfast in their determination to impose their will on the majority by wielding the machinery of the state.

Despite all warnings of impending disaster, there are true believers who continue their drive to transform America into their collectivist utopian vision. They disregard all protestations, and forge ahead with reckless, nearly suicidal abandon to advance their destructive agenda. These lost souls devoutly believe that the arrival of a new world order requires a baptism by fire. True believers torch, pervert, or co-opt every institution that provides stability to a society: The church, the family, the schools, the universities, the courts, the media, the military, and the government itself. What remains after the left's long march through the institutions of the nation is a desolation of smoldering carnage, of which the remaining government has complete dominion.

For an immediate glimpse of the totalitarian personality in action, one may observe the behavior of climate change protesters at a public presentation given by Lord Monckton, who in turn rightly labeled the saboteurs the "Hitler Youth." For a milder, but equally baffling display of such behavior, one can observe the educated youths of the new show Stossel repeat mindless anti-capitalist cliches ad nauseum. Amplify this mind-numbing fealty to the leftist cause du jour to the order of millions, and the totalitarian state has ample man-power to mobilize a dangerous mass movement.

What is Totalitarianism?
There are many ways to describe a political phenomenon: One is by typology, or by describing the characteristics of that phenomenon; and another is by definition, or by identifying the underlying essence of the phenomenon.

A quick and dirty way to gather a look at what totalitarianism is popularly believed to be is to look the term up in the encyclopedia, in our case, Wikipedia. It is predictable that the publicly edited description of totalitarianism is typological in form:

Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of an official all-embracing ideology and propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that controls the state, personality cults, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of state terrorism.

This typology is sufficient for a superficial grasp of totalitarianism, but what it lacks is an ability to anticipate novel forms of totalitarianism (such as might be predicted by Alduous Huxley's Brave New World, which described a totalitarian society featuring eugenics and hedonism). What is needed for our purposes is a definition that cuts to the core of what totalitarianism is, so that we might know it when we see it. Such utility might be gathered by the following definition, which is my own:

Totalitarianism is the political ideology of complete unification and control of all spheres of human existence.

While totalitarianism is often characterized by a command-and-control economy, intense political propaganda, and a police state apparatus that tramples the rights of individuals, we must be able to engage our imaginations to anticipate new, more subtle forms of human control.

We thus find a philosophical problem in Hannah Arendt's classic text The Origins of Totalitarianism. Arendt saw parallels in the scale of terror in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia and argued that these terror states represented a new "totalitarian" form of polity unprecedented in world history. As one academic website summarizes:

Arendt insisted that these manifestations of political evil could not be understood as mere extensions in scale or scope of already existing precedents, but rather that they represented a completely ‘novel form of government’, one built upon terror and ideological fiction. Where older tyrannies had used terror as an instrument for attaining or sustaining power, modern totalitarian regimes exhibited little strategic rationality in their use of terror. Rather, terror was no longer a means to a political end, but an end in itself. Its necessity was now justified by recourse to supposed laws of history (such as the inevitable triumph of the classless society) or nature (such as the inevitability of a war between “chosen” and other “degenerate” races).

Yet why should one define a political phenomenon based on scale or means and not on essential driving ideology? Arendt's contentions, if taken as granted, hamstring one's ability to identify and anticipate what Hayek referred to as "the road to serfdom" in one's own society; it also belittles the oppression of other individual human beings in past epochs due to totalitarian ideology.

One example in world history of a regime that sought total control of a polity was Qin Shu Huang's China. Huang, who was China's first emperor, burned books and executed scholars in order to create a uniform state doctrine. China would turn out to have a long history of totalitarian ideologies. Barrington Moore, in his famous work Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, is more apt than Arendt when he remarks in the context of China in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries:

The whole combination of welfare policies, police surveillance, and popular indoctrination constitutes a revealing precursor of modern totalitarian practices. To my mind, they demonstrate conclusively that the key features of the totalitarian complex existed in the premodern world. But, in agrarian societies before modern technology made totalitarian instruments vastly more effective and created new forms of receptiveness to its appeals, the totalitarian complex was little more than an ineffectual embryo. (207)

If we follow Moore, it is not that the twentieth century heavyweights of totalitarian states were completely novel in form, it is simply that the technological means of control for the state had grown to match its appetite to regain the dominance that it had lost during the Enlightenment. This is important to bear in mind, because by doing so we can theoretically see and identify trends in our own nation much more easily that tend toward the state's intention to dominate society.

On the most fundamental level, we can empirically ascertain the efficacy of state control not only by the willingness of individuals to submit to the state, but even more so by the number who enthusiastically seek to carry out its goals. To achieve the psychological state where individuals absolve themselves of their own will, and hence become pliable in the hands of elites to remold as they see fit, requires a multi-step, incremental, and concomitant process of value destruction, the progressive economic vulnerability, historical revisionism, and societal reinvention. These elements can be found woven throughout the following selections, which help elucidate how one develops a "totalitarian personality" in modern Western society.

Nihilism: Into the Abyss
When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you. - Friedrich Nietzsche

The following are two extended quotes, without italics, and with minor editorial comment, from Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind (1987).

Nietzsche and Value Relativism
When President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union "the evil empire," right-thinking persons joined in an angry chorus of protest against such provocative rhetoric. [...]

What was offensive to contemporary ears in president Reagan's use of the word "evil" was its cultural arrogance, the presumption that he, and America, know what is good; its closedness to the dignity of other ways of life, its implicit contempt for those who do not share our ways. The political corollary is that he is not open to negotiation. The opposition between good and evil is not negotiable and is a cause of war. Those who are interested in "conflict resolution" find it much easier to reduce the tension between values than the tension between good and evil. Values are insubstantial stuff, existing primarily in the imagination, while death is real. The term "value," meaning the radical subjectivity of all belief about good and evil, serves the easy-going question for comfortable self-preservation.

Value relativism can be taken to be a great release from the perpetual tyranny of good and evil, with their cargo of shame and guilt, and the endless efforts that the pursuit of the one and the avoidance of the other enjoin. Intractable good and evil cause infinite distress - like war and sexual repression - which is almost instantly relieved when more flexible values are introduced. One need not feel bad about or uncomfortable with oneself when just a little value adjustment is necessary. And this longing to shuck off constraints and have one peaceful, happy world is the first of the affinities between our real American world and that of German philosophy in its most advanced form, given expression by the critics of the President's speech. [...]

Values are not discovered by reason, and it is fruitless to seek them, to find the truth of the good life. [This is where Ayn Rand's objectivism comes in so beautifully.] This quest begun by Odysseus and continued over three millenia has come to and end with the observation that there is nothing to seek. This alleged fact was announced by Nietzsche just over a century ago when he said, "God is dead." Good and evil now for the first time appeared as values, of which there have been a thousand and one, none rationally or objectively preferable to any other. The salutary illusion about the existence of good and evil has been definitively dispelled. For Nietzsche this was an unparalleled catastrophe; it meant the decomposition of culture and the loss of human aspiration. The Socratic "examined" life was no longer possible or desirable. It was itself unexamined, and if there was any possibility of human life in the future, it must begin with the naive capacity to live an unexamined life. The philosophic way of life had become simply poisonous. In short, Nietzsche with the utmost gravity told modern man that he was free-falling into the abyss of nihilism. Perhaps after living through this terrible experience, drunk it deep to the dregs, people might hope for a fresh era of value creation, the emergence of new gods.

Modern democracy was, of course, the target of Nietzsche's creativity. Its daily life is for him the civilized reanimation of man. Nobody really believes in anything anymore, and everyone spends his life in frenzied work and frenzied play so as to not to face the fact, not to look into the abyss. Nietzsche's call to revolt against liberal democracy is more powerful and more radical than Marx's. And Nietzsche adds that the left, socialism, is not the opposite of the special kind of right that is capitalism, but its fulfillment. [From Nietzche's particular European perspective. ed.] The Left means equality, the Right inequality. Nietzsche's call is from the Right, but a new Right transcending capitalism and socialism, which are the powers moving in the world. (141-143)

On Nihilism, The Weimar Republic, and the Psychopathology of American Fascism
Whether this value relativism is harmonious with democracy is a question that is dealt with by never being raised. The social sciences have dealt with Nazism as a psychopathology, a result of authoritarian or other-directed personalities, a case for psychiatrists, as presented by Woody Allen. Social science denies that thought, especially serious thought, even the very thought at its own root, could have had anything to do with Hitler's success. But the Weimar Republic, so attractive in its left-wing version to Americans, also contained intelligent persons who were attracted, at least in the beginning, to fascism, for reasons very like those motivating the Left ideologues, reflections on autonomy and value creation. Once one plunges into the abyss, there is no assurance whatsoever that equality, democracy or socialism will be found on the other side. [Think radical environmentalism. ed.] At very best, self-determination is indeterminate. But the conditions of value creation, particularly its authoritative and religious or charismatic character, would seem to militate against democratic rationalism. The sacred roots of community are contrary to the rights of individuals and liberal tolerance. The new religiosity connected with community and culture influenced people who look at things from the perspective of creativity to lean toward the Right. On the Left there was only an assertion that Marx would, after his revolution, produce exactly what Nietzsche promised, while on the Right there was meditation on what we know of the conditions of creativity. [...] Decent people became used to hearing things about which they would have in the past been horrified to think, and which would not have been allowed public expression. An extreme outcome between Right and Left in Weimar was inevitable.

The great mystery is the kinship of all this to American souls that were not prepared by education or historical experience for it. Pierre Hassner once asked whether this fantastic success of Freud in America was due simply to the fact that so many of his disciples took refuge from Hitler there [many members of the Frankfurt School, ed.] and were very effective propagandists, or whether there was some special need for him in a country he did not much care for. [We will survey an excerpt from the neo-Freudian psychoanalyst Erich Fromm below.] [...]

Once Americans had become convinced that there is indeed a basement to which psychiatrists have the key, their orientation became the self, the mysterious, free, unlimited center of being. All out beliefs issue from it and have no other validation. Although nihilism and its accompanying existential despair are hardly anything but a pose for Americans, as the language derived from nihilism has become a part of their educations and insinuated itself into their daily lives, they pursue happiness in ways determined by that language. There is a whole arsenal of terms for talking about nothing - caring, self-fulfillment, expanding consciousness, and so on, almost indefinitely. Nothing determinate, nothing that has a referent, as we saw in Allen and Riesman. There is a straining to say something, a search for inwardness that one knows one has, but it is still a cause without an effect. The inner seems to have no relation to the outer. The outer is dissolved and becomes formless in the light of the inner, and the inner is a will-o'-the-wisp, or pure emptiness. No wonder the mere sound of the Existentialists' Nothing or the Hegelians' Negation has an appeal to contemporary ears. American nihilism is a mood, a mood of moodiness, a vague disquiet. It is nihilism without the abyss.

Nihilism as a state of soul is revealed not so much in the lack of firm beliefs but in a chaos of the instincts of passions. People no longer believe in a natural hierarchy of the soul's varied and conflicting inclinations, and the traditions that provide a substitute for nature have crumbled. The soul becomes a stage for a repertory company that changes plays regularly - sometimes a tragedy, sometimes a comedy; one day love, another day politics, and finally religion; now cosmopolitanism, and again rooted loyalty; the city or the country; individualism or community; sentimentality or brutality. And there is neither principle nor will to impose a rank order on all these. All ages and places, all races and cultures can play on this stage. Nietzsche believed that the wild costume ball of the passions was both the disadvantage and the advantage of late modernity. The evident disadvantage is the decomposition of unity or "personality," which in the long run will lead to psychic entropy. (154-156) [End quote.]

Individualism, Social Alienation, and Self-Alienation
It is this "psychic entropy" that feeds the appeal of totalitarian movements. An individual may feel overwhelmed by the pace and variation of "modern life" to the point where he desires a "post-modern" life: A world where there are no heroic myths to animate one to overcome adversity; a world where life does not imitate art out of a sense that life is meaningful and worth living; a world that remedies one's immense loneliness and pervasive feeling of powerlessness. The sense of loneliness (or alienation) as a precursor to totalitarianism is elaborated on at length in the monumental twentieth century work, Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism.

The sense of being alone, powerless, and overwhelmed contributes to the attractiveness of totalitarian collectivist movements. Two passages help flesh out this point. First Tzvetan Todorov, as cited in The Black Book of Communism:

A citizen of a Western democracy fondly imagines that totalitarianism lies utterly beyond the pale of normal human aspirations. And yet, totalitarianism could never have survived so long had it not been able to draw so many people into its fold. There is something else - it is a formidably efficient machine. Communist ideology offers and idealized model for society and exhorts us toward it. The desire to change the world in the name of an ideal is, after all, an essential characteristic of human identity ... Furthermore, Communist society strips the individual of his responsibilities. It is always "somebody else" who makes the decisions. Remember, individual responsibility can feel like a crushing burden ... The attraction of a totalitarian system, which has had a powerful allure for many, has its roots in a fear of freedom and responsibility. This explain the popularity of authoritarian regimes (which is Erich Fromm's thesis in Escape from Freedom). None of this is new; Boethius had the right idea long ago when he spoke of "voluntary servitude." (13)

The following is an extended quote, without italics, from Erich Fromm's Escape from Freedom (Holt 1969):

On the Individual's Desire to Be Part of the Collective
The mechanisms we shall discuss...are mechanisms of escape, which result from the insecurity of the isolated individual.

Once the primary bonds which gave security to the individual are severed, once the individual faces the world outside himself as a completely separate entity, two courses are open to him since he has to overcome the unbearable state of powerlessness and aloneness. By one course he can progress to "positive freedom," he can relate himself spontaneously to the world in love and work, in the genuine expression of his emotional, sensuous, and intellectual capacities, he can thus become one again with man, nature, and himself, without giving up the independence and integrity of his individual self. The other course open to him is to fall back, to give up his freedom, and to try to overcome his aloneness by eliminating the gap that has arisen between his individual self and the world. [Again, consider radical environmentalism.] [...]

The first mechanism of escape from freedom I am going to deal with is the tendency to give up the independence of one's own individual self and to fuse one's self with somebody or something outside of oneself in order to acquire the strength the individual self is lacking. Or, to put it in different words, seek for new, "secondary bonds" as a substitute for the primary bonds which have been lost [parental bonds, e.g.].

The more distinct forms of this mechanism are to be found in the striving for submission and domination, or, as we would rather put it, in the masochistic and sadistic strivings as they exist in varying degrees in normal and neurotic persons respectively. We shall first describe these tendencies and then try to show that both of them are an escape from unbearable aloneness.

The most frequent forms in which masochistic strivings appear are feelings of inferiority, powerlessness, individual insignificance. The analysis of persons who are obsessed by these feelings show that, while they consciously complain about these feelings and want to get rid of them, unconsciously some power within themselves drives them to feel inferior or insignificant. Their feelings are more than realizations of actual shortcomings and weaknesses (although they are usually rationalized as though they were); these persons show a tendency to belittle themselves, to make themselves weak, and not to master things. Quite regularly these people show a marked dependence on powers outside of themselves, on other people, or institutions, or nature. They tend not to assert themselves, not to do what they want, but to submit to the factual or alleged orders of these outside forces. Often they are quite incapable of experiencing the feeling "I want" or "I am." Life, as a whole, is felt by them as something overwhelmingly powerful, which they cannot master or control. [...] (139-141)

Sadistic tendencies for obvious reasons are usually less conscious and more rationalized than the socially more harmless masochistic trends. [I dispute this point. ed.] Often they are entirely covered up by reaction formations of overgoodness and overconcern for others. Some of the most frequent rationalizations are the following: "I rule over you because I know what is best for you, and it is in your own interest that you should follow me without opposition." Or..."I have done so much for you, and now I am entitled to take from you what I want." (143)

What allows the "sadistic" rulers to dominate "masochistic" followers, if we may extend Fromm's somewhat simplistic terminology? If we may synthesize what we have learned so far, it appears to be a "rootlessness" in the population that springs from familial or other institutional dislocation and causes certain individuals to be prone to joining collectivist movements. In order to facilitate this institutional destruction, a wholesale obliteration of attachments to pre-existing values and morality is required. This is best accomplished not through direct assault, which leads to resistance, but by indirect means. In society, this is most subtly accomplished by promoting value relativism, and in the bureaucracy, through the philosophy of pragmatism. Both have a tendency to erode the notions of right and wrong, good and evil. Those who "cling" to such outdated "Manichean" notions are considered dogmatic, reactionary rubes.

Short Discourse on the Contributory Effects of Command Economy on Alienation
Even more subtle than this moral subversion, and little discussed outside of Austrian school literature, are the effects of central bank-led inflationary policy on society. Many people do not realize that the inflation of the money supply by a central bank is quintessentially Marxian stratagem. Easy credit policies contribute to the sense of "rootlessness" in a society by artificially subsidizing unsustainable lifestyles, which tends to prolong a childish mentality. The disbursement of federal loans to students, and the acceptance of students into universities with little regards to merit or ability to repay the loan, also have a contributing effect to certain youths' prolonged sense of anomie, alienation, and mental fugue. These sensations are "logically" ascribed by their professors as a consequence of a monolithic "capitalism," which takes on an insidious and all-pervasive quality in the minds of the blossoming anti-capitalists.

Now, the education system itself, from inception to completion, is a systematic attempt to cause rebellion against parental authority and the values of American society, be they Christian-based or otherwise. As the marketplace is distorted, manipulated, and perverted by government, through incentivization of non-productive behavior and rewarding failing businesses and banks with taxpayer (that is, coerced) funding, that very same marketplace is blamed for failing "the needs of society" (of course, a marketplace is by its very nature dedicated to serving the wants and needs of individuals in society). As the inflationary monetary policy subsidizes profligate lifestyles in our youth, it also subsidizes inefficient or unnecessary businesses. This "malinvestment" causes structural distortion of the economy, laying am unstable foundation on which the government keeps building its house of cards through expansionary monetary policy. As the collapses come more often, and are more catastrophic in scale and scope, the demand for further government propping up becomes greater, and the howling of the pseudo-intellectual socialists becomes louder. The youth are all-too-willing at this point to cede control over their lives to the government, and in fact, circumstances seem to dictate that this is necessary.

Meanwhile, in the middle class, the devaluation of the dollar through inflationary policy causes meeting the household ends to become more and more difficult. Not only in retrospect was the sexual revolution a product of the Frankfurt School's advocation of rebellion, it was probably necessary for the nuclear family to absorb the increasing burden of maintaining the "American lifestyle." This was an all-too-convenient economic reality for socialists entrenched in the education system, who would gladly take up the role of molding the "blank-slated" minds of America's youth into intellectually docile servants of the "all-caring" state.

F.A. Hayek on the Mental Malleability of True Believers in Totalitarian States
A certain mental malleability (or what Evan Sayet has referred to as "indiscriminate discriminateness") has been instilled through the public education system and colleges in the minds of the youth of the nation, and continues to be instilled to this day. One of the most famous Austrian economists of the twentieth century to expound on the mass psychology of totalitarianism is F.A. Hayek. Below we will survey an extended passage from his masterwork The Road to Serfdom, which links value relativism and the emotional fervor that is ratcheted up in totalitarian states:

It would, however, be highly unjust to regard the masses of the totalitarian people as devoid of moral fervor because they give unstinted support to a system which to us seems a denial of most moral values. For the great majority of them the opposite is probably true: the intensity of the moral emotions behind a movement like that of National Socialism or communism can probably be compared only to those of the great religious movements of history. Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity. From the collectivist standpoint intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent, the complete disregard of the life and happiness of the individual, are essential and unavoidable consequences of this basic premise, and the collectivist can admit this and at the same time claim that his system is superior to one in which the "selfish" interests of the individual are allowed to obstruct the full realization of the ends the community pursues. When German philosophers again and again represent the striving for personal happiness as itself immoral and only the fulfillment of an imposed duty as praiseworthy [See Kant's categorical imperative. Ed.], they are perfecly sincere, however difficult this may be to understand for those who have been brought up in a different tradition.

Where there is one common all-overriding end, there is no room for any general morals or rules. [...] There is always in the eyes of the collectivist a greater goal which these acts serve and which to him justifies them because the pursuit of the common end of society can know no limits in any rights or values of any individual.

But while for the mass of the citizens of the totalitarian state it is often unselfish devotion to an ideal [See Ayn Rand's discussion of "altruism." ed.], although one repellent to us, which makes them approve and even perform such deeds, this cannot be pleaded for those who guide its policy. To be a useful assistant in the running of a totalitarian state, it is not enough that a man should be prepared actively to break every moral rule he has ever known if this seems necessary to achieve the end set for him. Since it is the supreme leader who alone determines the ends, his instruments must have no moral convictions of their own. They must, above all, be unreservedly committed to the person of the leader; but next to this the most important thing is that they should be completely unprincipled and literally capable of anything. They must have no ideals of their own which they want to realize; no ideas about right or wrong which might interfere with the intentions of the leader. [...] The only tastes which are satisfied are the taste for power as such and the pleasure of being obeyed and being part of a well-functioning and immensely powerful machine to which everything else must give way. Yet while there is little that is likely to induce men who are good by our standards to aspire to leading positions in the totalitarian machine, and much to deter them, there will be special opportunities for the ruthless and unscrupulous. (168-169)

The nexus between the rulers and those who actually desire to be ruled is thus complex and not easily reducible. While it may seem that the state desires true believers who are ideologically driven, what is even more crucial is that these people are amoral and pay little regard to history, are easily manipulable and have no real wills of their own. The slew of false promises and lies needed for totalitarians to capture a free state requires a moral pliability on the part of the majority, as well as a short memory and attention span. The onslaught of media distractions and perpetual entertainment in the culture, as well as the mind-numbing repetition of music and the aesthetic absurdity of "art," plays into the state's necessity for indiscriminate, apathetic, or otherwise easily led individuals. Those able to survive the state's war of attrition on sanity and self-interest find themselves marginalized, decried, and smeared. It is a lonely place in a totalitarian regime for the remaining sane.

Yet for the state a mass movement is eventually needed in the final stages to make a push for the overthrow of the pre-existing order of organized liberty. Useful myths, such as we see with the manmade climate change religion, are concocted and penetrate every sphere of social life. Private property and privacy itself are eventually undermined, so that there is nowhere left for a rational man to "live in truth." The great brainwashing begins, and the rise of the "true believers" ensues. We shall quote from Jamie Glazov's United in Hate, which pulls heavily from the work of the social scientist Eric Hoffer The True Believer in this passage:

On the Path from Value Relativism to True Believer
The believer's totalitarian journey begins with an acute sense of alienation from his own society - an alienation to which he is, himself, completely blind. In denial about the character flaws that prevent him from bonding with his own people, the believer has convinced himself that there is something profoundly wrong with his society - and that it can be fixed without any negative trade-offs. He fantasizes about building a perfect society where he will, finally, fit in. As Eric Hoffer put it in his classic The True Believer, people with a sense of fulfillment think it is a good world and would like to conserve it as it is, while the frustrated favor radical change."

A key ingredient of this paradigm is that the believer has failed to establish real and lasting interpersonal relationships or internalized any values that help him find meaning in life. Suffering from a spiritual emptiness, of which he himself is not cognizant, the believer forces non-spiritual solutions onto his spiritual problems. He exacerbates this dysfunction by trying to satisfy his every material need, which the great benefits of modernity and capitalism allow - but the more luxuries he manages to acquire, the more desperate he becomes. We saw this with the counterculture leftists of the sixties and seventies, and we see it with the radical leftists of today. Convinced that it is incumbent upon society, and not him, to imbue his life with purpose, the believer becomes indignant; he scapegoats society - and ends up despising and rejecting it.

Just like religious folk, the believer espouses a faith, but his is a secular one. He too searches for personal redemption - but of an earthly variety. The progressive faith, therefore, is a secular religion. And this is why socialism's dynamics constitute a mutated carbon copy of Judeo-Christian imagery. Socialism's secular utopian vision includes a fall from an ideal collective brotherhood, followed by a journey through the valley of oppression and injustice, and then ultimately a road toward redemption.

In rejecting his own society, the believer spurns the values of democracy and individual freedom, which are anathema to him, since he has miserably failed to cope with both the challenges they pose and the possibilities they offer. Tortured by his personal alienation, which is accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, the believer craves a fairy-tale world where no individuality exists, and where human estrangement is thus impossible. The believer fantasizes about how his own individuality and self will be submerged into the collective whole. Hoffer illuminates this yearning, noting that a mass movement:

[A]ppeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self. A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the passion for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation. People who see their lives as irredeemably spoiled cannot find a worthwhile purpose in self-advancement. They look on self-interest as something tainted and evil; something unclean and unlucky...Their innermost craving is for a new life - a rebirth - or failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause. [End inset quote.]

As history has tragically recorded, this "holy cause" follows a road that leads not to earthly paradise, but rather to an earthly hell in all of its manifestations. (6-7) [End quote.]

Preliminary Conclusions
To synthesize what we have read so far, America, and the ideal of America, is an anchor to which many of us are tethered; while leftist true believers see it as an impediment to releasing their Stalinist red balloons that will carry them to a collectivist paradise. Thus the leftist seeks to cut all meaningful ties for those standing in the way of their collectivist dreams, to force others to be just as alienated and as disenchanted as they are, and subsequently, just as desperate. Presiding over these hapless and miserable creatures are supposed philosopher-kings, who patronize their meager existences. It is not until the American people are at the knees of the totalitarian rulers, begging for table scraps from the dining halls of the self-appointed philosopher-kings, that the elitist left will be truly happy.

The danger for us American patriots is to react to this untethering of "America" in our mental universe by retreating to a stable and predictable cadre who effectively replaces this former mental tie. While moral support is important, especially in perilous times, we must confront in ourselves that it is sometimes more difficult (and made even more difficult by "political correctness") to confront our would-be enslavers. Yet that is what we must do, to remain engaged and to assault the left morally and philosophically, so even if for social reasons they retrench into shameful lies disconnected from reality and are thus more limited in their broader popular appeal. Even if we cannot reach the true believer, we must reach out to those self-described moderates and independents who believe the left is simply filled with misguided but "well-intentioned" dreamers, and disabuse them of this false conception.

Historical Implications
Therefore we close with the classic text on how "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," The Road to Serfdom, which puts the present shift from freedom to tyranny in the long view of history:

Hayek on the Historical Significance of the Socialist Program
The crucial point of which our people are still so little aware is, however, not merely the magnitude of the changes which have taken place during the last generation but the fact that they mean a complete change in the direction of our ideas and social order. For at least twenty five years before the specter of totalitarianism became a real threat, we had progressively been moving away from the basic ideas on which Western civilization had been built. That this movement on which we have entered with such high hopes and ambitions should have brought us face to face with the totalitarian horror has come as a profound shock to this generation, which still refuses to connect the two facts. Yet this development merely confirms the warnings of the fathers of the liberal philosophy which we still profess. We have progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which the personal and political freedom has never existed in the past. Although we had been warned by some of the greatest political thinkers of the nineteenth century, by Tocqueville and Lord Acton, that socialism means slavery, we have steadily moved in the direction of socialism. And now that we have seen a new form of slavery arise before our eyes, we have completely forgotten the warning that it scarcely occurs to us that the two things may be connected.

How sharp a break not only with the recent past but with the whole evolution of Western civilization the modern trend toward socialism means becomes clear if we consider it not merely against the background of the nineteenth century but in a longer historical perspective. We are rapidly abandoning not the views merely of Cobden and Bright, of Adam Smith and Hume, or even Locke and Milton, but one of the salient characteristics of Western civilization as it has grown from the foundations laid by Christianity and the Greeks and Romans. Not merely nineteenth- and -eighteenth century liberalism, but the basic individualism inherited by us from Erasmus and Montaigne, from Cicero and Tacitus, Pericles and Thucydides, is progressively relinquished. (67-68)

There is more at stake here, on these sacred grounds of freedom, than the potential loss of the American Dream. All of Western Civilization truly hangs in the balance, waiting for us defenders of life, liberty and property to counter the socialist and environmentalist true believers with the same tenacity and fervor as they effectively wage war on us.

We close with Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade:

Half a league, half a league,
  Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred.

Soviet Propaganda in Action

In the Brezhnev era USSR, much attention was paid to (the Nazi Khatyn massacre), possibly with the intention of diverting attention from the (Soviet) Katyn massacre of Polish officers[5] . According to Norman Davies, of Wolfson College, Oxford, the village was chosen and the memorial created by the Soviet authorities in a calculated policy of disinformation,[6] designed to create confusion with the Katyn massacre. 

William Blackstone on the Absolute Rights of Individuals

By the absolute rights of individuals we mean those which are so in their primary and strictest sense; such as would belong to their persons merely in a state of nature, and which every man is entitled to enjoy whether out of society or in it. (…)

For the principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature; but which could not be preserved in peace without that mutual assistance and intercourse, which is gained by the institution of friendly and social communities. Hence it follows, that the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain and regulate these absolute rights of individuals. Such rights as are social and relative result from, and are posterior to, the formation of states and societies: so that to maintain and regulate these, is clearly a subsequent consideration. And therefore the principal view of human laws is, or ought always to be, to explain, protect, and enforce such rights as are absolute, which in themselves are few and simple (sic! he wouldn't buy the grotesque masquerade of intricate and mind-boggling "positive rights"!-ed.) ; and, then, such rights as are relative, which arising from a variety of connections, will be far more numerous and more complicated. These will take up a greater space in any code of laws, and hence may appear to be more attended to, though in reality they are not, than the rights of the former kind. Let us therefore proceed to examine how far all laws ought, and how far the laws of England actually do, take notice of these absolute rights, and provide for their lasting security.

The absolute rights of man, considered as a free agent, endowed with discernment to know good from evil, and with power of choosing those measures which appear to him to be most desirable, are usually summed up in one general appellation, and denominated the natural liberty of mankind. This natural liberty consists properly in a
power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, unless by the law of nature: being a right inherent in us by birth, and one of the gifts of God to man at his creation, when he endued him with the faculty of free will. (…)

Every wanton and causeless restraint of the will to the subject, whether practiced by a monarch, a nobility, or a popular assembly, is a degree to tyranny. (…)

So that laws, when prudently framed, are by no means subversive but rather introductive of liberty; for (as Mr. Locke has well observed6) where there is no law, there is no freedom. But then, on the other hand, that constitution or frame of government, that system of laws, is alone calculated to maintain civil liberty, which leaves the subject entire master of his own conduct, except, in those points wherein the public good requires some direction or restraint.

The idea and practice of this political or civil liberty flourish in their highest vigor in these kingdoms, where it falls little short of perfection, and can only be lost or destroyed by the folly or demerits of its owner: the legislature, and of course the laws of England, being peculiarly adapted to the preservation of this inestimable blessing even in the meanest subject. Very different from the modern constitutions of other states, on the continent of Europe, and from the genius of the imperial law; which in general are calculated to vest an arbitrary and despotic power of controlling the actions of the subject in the prince, or in a few grandees. And this spirit of liberty is so deeply implanted in our constitution, and rooted even in our very soil, that a slave or a Negro, the moment he lands in England, falls under the protection of the laws, and with regard to all natural rights becomes eo instanti [instantly] a freeman.7

The absolute rights of every Englishman (which, taken in a political and extensive sense, are usually called their liberties) as they are founded on nature and reason, so they are coeval with our form of government; though subject at times to fluctuate and change: their establishment (excellent as it is) being still human. At some times we have seen them depressed by overbearing and tyrannical princes; at others so luxuriant as even to tend to anarchy, a worse state than tyranny itself, as any government is better than none at all. But the vigor of our free constitution has always delivered the nation from these embarrassments, and, as soon as the convulsions consequent on the struggle have been over, the balance of our rights and liberties has settled to its proper level; and their fundamental articles have been from time to time asserted in parliament, as often as they were thought to be in danger. (…)

These (natural rights) therefore were formerly, either by inheritance or purchase, the rights of all mankind; but, in most other countries of the world being now more or less debased and destroyed, they at present may be said to remain, in a peculiar and emphatic manner, the rights of the people of England. And these may be reduced to three principal or primary articles; the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty; and the right of private property: Because as there is no other known method of compulsion, or of abridging man's natural free will, but by an infringement or diminution of one or other of these important rights, the preservation of these, inviolate, may justly be said to include the preservation of our civil immunities in their largest and most extensive sense. (…)

III. The third absolute right, inherent in every Englishman, is that of property: which consists in the free use, enjoyment, and disposal of all his acquisitions, without any control or diminution, save only by the laws of the land. (…) The laws of England are therefore, in point of honor and justice, extremely watchful in ascertaining and protecting this right. (…)

So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community. If a new road, for instance, were to be made through the grounds of a private person, it might perhaps be extensively beneficial to the public; but the law permits no man, or set of men to do this without consent of the owner of the land. In vain may it be urged, that the good of the individual ought to yield to that of the community; for it would be dangerous to allow any private man, or even any public tribunal, to be the judge of this common good, and to decide whether it be expedient or no. Besides, the public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights, as modeled by the municipal law. (…)

Nor is this the only instance in which the law of the land has postponed even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property. For no subject of England can be constrained to pay any aids or taxes, even for the defense of the realm or the support of government, but such as are imposed by his own consent, or that of his representatives in parliament. (…)

5. The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defense, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute I W. & M. st.2. c. 2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression. (…)

So that this review of our situation may fully justify the observation of a learned French author, who indeed generally both thought and wrote in the spirit of genuine freedom;48 and who has not scrupled to profess, even in the very bosom of his native country, that the English is the only nation in the world, where political or civil liberty is direct end of its constitution.

P.S. I love reading Enlightenment authors - especially British and American ones, because their worldview was perhaps closer to Objectivism than anything else before or after that period. 19th century liberals (with some exceptions) already show some signs of intellectual corruption, compared to the Enlightenment. However, some seeds of ruin were planted by the Enlightenment itself. Blackstone's brilliant and superb description of "absolute rights" is spoiled by the fact that he believed they may be sacrificed to the spurious "public good" in some rare cases. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Environmentalism at Its Very Core

Et Tu, Build-A-Bear?

The eco-fascist gravy train keeps on a-chugging, and Build-a-Bear, a popular kids teddy bear workshop, has jumped on board. What the f***, even teddy bears are stabbing Americans in the back!

Here is how to contact Build-A-Bear:

Maxine Clark
Founder and Chief Executive Bear

Build-A-Bear Workshop
1954 Innerbelt Business Center Drive
St. Louis, Mo 63114
PH: 314-423-8000 ext 5202
FX: 866-844-5229

My Ultimate Case Against Judeo-Christian Fascism

Marxists have traditionally cared more about the material realm and believed the spiritual realm to be an insignificant appendix of matter. Judeo-Christian fanatics, on the other hand, believe the material realm (the City of Man in Augustine's terminology) to be secondary and think that only the spiritual one (the City of God) matters.

That's why Judeo-Christian fanatics have often been willing to accept some loosening of government control in the material sphere. You see, the earthly world is largely irrelevant to them - they, as it were, "live" in the heavenly world and look down upon earthly problems with indifference or even disgust. You will never find a passion for free markets or liberty in general in their hearts - if they do support free markets, they do so as a pragmatic concession to the rotten world of matter, as a reluctant recognition of man's "sinful", egoistic nature, his "original sin." Indeed, free markets receive only lukewarm support, if any, from firebrand Evangelicals, who are much more concerned about muscling in on the moral sphere and cracking unbelievers' skulls than about economics. For that matter, Hitler didn't care about economics either, as he repeatedly stated, - he was much more concerned about the Deutsche Volk's "Geist". See the affinity? Judeo-Christian fanaticism is fascist in the sense that fascists have put a similar emphasis on "spirit" and on "public morality" (my ass), as opposed to "vile matter" that was glorified by the Marxists.

Judeo-Christian fanatics support not freedom in reality but freedom from reality - i.e. from this earthly world. Here their concept of liberty differs from that of a rational man on the deepest, most fundamental level. There is nothing more fundamental than that. Moreover, these concepts are diametrically opposed.

To understand that Christian fanatics' lip service to free markets is superficial and fleeting, to say the least, one needs to realize that economics is largely irrelevant to the archaic mentality they espouse (hence a lack of an open hatred for free markets, as opposed to the modernist left, which is familiar with the concept of economics). Their indifference to economic issues is accounted for by the fact that in many barbarous societies that originated or upheld Judeo-Christian tenets (especially Old Testament ones) there was no economy in the modern sense. They were largely subsistence economies where the notion of "market" was an exception, not the rule. I mean, first of all, 1st century Galilee, the Roman Empire's dominate period (which increasingly degraded from a market economy to a subsistence economy) and the early medieval period. The modern notion of a free-market capitalist is alien to these societies. The notions of freedom (in the classical liberal sense) and individual rights are absolutely alien to this mentality too. 

Moreover, the flimsy and unsustainable alliance of Christian fanatics with the libertarian movement in the U.S. is in many ways a unique phenomenon. It has much more to do with the generally libertarian spirit of the American people than with any affinity between Christianity and liberty (there is no affinity whatsoever, of course). Elsewhere, religious fanatics have generally been emphatically anti-libertarian (though there were exceptions). Established churches and social conservatives in Europe have traditionally leaned to the totalitarian side, rather than to freedom.

Evidence to the anti-freedom nature of even those religious fanatics who claim to support free markets is ample. Self-styled "libertarian" Christian Reconstructionist Gary North advocates stoning for abortion and blasphemy. Even Bin Laden advocated some "free-market" ideas in his landmark 1996 fatwa that authorized indiscriminate killing of Americans and Jews anywhere in the world. I bet my ass he did not say that out of love for freedom (and neither did his spiritual comrade Gary North). Moreover, the totalitarian Islamic countries of the Arabian Peninsula lead in terms of tax freedom and recently considered switching to a gold standard. Newt Gingrich supported the death penalty for drug smuggling. It might be supposed that some Republicans' stupid and irrational stance on drugs may be attributed to the fact that drugs, as it were, "invade" the mental realm, which is what religionists want to control.

In ancient Judea, the violation of Mosaic commandments prohibiting the worship of idols, working on Saturday (Sabbath), adultery and false witnessing were sometimes punished with death. Indeed, similar barbarism was incorporated into Islam by Muhammed, who was heavily influenced by Judaism. Moreover, the infamous Gary North wants to resurrect similar Old Testament traditions.

Christians advocate violating women's individual rights by cracking down on abortion and contraception. Just like the totalitarian leftists, they have generally supported using government coercion to pursue their agenda in public schools - that is, the teaching of primitive superstitions like creationism and intelligent design (i.e. creationism lite with a pseudo-modernist fa├žade) and a ban on sex education, as well as such moronic feats of indoctrination as school prayer. School vouchers can be seen as a way to get rid of liberal indoctrination but they can also be viewed as theft of taxpayers' money to finance religious propaganda (I'm not against religious indoctrination at privately-financed schools but I'm opposed to the use of state-sanctioned robbery to fund such activities). The Scopes Trial was indeed a grotesque apotheosis of this campaign, a disgusting Stalin-style show trial reminiscent of the Inquisition's case against Giordano Bruno (which seems absurdly surreal in the 20th century America).

Sodomy laws (though seldom enforced) existed in socially conservative states until the early 21st century, which is quite a piece of barbarism by the standards of our age. Laws punishing adultery are still on the books in many states, though they're not enforced. The Christian fascists' campaign against pornography has been extremely violent and Stalinesque. Possession of pornography in some jurisdictions can (or could) land you in jail for several decades, which is such a blatant and grotesque example of a victimless crime that it is almost beyond belief that these people actually claim to be defenders of liberty. Until the mid-20th century religious cranks in the U.S. and Europe succeeded in banning even books with mildly erotic content (the most famous examples are such classics as Lady Chatterley's Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Ulysses and Lolita). In the 19th century the Puritan stronghold of Boston became so notorious for banning books and plays that the "banned in Boston" idiom was coined. Whatever these "social conservatives" want to conserve, it is not freedom but slavery, as Ayn Rand said. The People vs. Larry Flynt is a good movie on this issue, featuring medieval savages' campaign against consenting adults voluntary engaging in activities of a certain kind with others (or with themselves). Why can't these monsters mind their own fucking business? Why can't they just bloody fuck off and leave us alone - LAISSEZ-FAIRE, if you know what I mean?

Blasphemy laws existed in the U.S. until the landmark Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson decision entrenched 1st Amendment rights in the religious field. England and Wales formally abolished their blasphemy laws as late as 2008 (!). Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and New Zealand still have blasphemy laws on their books. They have not generally been enforced since the 1920s, though there are mind-boggling and unbelievable exceptions like the case against Manfred van H in Germany. Additionally, outside the US blasphemy laws are being replaced by hate speech laws, which basically serve the same purpose but have a more "multiculturalist" flavor to them. Moreover, unlike blasphemy laws, hate speech provisions are frequently used to prosecute (or rather persecute) innocent victims. Here, as elsewhere, the agenda of the totalitarian left and the totalitarian Christian right merge. In Ireland, where blasphemy carries a fine of up to €25,000, ongoing debates about blasphemy legislation have a surreal flavor to them, placing medieval savagery in the limelight of the age of nuclear energy, space travel and genetic engineering. What the hell is there to debate about? Isn't is clear to you, dumbasses?

I have extensively dealt with Judeo-Christian fanatics' lip service for freedom in the material realm but even that description is an oversimplification. Freedom is fundamentally one - it cannot be meaningfully divided into spiritual and material liberty, because an integrity of mind and matter is required for man's survival. That's why a position advocating slavery in one sphere and liberty in another is untenable. Logically, only extreme liberty and extreme slavery are viable options, with the latter being self-defeating in the long run (i.e. leading either to man's extinction or the abandonment of slavery). Indeed, both some leftists and some Christian fanatics have realized as much. That's why many socialists have begun advocating slavery in the spiritual realm, while many Christians have supported slavery in the material realm. Thus, two sides of the irrational coin are merged into one hideous combination. Christians who advocated both spiritual and material authoritarianism or totalitarianism include Joachim of Fiore, the Diggers during the English Civil War, New England Puritans, Karl Marx (who was a Christian communist before he converted into a dialectical materialist), early 20th century progressives, Social Gospel cranks, millenarians and compassionate conservatives. 

To sum up, religion is a rejection of reason and therefore is not compatible with liberty in any way whatsoever. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stossel's New Show Displays How Scary Stupid the New Left Is

The college-educated youth in Stossel's audience are all about "we want" and "we deserve" without any concept of how economics works in reality. At :33 in the second vid, the children actually boo Whole Foods CEO John Mackey for declaring that socialism was tried in the twentieth century and it failed miserably. Umm, come again geniuses?

Ecofascists Are On the March

I Love This Slogan

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - An Illogical Film for Irrational Times

I can't wait for the review of Avatar!

Part 1 of 7 (Yes it's seventy minutes - but it's worth it!)

Dreaming the Impossible Dream and Laughing All the Way to the Bank

To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...

Man de la Mancha, a play based on the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

A People's Organization is dedicated to an eternal war. It is a war against poverty, misery, delinquency, disease, injustice, hopelessness, despair, and unhappiness. They are basically the same issues for which nations have gone to war in almost every generation.

Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals

Self-styled "radicals" have been tilting at windmills as long as there have been windmills. They are projected in the culture as lovable dreamers, perpetual underdogs "fighting the good fight." But it is no coincidence that these cuddly defenders of the little man always pick impossible "wars" to wage, all while expending other people's resources to carry out their quixotic fights.

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
One strategy for draping coercion in the garb of nobility is to brainwash people into "sacrificing" themselves for a "higher cause." This is the root of religious and pseudo-religious exhortations to motivate people to "sacrifice themselves" on behalf of others. Ayn Rand consolidated such sacrificial ideologies under the rubric of "altruism."

One dominant pseudo-religion of the twentieth century is marxism. This belief system lost its prophetic weight at the termination of the Cold War. However, the radicals of the former faith did not really require that marxism be true, only that it provided a good "myth" (as George Sorel points out; explained by Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism). The dejected cast-offs from the marxist flotsam and jetsam easily regrouped after the Soviet ship sank, and they subsequently transmuted marxism into the manmade climate change religion. The resultant radical environmentalism, a page straight out of neomarxist critical theory, takes on all the features of a great religion: It has guilt (carbon dioxide emissions), grace (carbon credits and redistribution of wealth to non-industrialized nations), and a Manichaenistic struggle between good and evil.

Yet there is always a window of opportunity that can be slammed shut once a "big lie," a "noble lie," or a Sorelian myth is exposed. While it may be true, as Mark Twain put it, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes," once the truth is properly clad, it has a Jesse Owens like tendency of catching up to lies. So while pseudo-religions can cause people "to dream the impossible dream," in the long-term it is better to be feared than to command delusional "true believers," who can eventually become disillusioned.

Fighting the Unbeatable Foe
The modern radical nearly always employs martial rhetoric when berating others to take up their causes, apparently envious of the "command and control" that generals wield in wars against actual foes. In fact, much of Rooseveltian and Keynesian economics is based on the assumption that society can be constantly mobilized exactly as it is in war-time. Of course, this economic plan requires a constant state of fear and a strong dose of "agit-prop" instilled in the populace to boost productivity enough to overcome the inefficiencies of central planning. As Jonah Goldberg explains in a section on "militarism" in Liberal Fascism:

Every day we hear about the "war on cancer, the "war on drugs," the "War on Poverty," and exhortations to make this or that social challenge the "moral equivalent of war." From health care to gun control to global warming, liberals insist that we need to "get beyond politics" and "put ideological differences behind us" in order to "do the people's business." The experts and scientists know what to do, we are told: therefore the time for debate is over. This, albeit in a nicer and more benign form, is the logic of fascism...(5-6)

Along with politicians claiming to know the self-interest of individuals better than those individuals; and establishing a cult of personality that poses a false "savior" to rescue citizens from the economic disasters the government itself creates; promoting a sense of "crisis" in order to accomplish political objectives is an important accompanying feature of fascism. As prominent American fascist Rahm Emanuel put it quite well, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Fear is a potent weapon against rationality, and progressives have a long history of wielding it effectively.

Tilting at Windmills
When the left combines the critical theory tactic of creating chimeras to battle (or what Alinsky referred to in puritanical terms as "mak(ing) the enemy live up to its own book of rules") with employing the rhetoric of moral "war," the predictable spawn is dozens of activist organizations with quite risible missions. Among these are the following:

PETA or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - Lecturing human beings, who are omnivores, on the virtues of giving up meat. They carry on this crusade knowing full well that humans need the amino acids found in meat, eggs, milk, and fish in order to have proper brain functioning (this also happens to explain why most vegans are blithering idiots).

Christian Children's Fund (now the more politically correct ChildFund!) - Commits nightly emotional blackmail of the elderly who think they'll make up for their past sins by giving money to starving children. But if this organization really wanted to help, they would either pay for mercenaries to remove the dictators whose jackboot is on their throats, as is the case in Zimbabwe; provide people with U-Hauls and take them to where the food is; or promote industrial development, which would not only improve quality of life, but stabilize the population (as Lord Monckton points out).

WWF or The World Wildlife Fund - It's mission of promoting wildlife "diversity" and protecting endangered species is even more phony than the pro-wrestling WWF. The WWF's nonsensical goal of promoting species "diversity" in a world where tens of thousands die out every year is as blatant an anti-industrial policy as they come. While the WWF's claim to fame is pimping out panda bears for contributions, it recently chimed in at the socialist international convention at Copenhagen: ""The only way the world can be sure the US is standing behind its commitments is for the president to clearly state that climate change will be his next top legislative priority."

Friends of the Earth or FOE - Apparently named in contradistinction to its arch-nemesis the Friends of Humanity, FOE believes that its goddess Gaia will reward them in the afterlife for punishing man's transgressions against nature. If the policies it promotes leads to misery by putting non-industrialized nations in a state of dependency on others, than so be it. This is what FOE said at Copenhagen: "Obama has deeply disappointed not only those listening to his speech at the UN talks, he has disappointed the whole world." This is how FOE responded to Obama's initial bid to spend $100 billion of other people's money to give out to tinpot dictatorships and perpetual backwards nations around the world.

WDM (WMD?) or World Development Movement - Promoting development by hampering trade and attacking industrial civilization. This group's name matches its mission about as much as that of "The Trade Federation" in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, which enforces a blockade of "Nabu" for apparently no good reason whatsoever (must-watch explanation). This was WDM's take at Copenhagen: "The president said he came to act, but showed little evidence of doing so. He showed no awareness of the inequality and injustice of climate change. If America has really made its choice, it is a choice that condemns hundreds of millions of people to climate change disaster."

Bearing the Unbearable Burden
The organizations listed above are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg of neomarxist front-groups who parade their altruistic banners before an army of anti-capitalist foot soldiers. We can easily do such a vivisection as performed above on Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Earth Liberation Front, DemocracyNow!, the Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio, or any publicly funded "service" that does not otherwise cut it in a marketplace, of ideas or otherwise. The myriad of parasites and panhandlers fashioning themselves as "Non-Governmental Organizations" (NGOs) or "public charities" are the newest of neo-statist frontmen to prey on mankind's continual foolishness, of which there is apparently no short supply.

It is with this backdrop that we can appreciate the absolute moonbarking lunacy that transpired at Copenhagen, and why society must mobilize to put an end to lunacy itself. With no real appreciation for objective reality, mankind will continually be bamboozled by mystics and charlatans brandishing any apocalyptic, absynthian delusion that they can come up with. There is big money to be made from gullible buffoons, and a giant buffoon factory is precisely what Western education has become.

So when such laughably pathetic clowns of corruption and graft as the late Edward "Teddy" Kennedy are lionized with the mawkish pomp of "The Impossible Dream" (ironically, a man who had fought against the installation of windmills on Cape Wind) - one best be on the guard for more fairy tales like manmade global warming and impossible dragons to slay like controlling the earth's climate. What's a few trillion dollars anyway if that means saving the world from a giant windmill?