Rosetta stoning: Social media’s secular Puritans are putting Western civilization on trial Reply

This is an absolute must read.

“That this Twitterstorm happened in Anglo-Saxon countries is not a coincidence, and can be traced directly back to the Protestant – and often Puritan – foundations of these societies.

A tight-knit 17th century New England Puritan commune, with its “worldly saints” – those who proved to themselves that they were predestined by God for salvation by strictly abiding the Scriptures – and the others, excluded, contains many of the same impulses at work today. With religious authority concentrated not in Rome, but in the hands of the “godly” local elders, and the division of a community into the spiritual haves and have-nots, this gave a platform for Pharisaic, and hypocritical spiritual leaders – whose belief in their own superiority was often as egregious a sin as those they condemned – to decide the fates of others with a pointed finger. With outward evidence of God’s favor being the main yardstick of godliness, outcome was valued over motive, conformity over individuality, reputation over substance.

It is unsurprising that the Salem Witch Trials are still the image used when someone is hounded for failing to comply with social norms.

By Igor Ogorodnev

Russia Today

Matt Taylor (Image from twitter.com/mggttaylor)

Matt Taylor (Image from twitter.com/mggttaylor)

It was easy enough to defend Rosetta scientist Matt Taylor from the venomous enforcers of social mores, but even when they lose, the guardians and their enablers are poisoning the public sphere, making people jittery, and damaging Western societies.

The Twitter outcry over Taylor’s Hawaiian shirt was simultaneously the reductio ad absurdum and the generic template for a modern-day media scandal.

For those few innocent enough to have followed only the scientific progress of Rosetta, the first space probe to ever land on a comet last week, here is a quick recap.

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Sharyl Attkisson vs. Obama’s Police State Reply

The return of “The Plumbers.” As others have pointed out recently, the Obama Democrats are Nixon Republicans under another name (plus some cultural leftism thrown in to pacify potential critics from the Left).

The former Trotskyite turned Cold War liberal turned Israel Firster neoconservatives took over the intellectual leadership of the Republican Party in the 1970, 80s, and 90 (in collusion with Sun Belt plutocrats, neoliberal economists, military-industrial complex war profiteers, and moral majoritarians), So where did the former Nixon-Rockefeller liberal Republicans go? They went to the Democrats (in collusion with the totalitarian humanists). Hence, today’s Democratic Party is a hybrid of Nixon Republicans from the right and warmed over New Leftists from the left (symbolized in many ways by the present day friendly relationship between Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger, who would have been on opposite sides of the fence forty years ago).

By Justin Raimondo

Antiwar.Com

If the revelations of Edward Snowden didn’t convince you that we’re living in a police state, then Sharyl Attkisson’s book, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington, is the clincher. Indeed, it is more convincing insofar as the reporting that came out of Snowden’s disclosures never definitively demonstrated how such powerful technology in the hands of unrestrained government has led to the targeting of political opponents by government officials. In Attkisson’s book, the ultimate Orwellian nightmare comes true….

It’s 3:14 in the morning when Sharyl Attkisson – star CBS reporter – is wakened by a noise: her computer has come to life, unbidden – again. It’s been happening a lot lately: and it’s not just her desktop Apple. The other night her Toshiba laptop clicked on all by itself. And her phones are so afflicted with clickings and other mysterious noises as to be unusable.

Attkisson, a 20-year veteran of the CBS newsroom, has been investigating some pretty hot stories: “Fast and Furious,” the code name for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) program that let US guns “walk” over the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, and the Benghazi incident, among others. She knew the administration considered her an adversary (as these emails prove), an obnoxious pit bull out to trip them up, but she never imagined they would go so far as to spy on her. It’s the fall of 2012, and Snowden’s secrets are still under wraps. A friend with a connection to “a three-letter agency” expresses admiration for her coverage of Benghazi-gate and then clues her in:

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Kevin Carson vs. Hans Hermann Hoppe Reply

The ironic thing for me about the Hoppe vs Carson debate is that while I am a big fan of the work of both men, I doubt I would ever get invited to a gathering of either the Property and Freedom Society or the Center for a Stateless Society. I am neither an Austrian economist nor a cultural conservative, so my guess is that I’m out as far as Hoppe is concerned. I am not a cultural leftist or a so-called “social justice warrior” so I am out as far as Carson is concerned (as he has made abundantly clear, lol).

That I said, I find Hoppe’s attacks on both democratist and PC pieties, and Carson’s attacks on vulgar libertarianism and reactionary conservatism, to be amazingly refreshing.

And as a non-universalist, I don’t feel the need to care about the issues that divide these two thinkers.

Homophobic anarcho-monarchism for Hoppeland, and genderqueer mutualism for Carsonland.

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

You may be familiar with Murray Rothbard’s article “Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature.” Hans-Hermann Hoppe, beloved eminence grise at LewRockwell.com, takes things a step further and makes belief in human inequality the defining characteristic of right-libertarianism (“A Realistic Libertarianism,” Sept. 30). This isn’t just a hill he’s willing to die on, but a hill on which he’s willing to make his own one-man reenactment of Pickett’s Charge.

The Left… is convinced of the fundamental equality of man, that all men are “created equal.” It does not deny the patently obvious, of course: that there are environmental and physiological differences, i.e., that some people live in the mountains and others on the seaside, or that some men are tall and others short, some white and others black, some male and others female, etc.. But the Left does deny the existence of mental differences or, insofar as these are too apparent to be entirely denied, it tries to explain them away as “accidental.”…

In fact the Left (or at least most members of it) does not deny that there are differences in individual ability and intellect. But never mind that. Hoppe isn’t satisfied to stop there:

…[The right libertarian] realistically notices that libertarianism, as an intellectual system, was first developed and furthest elaborated in the Western world, by white males, in white male dominated societies. That it is in white, heterosexual male dominated societies, where adherence to libertarian principles is the greatest and the deviations from them the least severe (as indicated by comparatively less evil and extortionist State policies). That it is white heterosexual men, who have demonstrated the greatest ingenuity, industry, and economic prowess. And that it is societies dominated by white heterosexual males, and in particular by the most successful among them, which have produced and accumulated the greatest amount of capital goods and achieved the highest average living standards.

Some people might see an internal contradiction between Hoppe’s repeated use of the term “dominated” to describe the role of certain privileged segments of society, and the idea that “libertarian” ideas were formulated by societies based on domination.

But obviously Hoppe does not, since he makes little effort to hide his salivation at the prospect that his avowedly principled belief in self-ownership, non-aggression and rules of initial acquisition will have the effect — just coincidentally, of course — of perpetuating the domination of these same white heterosexual males. So the primary beneficiaries of the ideas of liberty that straight white men invented will be those same straight white men.

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Free speech is so last century: Today’s students want the ‘right to be comfortable’ Reply

Anarchists and libertarians should be the foremost critics of this kind of thing. Unfortunately, many of them are among its primary perpetrators. Says one of these moronic students: “‘The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalised groups.’”

This is essentially a restatement of Lenin’s dictum that “freedom is a bourgeois prejudice.”

By Brendan O’Neill

The Spectator

Have you met the Stepford students? They’re everywhere. On campuses across the land. Sitting stony-eyed in lecture halls or surreptitiously policing beer-fuelled banter in the uni bar. They look like students, dress like students, smell like students. But their student brains have been replaced by brains bereft of critical faculties and programmed to conform. To the untrained eye, they seem like your average book-devouring, ideas-discussing, H&M-adorned youth, but anyone who’s spent more than five minutes in their company will know that these students are far more interested in shutting debate down than opening it up.

I was attacked by a swarm of Stepford students this week. On Tuesday, I was supposed to take part in a debate about abortion at Christ Church, Oxford. I was invited by the Oxford Students for Life to put the pro-choice argument against the journalist Timothy Stanley, who is pro-life. But apparently it is forbidden for men to talk about abortion. A mob of furious feministic Oxford students, all robotically uttering the same stuff about feeling offended, set up a Facebook page littered with expletives and demands for the debate to be called off. They said it was outrageous that two human beings ‘who do not have uteruses’ should get to hold forth on abortion — identity politics at its most basely biological — and claimed the debate would threaten the ‘mental safety’ of Oxford students. Three hundred promised to turn up to the debate with ‘instruments’ — heaven knows what — that would allow them to disrupt proceedings.

Incredibly, Christ Church capitulated, the college’s censors living up to the modern meaning of their name by announcing that they would refuse to host the debate on the basis that it now raised ‘security and welfare issues’. So at one of the highest seats of learning on Earth, the democratic principle of free and open debate, of allowing differing opinions to slog it out in full view of discerning citizens, has been violated, and students have been rebranded as fragile creatures, overgrown children who need to be guarded against any idea that might prick their souls or challenge their prejudices. One of the censorious students actually boasted about her role in shutting down the debate, wearing her intolerance like a badge of honour in an Independent article in which she argued that, ‘The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalised groups.’

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The Military-Industrial Candidate Reply

By Kelley Vlahos

The American Conservative

Analysts were right to say that the Republican takeover of Congress bodes well for the war machine: already we see the levers of power slowly shifting in reverse, eager to get back to salad days of post-9/11 wartime spending.

But waiting in the wings, Hillary Clinton just may prove to be what the defense establishment has been waiting for, and more. Superior to all in money, name recognition, and influence, she is poised to compete aggressively for the Democratic nomination for president. She might just win the Oval Office. And by most measures she would be the most formidable hawk this country has seen in a generation.

“It is clear that she is behind the use of force in anything that has gone on in this cabinet. She is a Democratic hawk and that is her track record. That’s the flag she’s planted,” said Gordon Adams, a national security budget expert who was an associate director in President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget.

Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who has spent her post-service days protesting the war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, is more blunt. “Interventionism is a business and it has a constituency and she is tapping into it,” she tells TAC. “She is for the military industrial complex, and she is for the neoconservatives.”

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The Return of Mormon Polygamy? Reply

The money quote comes at the end of this article. This is also my prediction:

“In the next 30 or 40 years I have left to live, I expect to see liberal forms of religion die out, and conservative forms become more conservative — this, while the great mass of the American people drift steadily into secularism. Pope Benedict XVI predicted this for Europe, and I think we are only a generation behind our Old World forefathers. What’s going to be interesting is to see in what ways that intensifying conservatism among religious believers expresses itself. I think we may all be in for some surprises”

By Rod Dreher

The American Conservative

LDS Prophet Joseph Smith (R) shows Brigham Young the way (Photo credit: Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock)

LDS Prophet Joseph Smith (R) shows Brigham Young the way (Photo credit: Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock)

Ross Douthat has a thought-provoking reflection on the future of religion, both globally and in America. He says that it’s dangerous to assume that the future will look like the present, only moreso. Which Catholics in 1940 would have foreseen something as epochal as the Second Vatican Council, coming just 20 years later? Who could have anticipated that China is on track to having the largest Christian population in the world, and that Africa would be sending missionaries to the West? But here we are. Douthat calls attention to Will Saletan’s Slate piece saying that the Mormon Church has a clear theological method to change doctrine, has done so (on polygamy and other issues), and will do it on homosexuality eventually. Saletan points out that the Mormons have a history of changing doctrine to make it easier for them to get along in American society.

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Does the Whig Theory of History Hold True? Reply

By Keir Martland

Libertarian Alliance

To answer such a vast question, it would help if we knew who the Whigs were. Essentially, the Whigs began as a political faction opposed to James II becoming King. The Whigs were mostly aristocrats who viewed monarchy as a tiresome added extra to their hegemonic rule over England. And in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when they finally got their way and deposed James, they cemented their hegemony for the coming centuries.

Not only this, but the Whigs set out to re-tell history. This is not to say that they re-wrote history or that they lied, but they set about doing what they saw as necessary to correct the standard interpretation of history. In practice, it did involve re-writing history and the most famous Whig historian, Macaulay, wrote romantically in the 19th century of the Glorious Revolution in the 17th century. He argued that the Whigs saved England from “despotism…anarchy…childish theories…blood and confusion.”

To an extent, this is true. The English early modern revolution really was ‘glorious’ in one respect: no blood was shed. More…

The Tao of National Anarchism: Unity of the Opposites 7

By Michael Strasser

Central to Taoism is the idea of dialectical monism, which states that while everything is one, the Tao necessarily expresses itself as a multiplicity of opposites. Without contrast, there is no observation of anything in the world around us. Without up, there is no down, and the opposite of that is also true. For there to be a front, there necessarily needs to be a back. For there to be insiders, there must also be outsiders, and this is expressed in National-Anarchism itself. It is a unity of 19th century Enlightenment ideals, expressed by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and others, with that of radical traditionalism from millenniums past. This all seems to be illogical at first glance, which explains many people’s confusion online and on the streets. There are many enemies to National-Anarchism who think that it is simply a right wing movement in anarchist clothes. It would be helpful to see that there is no real contradiction in the synthesis of tradition and enlightenment ideals. Their realization, in fact, has to happen within the same movement. This is the process which has been in work toward this realization for many millenniums.

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White Racial Anxiety and the Changing Demographic Tide: Legitimate Concern or Illogical Worry? Reply

This article represents the standard left-wing response to common white nationalist  and other right-wing arguments concerning demographic change in the United States.

I am not a white nationalist or racialist of any kind, nor do I embrace the racial determinism that is implicit in much present day “far left” analysis concerning “whiteness” and the like. The American plutocracy will be overwhelmingly white, and to a lesser degree Jewish, for a long, long, long, time to come, plus an occasional Oprah or Chinese billionaire as American society becomes more multicultural. However, the socioeconomic position of working to middle class whites, and especially poor whites, will continue to decline. The ever growing lower classes will continue to become more and more ethically diverse due to more whites joining the lower classes, immigration, and population growth. Meanwhile, the new middle class of professionals, technical specialists, and public sector workers will likewise continue to become more multicultural due to upward mobility by advantaged members of the traditional minority groups, plus immigration by educated professionals from elsewhere. “Anti-racism” as a rhetorical and ideological tool will be increasingly used by the state as a means of managing a diverse society (see Singapore), and as a rhetorical weapon of elite minorities seeking self-advancement. Meanwhile, “racism” will be utilized as a comparable rhetorical and ideological weapon by downwardly mobile whites faced with ever stiffer competition from both traditional minorities and newer immigrant communities.

My own views of issues involving race and ethnicity are the same as those of the classical anarchists. As Larry Gambone has explained:

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Far Rightist Says “Death To America!” 6

On that at least, we can agree.

This is a really interesting talk. This fellow’s worldview and ideology are very much in the vein of classical, eighteenth century, “throne and altar” conservatism. If you were a “conservative” in the late 1700s and early 1800s, this is how you would have seen the world.

While I obviously disagree with most of this, and in many ways my own ideology is the polar opposite of what is being expressed here. He’s a Russian Orthodox, monarchist, anti-Masonic, white nationalist anit-modernist counterrevolutionary and I’m a far left (historically speaking) revolutionary anarchist. HOWEVER, what is interesting is the direction in which he takes his cultural and political criticisms by advocating essentially withdrawing from the system and urging his fellow reactionaries to “reject constitutionalism, capitalism, and conservation of American ‘founding principles’, embracing smaller and more manageable organic identities centered around their faith, their families, and their folk communities.” In other words, he’s advocating something akin to the national anarchist position (which is in turn compatible with the wider pan-anarchist/anarcho-pluralist paradigm) in practice if not in theory.

If a comparable perspective were to become prevalent among the entire spectrum of the American right-wing, from the Tea Parties to the fascists, then entirely sections of “red state” America would be walking away from the system. The Empire would be hollowed out from within and defeated, and the Left and the demographic groups it claims to champion would achieve self determination as well (http://attackthesystem.com/why-the-radical-left-should-consider-secession/) Of course, the Left can’t see this, given the Left’s usual myopia.

The Anarchist Struggle and the Case for Optimism 3

These comments are based on a recent debate I was having in a social media forum concerning the future of anarchist movements. What follows is a collection of comments I made within the context of a wider discussion. I apologize for the disjointed nature of this post in advance, but I’m posting it because I think some of these comments address some of the most crucial questions were are currently facing.

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Whenever I look at the rampant sectarianism that exists in the anarchist milieu at present my first inclination is to say things like:

I’m sure the overlords of the state look at this stuff from NSA reports and think, “Oh, shit, we’re fucked if these anarchist folks are so pissed at us.”

Or:

If I were the chairman of the board of Goldman-Sachs, this is the kind of “dissident political movement” I’d gladly bankroll out of self-interest. With enemies like this, who need friends?

Or:

When I read this shit, I’m astounded to consider that there was once an anarchist movement that assassinated the head of state of most major countries over a five year period. What the hell happened?

But then I remember that a little bit of context is necessary. For thing, I’m hardly immune to sectarian in-fighting myself. My battles with the left-libertarians, for example, are legion. Google my name and “left-libertarian” and you will see what I mean. Check out what some of the left-anarcho-communists have to say about me.

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

It is actually quite astounding that there are now enough anarchists to have social media groups with 20,000 members, that these groups have flame wars that extend for 1,000 posts, and where left vs right, reform vs revolution, structural analysis vs conspiracy theory, and an-com vs an-cap are debated. It sure wasn’t like that when “anarchism” in North America was a few fifth rate print fanzines of primitivists, recycled Trotskyites, and pro-pedophiles.

Consider some lessons from the past.

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How Racist Are White Nationalists? 18

White nationalists, what say you?

By Robert Lindsay

Negrofication Magnification Ratios said:

Very few white supremacists actually exist. The reality is that most so called white supremacists are in fact white separatists. They are wrongly labeled. The vast majority are simply interested in living in a white state.

However, this is where the practical problem appears for them. Belarus is a white nation but white separatists are not heading there. So in reality white nationalists are just debaters who love a debate but never do anything. Socialists and Islamic Imperialists are much more pro active and do have plenty of practical strategies. White supremacists or separatists do nothing in comparison to to the other two international ideologies of conquest. When was the last time these white groups did anything but debate on the internet ? And if you can find something, I can find a zillion things the socialists and Islamic ideologues have done during the same time frame.

The second paragraph is 100% correct. However, the first paragraph is not.

This is one of the biggest lies of the White nationalists. “We are not racists or White supremacists, we are just White separatists. We do not hate anyone. We just want to live alone by ourselves in peace.”

I actually believed this for some time because these scumbags kept spouting this line endlessly. I am not sure if they truly believe this or if they know they are lying, but I can assure you that it is a total lie. That is because I have never met one single White separatist who was not an utterly vicious, wildly off the charts racist White person. Not only are White separatists all racists, but these are by far the most racist White people of them all.

Some clues: They wish to live apart from the other races because they hate them so much.

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Is the Nation State Obsolete? Reply

By Chuck Spinney

The Blaster

Introduction to the Changing Face of War

Uri Avnery’s thoughtful essay Scotland on the Euphrates questions the future viability of the nation-state as a form of social organization.  His concerns are not new, although as Avnery noted, recent events certainly make them more believable — or less unbelievable to those who opine for the comforting stasis predicted by Fukyama’s silly postulation of the “end of history.”  The Israeli military historian, Martin van Creveld, has been making arguments along these lines for years (e.g., The Rise and Decline of the State, 1999).  And van Creveld was not the only one to address the emerging problems of sustaining the nation state in the emerging world.

Twenty-five years ago, in October 1989, four active duty military officers (2 marines and 2 army) and one civilian military historian wrote a prescient article in the Marine Corps Gazette, entitled “The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation,” attached below.  At that time, the Gazette was edited by Colonel John Greenwood (USMC Ret.); and thanks to him, the Gazette was by far the most stimulating, vibrant, and spunky of the professional military journals.  The article initially attracted a lot of attention, but unfortunately 4GW became a buzzword in some overly enthusiastic circles.  To make matters worse, the buzz triggered sharp resistance in traditional circles.  In my view, the authors’ warning became diluted by the intersection of uncritical enthusiasm with hardening resistance, and was missed entirely.
But their warning was timeless and is particularly appropriate for today. For example, they predicted the general outlines of why the drone war — the apotheosis of what the traditionalists call the military-technical revolution —  is failing so miserably in the face of the kind of adversaries these authors identified.  Some might argue that their paper is written from the narrow confines of European military history and variations of what they call 4GW have always been around, particularly in the East.  But this is a red herring; a careful reading shows that they accounted for and agreed with both these points.
More importantly, their central recommendation was missed entirely by their critics and many of their enthusiasts alike.  These men were not being dogmatic about the future; the authors’ aim (and Greenwood’s) was to stimulate critical thinking and debate about future possibilities.  Unfortunately, they were arrogantly dismissed by those living comfortably off a continuation of the status quo, and the unbridled enthusiasm of some of their followers weakened their case.  In the end, they failed utterly in achieving their aim of stimulating a serious debate, but not for wont of trying.
The results of that failure to stimulate debate and reform can be seen generally in the perpetual war on terror and specifically in President Obama’s declaration of a hi-tech bombing war against ISIS.
The big green spending machine, the Military – Industrial – Congressional – Complex (MICC), rolled throughout the 1990s into the 21st Century, essentially unthinking and unchanged, driven by its own well established internal dynamics and constituent interests.  The authors feared the MICC’s  claim of a military-technical revolution quite explicitly in their discourse on what they called a technology-driven 4GW — which I urge readers to pay particular attention to.
As they feared, the MICC opted for a technology driven answer to the war on terror by force-fitting the MICC’s tired old cold-war-inspired vision of techno war — i.e. the system of network centric systems embodying (1) an all-seeing surveillance system, coupled to (2) an all-knowing computerized assessment, decision making and targeting system and a (3) command system that controls (4) precision weapons — into what Avnery clearly recognizes as an ideas-driven change to the face of war.  The results have been disastrous and are continuing to worsen, an outcome also foreseen by these five men.
The United States is paying the price today: The arrogance of ignorance has created a perpetual war at ever increasing cost that is ruining America’s image in the world and bankrupting its government.  Where this will lead, no one can say.
It is with a sense of admiration* that I am attaching their Gazette paper.  I urge you to read it carefully and hope you find it interesting.
_________
Caveat emptor: two of the authors, William Lind and Colonel Gary I. Wilson (USMC ret), were colleagues and remain valued friends of mine.
Chuck Spinney

Why I Would Never Vote Republican-Ever 4

I am not big on voting, and I haven’t voted in 20 years. Before that, I occasionally voted for Democrats, largely on antiwar grounds. I have cast a ballot for a Republican only once, and never in a general election. I did vote against the Rev. Pat Robertson in the 1988 Republican primaries by casting a vote for Bob Dole.

From what I can tell the Republicans are the enemies of all mankind. What are they for other than war, war, and more war, a Third World model plutocracy, and a fascist paramilitary police state that uses appeals to “traditional values” (which amount to little more than hating fags) as a means of galvanizing support from the red state rubes?

As Robert Lindsay says:

“The Conservative Republican Party: Corporatism and neoliberalism, albeit in a much stronger form than the Liberal Republicans push, a radical near-Libertarian out and out dismantling of government, combined with the usual rightwing nuttery such as ludicrous paranoia of Communism, socialism and the economic Left, crazy conspiracy theory, exaggeration, lies, constant propaganda, racist dog whistles for bigoted White people, homophobia, misogyny and sexism, puritanism, Fundamentalist Christianity, jingoism, xenophobia, paranoia and hatred of the state itself.

A wildly imperial neoconservative and even openly neocolonialist foreign policy, the celebration of inequality, authoritarianism and police state tendencies strangely combined with a bizarre fetish with arming ordinary citizens as if they were the an official army. Sheer contempt for workers and a warlike attitude towards labor unions. Hostility to consumers and contempt for environmentalism, a destructive attitude towards Gaia and our fellow creatures, a celebration of pollution in every form and even apocalyptic manipulation of the Earth’s very climate itself. A head in the sand attitude towards the future and a focus on immediate profits at the expense of all long-term goals.

A general backwards, retrogressive and Medieval tone and even a celebration of a primitive, Neandertal-like mindset. An all out class war designed to immiserate the working, lower and even middle classes and transfer their wealth and income upwards to the upper middle and upper classes. A celebration of the market over all other human values to the point where it is the very reason for existence itself.”

With the exception of the “hatred of the state” part (Republicans only hate the welfare state, not the police state, corporate state, prison-industrial complex, or their sacred military-industrial complex), I generally agree with much of the above analysis. The Republicans are so awful that they make the centrist-liberal-reincarnated Nixon Republicans of the Obama administration (see Bruce Bartlett’s analysis here)  look like some kind of leftist revolutionaries in comparison (and they’re such good propagandists they’ve got the red state rubes actually believing the latter).

Gays, Guns, and Ganja: See the Libertarian-ization of America in 3 Maps Reply

Interesting.

The Skeptical Libertarian.

We libertarians like to gripe about all the things that are getting worse for freedom in this country, but along some dimensions, the libertarian agenda of personal liberty is winning: from the right to marry to the right to carry, America has become much more free over the last few decades.

In 1995, marijuana was illegal in every American state for any purpose. In 2003, same-sex couples could not marry in any state. In 2002, sodomy was still illegal in 13 states. In the 1980s, the vast majority of states either banned carrying firearms or had restrictive “may issue” permit laws.

But today, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, while four others have decriminalized possession, and now (after last week’s election) 4 states and Washington, DC, have legalized recreational use. Same-sex couples can now marry in 32 states and DC, and today, 5 states have lifted all restrictions on bearing firearms and 37 have instituted “shall issue” rules for permits.

In the courts, libertarian arguments have succeeded in striking down sodomy laws (Lawrence, 2003), the Defense Of Marriage Act (Windsor, 2013), and unconstitutional bans on gun ownership (Heller, 2008). (We did, however, lose the medical marijuana case in Gonzalez in 2005.)

Someone once defined libertarianism as “defending the right of gay couples to protect their marijuana farm with an assault rifle.” Sure, there’s more to it than that — but it’s not a bad place to start.

VIEW THE MAPS HERE

Why There is No Left Opposition in the United States Reply

Before there can be Left party, there has to be a class base for the Left.

Take the example of the Green Party, probably the largest left party in the U.S. at present.The problem with the Green Party, aside from the usual problems that plague all third parties, is that it’s a matter of putting the cart before the horse. During the 1950s and 60s, the working class was rather successfully integrated into the middle class due to rising living standards, technological changes, labor power, and political reforms. Then the working class got lazy and failed to protect its position (largely part due to its co-optation by social conservatives with appeals to patriotism, race, crime, “traditional values,” etc). Meanwhile the cultural left took over the Left.Then the corporatists launched their neoliberal counterattack on the working class, and neither labor nor the Left was capable of resisting. The working “middle” class has since been almost completely hollowed out while the neoliberals have successfully ground the working class down to semi-lumpen status. Meanwhile, the “Left” is merely a haven for middle to upper middle class identity politics, plus every kind of personal pathology yet to be invented (“the personal is political” and all that). That’s why nowadays the main issue driving the entire spectrum of the US “Left”, from the CPUSA to the Trots to the Workers World to the Greens to the Anarchists to the Left-libertarians, is the “LGBTQ” thing. There is no “red and black” Left anymore. There’s only the “pink and green” left which is really no left at all.

I was around the U.S. Greens when they were organizing back in the early 90s, and I knew then they would be a disaster. Mostly they were just bohemians often consumed by white guilt. The formation of a “Left” party today would require a complete psychic sea change. It would have to position itself as an unabashedly lumpenproletarian party (e.g. gangs, militias, ex-cons, etc.) and that means throwing overboard most middle class liberal pieties about race, gender, sexuality, meat eating, guns, sugar, smoking, seat belts, video games, motorcycle helmets, drugs, prostitution, etc. And that’s not going to happen. The “left” today is merely the “left-wing” of the middle class.

Arguments Against the ATS Position 30

I was recently trying to think of all the arguments that have been offered against the ATS philosophy and strategy. I would define the ATS position as follows:

1. The international plutocratic empire is the enemy of all mankind except a small number of people who are its overlords.

2. The most viable means of resistance would be a de facto pan-anarchist movement based on the principle of self-determination of all peoples everywhere. Not only nations, religions, and ethnic groups, but also communities, regions, tribes, subcultures, minority groups, political factions, and socioeconomic categories.

3. The most viable means of achieving this objective would be through the organization of alliances of regional and local secessionist movements with each of these developing their own alternative infrastructure, and maintaining their respective cultural orientation.

From what I can surmise, the arguments against this position amount to:

1. “I don’t care about overthrowing the empire.” Fair enough.

2. “I don’t think the ATS position would work. Too much room or infiltration, division, or co-optation.” Fair enough.

3. “We want special recognition for our issues.” Special pleading.

4. “We demand the right to exclude people we don’t like from the revolutionary alliance.” Special pleading.

5. “I don’t like the ATS position because Keith Preston is an asshole.” Irrelevant ad hominem.

I’m open to hearing other arguments if anyone wants to offer some.

Imperialist feminism and liberalism 1

A must read.

By Deepa Kumar

Open Democracy

Colonial feminism is based on the appropriation of women’s rights in the service of empire and has been widely utilised in justifying aggression in the Middle East. But is it liberal?

In a recent CNN interview, religion scholar Reza Aslan was asked by journalist Alisyn Camerota if Islam is violent given the “primitive treatment in Muslim countries of women and other minorities.” Aslan responded by stating that the conditions for women in Muslim majority countries vary. While women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia, elsewhere in various Muslim majority countries, women have been elected heads of states 7 times. But, before he could finish his sentence pointing out that the US is yet to elect a woman as president, he was interrupted by co-host Don Lemon who declared: “Be honest though, Reza, for the most part it is not a free and open society for women in those states.”

How is it that people like Camerota and Lemon, who very likely have never travelled to “free and open” Turkey, Lebanon or Bangladesh, or read the scholarship on women’s rights struggles in Morocco, Iran and Egypt, seem to know with complete certainty that women are treated “primitively” in “Muslim countries”? On what basis does Lemon believe that he has the authority to call Aslan out for supposed dishonesty? How is it that with little or no empirical evidence on women’s rights in Muslim majority countries (which vary widely based on country, regions within a country, social class, the history and nature of national liberation movements, the part played by Islam in political movements etc.) Western commentators routinely make such proclamations about women and Islam?

More…

Towards a Redefinition of Nationalism 5

Not bad. It looks like someone has been reading ATS. I certainly hope the Alternative Right/Neo-Reactionary/Dark Enlightenment evolves in this direction. I noticed in the comments threads at Radix that some of the fascists and white supremacists aren’t too happy with this piece, lol.

By Batu Caliskan

Radix Journal

The first step in initiating an ideological backswing, a reconstruction of thought necessary to challenge dominant presuppositions in which all modern political discourse is confined, is to reclaim the term “nationalism”, in both its conceptual and linguistic dimensions. By “nationalism”, I am not referring to the crass flag-and-dirt worship popularized as “patriotism”, which demands unwavering belief in the legitimacy and necessity of the state. Nationalism is allegiance and solidarity towards a respective collective or “nation”–a neology intended to subvert the notion that a nation is a state.

An important point to consider, when approaching the topic of race relations, is that the United States is a prison of nations. It is composed of loose collections of deracinated people, displaced from their native history, customs, and identity, and is a simulacrum of a pluralistic, free society. While many underscore the nation’s failure at metastasizing shallow conceptions of “pluralism” (political incoherence), “individual liberty” (atomization), “equality” (systemic assimilation of the minority into the majority’s institutional pathology), and “opportunity” (prospect of affording a lifestyle rendered possible primarily through resource extraction bonanzas and the incremental opening-up of foreign markets), few have railed against the United States as a combat zone, a stage for a soft war between nations of people.

More…

The United States is an Imperialist-Militarist-Plutocratic-Police-State and a Secular Theocracy Reply

I posted these thoughts in the comments thread in response the recent article, “The True Global Minority,” by Bay Area Guy from Alternative Right, and follow up comments by “Dota.” I’m reposting this as a main blog entry because I think it summarizes the current “state of the Union” pretty well.

Dota writes:

“I have discussed this issue with Bay Area Guy at length. Basically, most countries have moderate nationalists and fascist hawks. But Liberals in the western sense of the word simply do not exist outside the west. Even India, the world’s largest democracy, has 2 main parties: The secular Nationalist Congress and the Hindu fascist BJP. There are no liberals. Cultural Marxism represents a mental illness which causes a society to disintegrate from within.”

My response:

Well, the U.S. certainly has a hyper hawkish party in the form of the Republicans. They certainly don’t qualify as fascists in the classical sense. But they’re arguably as hawkish as any conventional right-wing militarist regime would be.

And the Democrats are just traditional Rockefeller Republicans under another name, so that would make them “moderate nationalists” with regards to foreign policy.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/obama-is-a-republican

The present day United States is not a “liberal” state in the sense of being something that would meet with the approval of the ACLU and the Society of Friends. It’s a very militarist regime that retains a larger military budget than the next 25 nations combined, and reserves for itself the right to attack any another nation at any time and for any reason. It also maintains the world’s largest prison population, and its police forces conduct tens of thousands of paramilitary raids on private citizens over dubious matters on an annual basis.

The U.S. barely qualifies as a democratic regime at all, as this latest study from Princeton shows: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/princeton-experts-say-us-no-longer-democracy

Of course, I agree with you on the question of “cultural Marxism” which is a Western oddity that you wouldn’t find hardly anywhere outside the West. We know well what the Japanese think of immigration, or what the Muslims think of feminism, or what the Chinese think about race, or what the central Africans think of gay rights, or what the Russians think of Pussy Riot.

But I also think the “totalitarian humanism” that I am always criticizing is really more of a kind of secular theocracy than anything else, as I said in my recent talk to the H.L. Mencken Club. The idea that progressives are amoral do-your-own-thing libertine individualists is ridiculous. The central thrust of the Left-progressive outlook is a state-centric authoritarian moralism and it always has been.

Alcohol prohibition in its day had as much support from progressive do-gooders as it did from religious conservatives. While presidents like Nixon and Reagan might have spearheaded the War on Drugs, liberal Democratic politicians have been just as complicit as Republicans in the drug war.

During the 1970s, 80s, and 90s you had conservative religious do-gooders crusading against drugs, alcohol, smoking, pornography, prostitution, gambling, media personalities they found morally offensive, alleged satanic rock music, etc.

In 2014 we have left-liberal-progressive do-gooders engaging in similar crusades. They relentlessly attack public figures they find morally offensive (e.g. Phil Robertson, Alec Baldwin and more recently Joe Rogan). They crusade against smoking on therapeutic statist rather than moralistic religious grounds, and they’ve added food policing to the mix as well. Then there’s the feminists’ crusade against pornography and prostitution which is every bit a virulent as that of the religious right. The left’s more recent attacks on “payday loans” are comparable to the standard religious conservative attacks on gambling. Video games have earned the ire of the “progressives” in the same matter as “satanic rock” a few decades ago or comic books in the 1950s. Then there’s the left’s obsessive language policing which is on the level of 1940s schoolmarms admonishing the kiddies not to say bad words. Plenty of progressives have persistently called for tighter regulation of alcohol. The most generous thing that could be said about the Left’s record of offering opposition to the war on drugs is that it’s spotty at best.

The Left even has its own version of pro-life in the form of animal rights and environmental hysteria. The Left has its own version of blasphemy laws in the form of “hate speech”  (although fortunately the First Amendment has thus far prevented this from being imported in the U.S.) Not to mention the persistent progressive campaign against guns. Also, contrary to the progressive’s image as sexual libertines, we see plenty of progressives fueling the latest round of “sexual abuse” hysteria involving relationships between 17 year old students and their 20-something teachers.

The Left even manages to be moralistic about its decadence. For instance, “pride marches” are not regarded merely as a celebration of hedonism but as a profound moral statement. The transgendered and BDSM crowds are following a similar trajectory.

The progressive “social agenda” could basically be described as “theocracy without a god” although there are plenty of religious progressives and plenty of social or religious conservative allies who are in on all this as well.

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy Reply

Duh?

By Brendan James

Talking Points Memo

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AP Photo / Patrick Semansky

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

TPM Interview: Scholar Behind Viral ‘Oligarchy’ Study Tells You What It Means

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.

The researches note that this is not a new development caused by, say, recent Supreme Court decisions allowing more money in politics, such as Citizens United or this month’s ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. As the data stretching back to the 1980s suggests, this has been a long term trend, and is therefore harder for most people to perceive, let alone reverse.

“Ordinary citizens,” they write, “might often be observed to ‘win’ (that is, to get their preferred policy outcomes) even if they had no independent effect whatsoever on policy making, if elites (with whom they often agree) actually prevail.”

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