Getting It Reply

This piece by Lind could almost be a left-libertarian or left-anarchist analysis EXCEPT the cultural divide is so vast as to be unbridgeable.

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

The Left has adopted the word “woke” to describe people who have accepted the ideology of cultural Marxism and are willing to act on it.  The equivalent I hear most often for the Right is “getting it”.  What does it mean to “get it”?

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A False God Fails 1

Apparently, Bill Lind has become an anarcho-Monarchist in the tradition of Tolkien, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, or Hans Hermann Hoppe.

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

As Great Britain moves towards its independence day, i.e., Brexit, a false god is failing: the god named “democracy”.  Prime Minister Theresa May, who should have gone back to her kitchen long ago, has made such a bloody mess of it that Britons are questioning the system that put her in office.  The March 31 New York Times says it bluntly:

It has amounted to a hollowing out of confidence in democracy itself.

“I don’t think the central institutions of government have been discredited like this in the postwar period,” said William Davies, who teaches political economy at Goldsmiths, University of London. . . “the political elites–people just want them to get off the stage.  I don’t know who they want to replace them.  But there’s a sense a reboot would be something people would be in favor of. . .”

“I think people have totally lost confidence in democracy, in British democracy and the way it’s run,” said Tommy Turner, 32, a firefighter.

Fortunately for Britain, democracy, in the form of the House of Commons, does not rule at all.  There is still the House of Lords, which is usually more sensible than Commons, and there is the real sovereign, Queen Elizabeth.  If all else fails, the Queen can rule as well as reign.  Evelyn Waugh put British democracy in its place; when asked why he did not vote, he replied, “I do not aspire to advise my Sovereign on her choice of servants.”

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Studying the demise of historic civilizations 1

Must read.

**

By Luke Kemp
19 February 2019

Studying the demise of historic civilisations can tell us how much risk we face today, says collapse expert Luke Kemp. Worryingly, the signs are worsening.

Great civilisations are not murdered. Instead, they take their own lives.

DEEP CIVILISATION

This article is part of a new BBC Future series about the long view of humanity, which aims to stand back from the daily news cycle and widen the lens of our current place in time. Modern society is suffering from “temporal exhaustion”, the sociologist Elise Boulding once said. “If one is mentally out of breath all the time from dealing with the present, there is no energy left for imagining the future,” she wrote.

That’s why the Deep Civilisation season will explore what really matters in the broader arc of human history and what it means for us and our descendants.

So concluded the historian Arnold Toynbee in his 12-volume magnum opus A Study of History. It was an exploration of the rise and fall of 28 different civilisations. More…

The United City-States of America, Mapped Reply

The future infrastructure of pan-anarchism? The city-states should only be the meta-structures for thousands of local communities, intentional communites, neighborhoods, districts, and autonomous zones. And why only 100? Ancient Greece was comprised of nearly 1100 autonomous cities. The Holy Roman Empire included hundreds of kingdoms intersecting with many more free cities and territories. 

By Nolan Gray

Medium

From ancient Greece to Renaissance Italy to the Four Asian Tigers, city-states have always punched above their weight. They’ve driven culture forward, facilitated global commerce, and charged ahead of their nation-bound peers.

Indeed, cities — and the metropolitan regions that orbit around them — make sense as a political and economic unit. The key services we depend on government to do, from building infrastructure to ensuring public safety, are mostly handled by cities. And contrary to earlier predictions, the forces of globalization and the rise of the information economy have only made cities more important as economic engines and innovation hubs. It’s no surprise, then, that cities — and their mayors — are increasingly finding their voices in a world previously dominated by nations and international entities.

Unfortunately, the way the United States is structured today undermines this trend by privileging states as the key political entity. State boundaries in these modern times are typically arbitrary and often no longer reflect any meaningful political, cultural, or economic reality. Some U.S. cities, both big and small, manage to straddle state borders (think Texarkana or Bristol) while others run right up to the state edge but sharply hug the border (think Cincinnati or St. Louis). And a number of states are inexplicably fragmented because their seat of government is very different from their most populous town (think New York City/Albany and Chicago/Springfield). This often results in excessive fragmentation, unproductive competition, and a near total lack of regional land-use and transportation planning. We all suffer as a result.

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The End of Our World Order Is Imminent Reply


A writer at The Nation points out how more than 200 empires have risen and fallen in world history, and the US empire will eventually fall as well. I think this author likely overstates the prospects for future Chinese dominance, and his environmental alarmism may be overstated as well. Most likely what will replace US hegemony is the system that the author describes the US as having a pivotal role in creating, i.e. the system of global capitalism. As the US recedes, international organizations will increasingly come to dominate, e.g. the UN, World Bank, IMF, WTO, G20, transnational corporations, NGOs, foundations, international media conglomerates, etc. US military power will likely retreat as various European and Asia powers come to dominate their particular regions, but within the wide framework of global capitalism.

By Alfred McCoy

The Nation

Once upon a time in America, we could all argue about whether or not US global power was declining. Now, most observers have little doubt that the end is just a matter of timing and circumstance. Ten years ago, I predicted that, by 2025, it would be all over for American power, a then-controversial comment that’s commonplace today. Under President Donald Trump, the once “indispensable nation” that won World War II and built a new world order has become dispensable indeed.

The decline and fall of American global power is, of course, nothing special in the great sweep of history. After all, in the 4,000 years since humanity’s first empire formed in the Fertile Crescent, at least 200 empires have risen, collided with other imperial powers, and in time collapsed. In the past century alone, two dozen modern imperial states have fallen and the world has managed just fine in the wake of their demise.

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Slavoj Žižek: Trump’s rise is a symptom of a dark and subtle force 23

For 25-30 years, I have said that the main political issues in the USA are imperialism, widening class divisions, and use of the wars on drugs, crime, and (later) terrorism to create a domestic police state. Regrettably, most of liberal and left opinion during this time has been more focused on “identity” issues and (to a lesser degree) environmentalism or expanding the welfare state instead.

We are seeing the consequences of that now. The US has killed millions of people in the past 20 years with wars of aggression. Class divisions are the widest they have been in a century, and incarceration rates are setting world records. In fact, it’s often been the far right (paleocons, libertarians, sovereign citizens, isolationist xenophobes) who are more in tune on many of these issues than liberal and left opinion.

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How the System Works 1

“It’s interesting how figures like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are labelled as “communists” for wanting the economic policies of the 1950s (when a third of the US labor force was unionized and the top income tax bracket was 91%), and the Trumpians/MAGA hats are considered “fascists” for wanting immigration policies that are to the left of Eisenhower’s in the 1950s. Whatever the USA was in the 1950s, it was hardly fascist or communist.

In most countries with a democratically elected government (roughly 60 to 75 percent of the world’s nations), open socialists, communists, fascists, nationalists, fundamentalists, Greens, quasi-anarchists, animal rightsers, populists, and all kinds of assorted weirdos regularly run for and get elected to all kinds of stuff. That’s how “democracy” is theoretically supposed to function.

The USA has one of the most tightly controlled and narrowly constrained electoral systems in the world. Some of the most retrograde Latin American nations have a similar system. The different factions of the oligarchy (mostly the traditional Chamber of Commerce types vs the newer techno-oligarchs and urban professional class) put forward their bought candidates as quasi-celebrities, and the role of the media is that of a pro-wrestling announcer, i.e. to pretend like it’s all a real contest as opposed to a staged theatrical production.” – Keith Preston

“Its a rigged game and a charade, and people are starting to see it, even if they cannot describe it in the political language that you just did. Parliamentary systems are better because even outsider candidates can pick up a few seats. The US is actually a Plutocratic, Quasi Totalitarian State with Democratic façades. The electoral system and the liberal and conservative wings in the US are totally bought off, and the corporate and national security state elements actually run the country, with the political class being basically their employees from the President on down. Freedom of Speech is no threat, the US population is so brain benumbed and ignorant, repeating all the nonsense they hear from Fox News and MSNBC that nothing they think, say, or do can pose any kind of challenge to the system. OTOH people are disgusted with government, corporations, banks, the government, and the establishment parties, they no they are getting screwed and the system is scared. So there is tactic of inculcating strife between various groups in society over race, political views, sexism, LGBT, etc. Cultural Liberalism as a divide and conquer strategy. Economic misery us breaking down American society, the fissures are everywhere. It will get so bad with drug use, suicide, nihilism, mass killings, mental illness, that society will no longer function normally anymore, and it will collapse.”-David Alexander

Dancing On America’s Grave 2

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Washington is a fucking zoo. The entire town seems to be teeming with an almost demonic energy that’s usually reserved for Third World capitals hours before the fall of some CIA funded cannibal despot. We have had fucked up presidencies before, about 44 of them if memory serves correctly, and the temptation is always rich to proclaim the current bastard the worst, but the Donald is a very special flavor of fucked up and his ADHD appears to be contagious. For the first time in centuries, the crumbling ghettos surrounding the District of Colombia look downright pristine compared to the cracked ivory white domes that have long cast shadows across their project courtyards. If you look real carefully through the purple haze of the Sour Diesel and Sherman Hemsley of Potomac Gardens you can just barely see a teary eyed Mike Pence in a West Wing window, dreaming of some place that’s green.

All across the vast expanse of Trump’s America this chaos is spreading like lice. Peep through the blinds of any given ranch-style rambler from Pittsburgh to Peoria and you’ll witness tableaus straight out of a Flannery O’Connor novel. Grotesque creatures ranting and raving across the dinner table at one another over their supposed loved ones’ refusal to despise the right villain in this sick Southern Gothic horror story of a country. Brothers at war with brothers over two sides of the same foul oligarchy. Republicrats or Dempublicans? Crips or Bloods? Kind of grants the concept of ‘White People Problems’ a sick new irony. How much for a room at the Gardens again? I desperately need some sleep and even gunshots beat the sound of gnashing teeth and cable news.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump and his Botox poisoned limousine liberal nemesis, Nancy Pelosi, continue to play one side of the country off the other, shutting down our crooked federal government over some fictional crisis manufactured in the middle of the fucking desert. Prison guards and TSA gropers are expected to sexually violate the public without a paycheck while Trump bets his staffers $6 billion that he can piss over that 12 foot wall.

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George H.W. Bush, Icon of the WASP Establishment—and of Brutal US Repression in the Third World Reply

By Greg Grandin

The Nation

Obituaries have transformed the terror that Bush inflicted, depicting it as heroism.

What Happens When Trump Falls? Reply

I find it fascinating that Donald Trump, a man who personifies the perfect hybrid of 1960s/70s hedonism and 1980s/90s greed and materialism, would emerge as a conservative hero, with the religious right and social conservatives being his biggest backers. If there are any snowflakes left who still think some right-wing Christian theocracy is on the horizon, they need not worry. Trumpism represents the Latin Americanization of US politics (a high stratified class system where open corruption is the norm in politics) rather than “A Handmaid’s Tale.”

By Rod Dreher

The American Conservative

Ross Douthat has a good column today, about how Trump’s grift has been paradoxically cleansing. He argues that Trump’s claim that he would go to Washington and “drain the swamp,” while only ever plausible to those eager to be a mark, is now impossible for anyone to take seriously:

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Death to America? 1

This is an interesting assessment of what is right and wrong with the United States from an English perspective, written in early 2016 before the election of Trump.

By Sean Gabb

Talking about the future is often a sure recipe for looking like a fool. However obvious it may seem to us, nearly everything that happened in the past was unexpected at the time. I am not aware of anyone in 1639 who believed the Stuart State was about to collapse. Nor do I think anyone in 1788 predicted the occurrence and course of the French Revolution. The course of the Great War repeatedly took all the clever men by surprise. The difficulty with looking ahead is partly that most of the facts are unknown, but partly that the facts already established will be seen out of focus. We always tend to see the world through the twin lenses of unreasonable fear and of wishful thinking. For the world as it is, facts already established provide some correction. For the world as it may be, the only correction is to wait and see.

I will, therefore, not predict the decline of American world power. On the one hand, the country does appear to be in decline. It suffers internally from an increasingly predatory and freakish system of government, and from a national culture that is malign in its values and intrinsically worthless. None of its military interventions in the past quarter century has achieved its stated purpose, and all have been disastrous for the foreign peoples they were supposed to help. The military and diplomatic power of American has declined. It is no longer even clear that the Dollar will keep its hegemony. To put it mildly, the demographic changes now taking place are undermining the equilibrium and cohesiveness of the United States as it has been known since the 1870s.

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The Decline and Fall of the American Empire 2

By Tyler Cowen

Bloomberg

So what would the decline of America look like? I don’t ask the question because I think it’s happening (yet?), but because even the most inveterate optimist should be interested in the dangers, if only to ward them off.

Here’s the cleanest tale of hypothetical decline I could come up with, keeping away from the more partisan or hysterical scenarios, or those involving a catastrophic deus ex machina.

Imagine that the United States gets through the presidency of Donald Trump without a crippling constitutional crisis. Still, the shrill public debate — which will continue well past Trump’s time in office — will continue to prove unequal to the task of addressing the nation’s most pressing problems.

In recent years, the underlying rate of productivity growth often has been about 1 percent, and rates of economic growth are not even half of what they used to be. Meanwhile, America will have to increase taxes or reduce spending by about $2,200 per taxpayer per year to keep the national debt-to-GDP ratio from rising ever higher, and that figure predates the Trump tax cuts. To fund that shortfall, the U.S. will cut back on infrastructure maintenance. At least one-third of this country will end up looking like — forgive the colloquial phrase — “a dump.” The racial wealth gap will not be narrowed.

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The Federal Government as Organized Crime Reply

Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Quick hypothetical: Lets say me and a few of the burliest trans-girls I know show up at your doorstep and ask, scratch that, demand that you pitch in a chunk of your salary to pay for our bottom surgeries, making a halfway descent argument that it serves the communities interest to make us physically whole. Lets say you say no and me and the girls physically subdue you, tie you up, and hold you prisoner in your basement for a few weeks while we max out your credit cards and then cut you loose with a stern warning not to cross us again.

Now lets say me and the girls are running this racket up and down the eastern seaboard. How would you classify such an operation? A federal prosecutor might quite accurately describe this as organized crime.

Now lets say we were a different kind of T-girl and we showed up at your door with a badge, demanding that you hand over your hard earned money to pay for far more ambiguous projects than the state of our genitalia. Projects that allegedly serve our fine nations greater interests. Naturally, you say fuck off and we dock your pay, slap on a pair of cuffs, and beat the fucking candy out of you if dare to defend yourself before sending you to a sex dungeon upstate. Now it’s not organized crime, it’s organized government! Aside from that little tin shield that affords one the mandate of the state in spite of never being elected to anything, you tell me the goddamn difference?

I’m far from the first person to make this observation. It’s one of the major bedrocks that form the foundation of anarchist thought. But lately, in this hyper-partisan age of unfettered mass hysteria, regular old do-nothing Republicrats and Dempublicans have taken up not-so-dissimilar positions against federal agencies that have crossed them. While Democrats are calling for the collective head of ICE in the face of their mass kidnappings on the border, Republicans are openly musing about giving the ax to the FBI for picking favorites in the 2016 election. Well, I say you don’t have to be an anarchist, Republican, or Democrat to support banning both.

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The Latin Americanization of the United States 2

By Keith Preston

Everyone knows that one of the principal grievances of the right-wing involves the substantial amount of immigration from Latin America to the United States that has taken place in recent decades. The commonly voiced concern is that the traditional “white” (Northern European) majority will lose its majority status, and that persons of Latin American ancestry (combined with people of color generally) will become the demographic majority. Whether this is good or bad is an individual value judgment, but the criticisms often obscure other, perhaps more substantive ways in which the United States is coming to resemble Latin America.

The traditional class system of Latin America is one where the very rich plutocratic elites live in opulence and luxury, and rule over an impoverished working class, an extraordinarily large underclass of the extreme poor and permanently unemployed, and a small middle class of professionals and technocrats. This is precisely the same kind of class system that the United States is developing, particularly in California which is widely considered to be the bellwether of the nation.

In traditional Latin American societies, the elite rule for the sake of pursing their own class interests, without any pretense of interest in the needs of the masses. To the degree that elections are held at all, the candidates are merely functionaries of the plutocracy. US politics is rapidly coming to resemble this model.

The police and the army are the traditionally dominant force in Latin American societies, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the military industrial complex and police state have assumed a comparable role in the United States.

The one noticeable difference is that in many traditional Latin American societies, the Catholic Church hierarchy provided the ruling class with its self-legitimating ideology. In the United States, organized religion is becoming an increasingly marginal force with the new self-legitimating ideology of the state being the totalitarian humanist ideology of the new clerisy.

Interestingly, Latin America has experienced a great deal of liberalization and progress in the past few decades, while the United States has increasingly gone backward. Perhaps Americans need to start emigrating to Latin America.

Image result for latin american dictatorships

Reflections on Idiocracy 1

A Facebook reader comments:

“The original Black Panthers were pretty awesome too. I haven’t seen any leftist groups that are even on their level either these days. Even the 70’s radical groups were more respectable. I rate The Weathermen who were the most notorious toilet bombers of that time more highly. Granted, I think they may have had more malevolent intentions than they claim now, for instance, Cathy Wilkerson trained FALN members how to make bombs and they actually did blow up people. But also George Jackson, Raymond Levasseur. I am sure I can think of others. Those guys were not effete pussies. Granted, their violence did more harm than good imo, they caused the government to pass more restrictive laws and since people don’t tend to like extremists and violence, they pushed voters to the right resulting in that scumbag Reagan being elected.

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Free Speech: What It Is and Why It Matters Reply

 

Aleksey Bashtavenko


Academic Composition

“However unwilling a person who has a strong opinion may be to admit that his opinion might be false, he ought to be moved by this thought: however true it may be, if it isn’t fully, frequently and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma rather than as a living truth. ”

John Stuart Mill

The First Amendment guarantees that the “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble”. This provision clarifies the point that the government cannot pass a law criminalizing the act of free expression. However, certain spoken statements could constitute an act of violence, provided they can be regarded as a root cause of violence against others.

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The Fear of the State Reply

1CBDB358-F736-4AC7-A8BE-4F9E8B6DFEF1Most research shows that we live in a far more peaceful time than previous periods in human history. It’s a complicated topic with a lot of incomplete data for a massively huge period of examination, but the current conventional wisdom follows from Dr. Pinker’s study of the long decline in violence, “The Better Angels of Our Nature.” I agree with Pinker’s specific argument that violence has declined generally, and Pinker does save for a break from the typical 10 o’clock news run about how you might get stabbed to death by some Sureños while walking to your car at night.

Interestingly, Pinker’s research identifies the rise of the modern State as one of the main reasons for the overall decline in violence. He sees the State as a gift of peace to the “species’ existence” because it centralizes the previous packs of punishers into a monopoly on violence where punishment becomes central management controlled by a super centralized State.

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The Bankruptcy of the American Left 2

Kudos to Chris Hedges. This is as good an analysis as I would ever expect from someone on the Left. This is a fairly straightforward Marxist analysis within a social democratic ideological framework. But he knows who the real enemy is.

By Chris Hedges

Truthdig

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5 Reasons Why America Will Not Collapse Like the Roman Empire 5

This is both good and bad news. Bad in the sense that the US empire, the leading killer in the world today, certainly needs to be abolished. Good in the sense that it would probably be best if the US empire was abolished in a way similar to the abolition of the British empire than the Roman empire. A full scale civilizational collapse like what Rome experienced in the Western region of the empire normally leads to terrible conditions, such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, and civil war. When the Soviet empire collapsed the average life expectancy in Russia was reduced by 20 years. However, the British empire was abolished with the British society remaining in tact and continuing as an advanced industrial state.

By Paul Ratner

Bigthink.Com

Article Image

We look to history to figure out if the past is either a prologue or a lesson to the present. In terms of political history, the comparison between the United States and the Roman Empire is attractive because not only do these two represent the most powerful nations of their time, the U.S. actually modeled some of its institutions and thinking after the Roman example. The recent political strife plaguing the U.S. seems to be getting worse by the day and invites the question whether America, like its ancient predecessor, is headed for a downfall. Certainly, from the historical perspective, no empire has lasted forever (so far) and the U.S. is due for a challenge.

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