Thomas H. Naylor on Leviathan, Secession and Vermont’s Small Nation Dream Reply

Tom Naylor is interviewed by Anthony Wile

The Daily Bell is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Thomas H. Naylor (left).

Introduction: Thomas H. Naylor, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University, is a writer and a political activist who has taught at Middlebury College and the University of Vermont.  For 30 years he taught economics, management science and computer science at Duke. As an international management consultant specializing in strategic management, Dr. Naylor has advised major corporations and governments in over 30 countries. During the 1970s he was President of SIMPLAN Systems, a 50-person computer software firm whose clients were Fortune 500 companies in the US and abroad. Recognizing that the United States had become more like its former nemesis the Soviet Union than most Americans care to admit, in 2003 he founded the Second Vermont Republic, a nonviolent citizens network and think tank opposed to the tyranny of corporate America and the US government and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic.  Ode Magazine editor Jay Walljasper dubbed him, “Tom Paine for the 21st century.” The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Adbusters, Christian Science Monitor, The Nation and Business Week have published his articles. For additional information, visit http://www.vermontrepublic.org.

Daily Bell: Can you give us some background on yourself?

Thomas H. Naylor: I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1950s where my father admonished me to “be cautious” and always be concerned about “what people will think.” I was never very cautious nor very concerned about what people thought. I used to refuse to stand when Dixie was played at Ole Miss football games, and I understood fully the significance of that decision.

After three years at Millsaps College I moved to the Great Satan, New York City, and entered Columbia University where I earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Two years later I received my M.B.A. from Indiana University. Summer jobs at International Paper Company, Sun Oil and Dow Chemical convinced me that Corporate America was not for me. At I.U. I became interested in computers, which played an important role in my life for the next 20 years.

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Interventionism and the Elites: The ideological origins of the military-industrial-media complex Reply

By Justin Raimondo

A recent Rasmussen poll has 51 percent of Americans favoring the pullout of all US troops from Europe – and yet not a single major American politician would even consider endorsing such a move. Why is that? I thought politicians were supposed to be consummate opportunists, whose weather vane-like views shift with the winds of public opinion. If so, then they should be jumping on the anti-NATO, anti-interventionist, “mind-our-own-business” bandwagon – right?

Wrong.

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America’s 23-Year War Reply

By Anthony Gregory

If President Obama has his way, the last U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan could be Americans born five years after 9/11. The administration has signed a pact to maintain a military presence there until 2024. After initially claiming the rumors of such a deal were false, the administration has since described this pledge as a means of providing “training” assistance to Afghan forces. The White House continues to issue mixed messages on the war, simultaneously insisting that the war is “over,” but that U.S. troops will face “hard days ahead” in the conflict.

Obama has long claimed that he would bring an end to the war will end by 2014, which is still way too long to wait. As for sticking around for another 12 years, the very idea should be maddening to anyone. A president that makes such behind-the-scenes arrangements should be a target for censure or impeachment.

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Christopher Columbus’ Jewish Roots Examined By Historians Reply

Christopher Columbus Jewish

This amuses me on many a level.

From the Huffington Post

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Over five centuries after the famed explorer’s death, historians are taking a fresh look at what motivated Christopher Columbus to make his voyage across the Atlantic — and how his faith may have played into those motivations.

Some scholars, after analyzing Columbus’ will and other documents, have devised a new theory about the explorer. They believe he was a Marrano, or a Jew who pretended to be a Catholic to avoid religious persecution. These historians also theorize that Columbus’ main goal in life was to liberate Jerusalem from Muslim control, and that he decided to take his historic quest to North America in order to find a new homeland for Jews who had been forced out of Spain.

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Brave New World, Brave New Majority Reply

By Alexander Cockburn

The news is in. White births are no longer a majority in the United States. The Bureau of the Census confirms that non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 of all births  in the year ending July,  2011, while minorities including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent.

I felt lonely and went out on the porch and hollered for my neighbor, a white German-American.  Nothing stirred. I went back to my computer. At least someone is thinking constructively. The World Wildlife Fund says we need two planets.  The rationale is that we create too much waste for one, but the roots of American environmentalism were always nourished by dislike of  “those of mixed race”, and some over there at WWF has got their thinking cap on.

Is whitey ready for a fresh start? Face it, we may be a minority, but we got the firepower.

Where did we go wrong? Too much atonal music, maybe. Richard Pryor probably put his finger on it. Pryor to a white audience:

“What the matter, y’all stop fuckin’?  There will be no shortage of niggers.  Niggers is fuckin’.”

I began to sort things out for the big move to Planet 2.  What a mess whitey had made of things! One horrible move after another. What will we Americans handing on to the new majority?  The news is not good.  At almost exactly the moment we yielded majority status, we – not the people to be sure – but our president and our Congress were putting the finishing touches to our modern system of government, known as fascism.

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American Empire and the Future Reply

By Paul Atwood

The Great Recession is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and, like the aftermath of Katrina, or the BP calamity, or the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, is a man-made disaster. Many signs point to worse tidings. Many of us who live in this the most advanced capitalist country are indoctrinated at an early age to believe our system is by far the most efficient and best ever created, especially if we are affluent and live well. We tend to believe it obeyed the laws of evolution toward ever higher form, more or less as we imagine the human species itself. We go to lengths to ignore the fact that our system began as the brainchild of a minority that imposed its will by brute force against others who had good reason to oppose it. It is impossible to separate our republican form of government from our economic system. As former Secretary of State John Hay put matters as far back as the 19th Century: “This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is government of corporations by corporations.”  It has been the case since the American Revolution, and remains the case, that the American government has been owned and operated by the financial and corporate elites and government policies, and most definitely foreign policy, are largely their agendas set out for their interests. Bankers and immense industrial corporations largely run the global show, backed by the Executive, Congress and the Supreme Court, America’s gargantuan military power and the connivance of corporate media.

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The Government Lying to Us — What Else is New? Reply

By Kevin Carson

A Twitter friend of mine recently recounted a conversation with another friend — not a self-described anarchist — who spontaneously concluded that voting was useless. “I think it’s insane to think that people who are in the kind of power that only government and capitalism provide would willingly allow their stability to be up to CHANCE.”

Exactly! You might be forgiven for thinking “the enemy” our ruling circles always talk about is somebody with a strange language and religion on the other side of the world. But in fact “the enemy,” for the ruling class, is anyone capable of disrupting its goals or undermining its power — including us. The American people are potentially a far greater threat to their power than any foreign government.

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John Kass: NATO protest fails to deliver punch Reply

From the Chicago Tribune

The NATO protesters marching in the South Loop on Sunday were mostly peaceful when they were in Grant Park. They’re opposed to violence, opposed to the war in Afghanistan.

The only argument I became involved in was with the slightly militant vegans, like the guy who shouted at me, unprompted, “The human body wasn’t designed to digest meat!”

His colleague, Pamela Stelmasek, said he was just kidding.

“He talks like that,” Stelmasek said. “But he’s OK. You love your dog, but you eat farmed animals? How could you?”

How can I? With lemon and salt. But sometimes with a nice pan sauce.

There were others in the march who wanted trouble and got it, including some of the uniformed anarchists wearing black, although somebody should tell them that the phrase “uniformed anarchists” makes as much sense as “organized chaos” or “Chicago political reform.”

“I’m the one who was in the paper shaking hands with McCarthy,” said one of the anarchists.

He pulled down the scary anarchist bandanna from his face to reveal a kid, in his 20s, and he looked just like the young man on the front page of the Chicago Tribune the other day, shaking hands with the police superintendent.

Protesters and police wouldn’t be shaking hands later. The billy clubs would appear. The pushing would begin.

In Grant Park, before the march, there wasn’t the feel of a protest as much as it felt like a party on a college quad back in the day.

Parents brought their kids. People wore costumes. Some were dressed as dollar signs, others as skeletons and still others as medieval physicians in black robes with those long-nosed masks worn during the Black Death.

I asked the Black Death Physicians: Didn’t I see you at the Renaissance fair?

They pointed ominously at me with long fingers, but one gave me a thumbs-up and I thought I could see her eyes crinkle in a grin.
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Veterans March Against NATO in Chicago; Return Medals Reply

When the system fails it will be civilian insurgents and remnants of the military on one side, and mercenaries and the police state on the other.

Photo by Christopher Nietzscheguevara

Photo by Brett Olaf

What Does Ron Paul Want? Reply

By Justin Raimondo

This is the question puzzling Paul’s friends, as well as his enemies. A recentannouncement by the campaign that the anti-interventionist Congressman andpresidential candidate is not spending money in the remaining primary states provoked a Drudge headline: “Paul Out.” That is the GOP Establishment’s fondest wish, but the reality is that Paul is far from “out”: his campaign is merely recalibrating its tactics, concentrating on getting delegates through the complicated and often arcane process of party caucuses and state conventions. In short, Paul is pursuing the very same strategy he’s been talking about since Day One of his remarkably successful campaign: harnessing the enthusiasm and discipline of his supporters to enter a basically hostile entity – the pro-warpro-Big Government Republican party – and challenging the Powers That Be.

There has been all kinds of loose talk about a “deal” being struck with the Romneyites, an impression pushed by the “mainstream” media and other clueless individuals who know little or nothing of Ron and imagine he’s just another politician. They are wrong. There will be no endorsement of Mitt Romney, and, because of that, no quarter will be given – or is being given – to Paulians intent on embedding themselves within the Grand Old Party.

The “go local” strategy of the Paul camp has recently met with a string of high profile successes: they took over the party in AlaskaNevadaIowaMinnesotaMaine, andColorado, and their delegate count is skyrocketing. Precinct by precinct, county by county, state by state, the Ron Paul Revolution is racking up victories – and the Romneyites are in a panic. Due to that panic, they are employing hard-line tactics, often simply closing down local conventions when it becomes clear the Paulians have a majority. They cut off the microphonescall the cops, and whine that the insurgents are “disrupting” a process the party bosses have controlled for as long as anyone can remember. At one point, attendees at a state Republican convention saw the walls literally closing in on them, as Rachel Maddow reported in a segment on MSNBC.

Using force, fraud, and their friends in the media, the Romneyites are determined to block Paul and his movement from having any visibility at the August national GOP convention, to be held in Tampa, Florida. What they want is a coronation: what they will get is a full-blown insurgency in their midst.

The key tactical question is this: will the Establishment even allow Paul’s name to be placed in nomination? GOP rules requires that, in order to do so, the Paul camp must have a plurality of the delegates in at least five states. Given the series of Paul victories at the local level, one would think this threshold has already been reached – but that’s not at all clear, given two factors. The first is that, in some states where the Paulians took control of the proceedings, many of those delegates legally bound to vote for Romney on the first ballot are actually Paul supporters. If they rebel in Tampa, however, there’s no telling what might happen. There seems to be no rule forbidding them from abstaining on the first ballot, and that, in itself, would be a very visible and powerful protest – precisely the sort of dissent the Romneyites justifiably fear.

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American Terrorist’s Mom Wants Him Back Home Reply

abcnews.go.com
(@brianross) and LEE FERRAN

PHOTO: Omar Hammami

American-born Islamist militant Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, speaks during a news conference held by the militant group al-Shabab at a farm in southern Mogadishu’s Afgoye district in Somalia, May 11, 2011. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP Photo)

An Alabama mother whose son joined an al Qaeda group in Africa said she can’t turn her back on her boy even though he advocates attacking America and hasn’t been in direct contact with her in years.

“If I could touch him for five minutes, I would be thrilled,” Debra Hammami of Daphne, Ala. said of her son Omar who this week published a 127-page account of his road to terrorism from a small town in the American South.

“The silence has been devastating,” she told ABC News. “I don’t agree with the ideology of any of that, but I do love my son and I do have that motherly love.”

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Why America is Doomed to One Disaster After Another 1

By Gabriel Kolko

Both Europe and the United States confront great crises; while they are different in certain regards they have important similarities too.  America’s crisis is both military and economic; they are interrelated because America has a huge deficit, in large part because it has the chimerical ambition to be the world’s dominating military power, which costs it immense sums of money, which its deficit spending largely funds.  At the same time it has lost most of its major conflicts militarily, politically—or both. Europe is at the threshold of crucial economic decisions, and they also have grave political implications, whose effects are likely to last for many years. In essence, in Europe the question is whether or not German power or domination of the continental economy will be revived under the guise of pan-Europeanism.

The United States has been on the wrong track in terms of what it can attain. It still regards itself as having abilities which the events of the past century–wars, political crisis, and the like— have shown are beyond its or any country’s– power to control. America is having a very hard time being a “normal” nation that recognizes the limits and nature of its power.  It is spending immense sums of money to be able to attain goals beyond its capacity.  The German government under Angela Merkel is using pan-European methods to resurrect German power, but in ways that is developing important resistance.  In their own ways both the United States and most of Europe are at important turning points—and they will affect each other.

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European Nationalism: Golden Dawn or Old and Gone? Reply

By Jim Goad

Greece, the cradle of Western Civilization, seems destined to become either the West’s coffin or the site of its rebirth. The nation’s debt crisis, combined with the fact that it’s a primary entry point for illegal immigration into Europe—in 2010, nine of every ten “migrant” outlaws sashayed into the EU zone through Greece—have helped fuel violent street clashes between far-left (i.e., internationalist) and far-right (i.e., nationalist) factions for years.

Last week’s elections were largely a repudiation of the political center, specifically the EU’s financial stranglehold on Greece. Although unashamedly pro-communist parties won a far higher quotient of the votes, most media outrage was predictably focused on the fact that the nationalist party Golden Dawn received 7% of the total. Pundits referred to Golden Dawn’s minor victory as “absurd and repugnant,” “a dark day for Greece,” “a scary development,” “a political horror,” and all the other histrionic scare terms typically spewed by compliant media lapdogs trained to establish an immediate—although immediately fallacious—connection between the merest squib of nationalist sentiment and the Holocaust.

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Red Republicans and Lincoln’s Marxists: Marxism in the Civil War 7

From The Rising Seed

Before reading the book “Red Republican’s and Lincoln’s Marxists” I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Despite my predisposition to be wary of any fiber of genuine Christian morality flowing within the veins of Lincoln not to mention the founders of the GOP, I did not think it likely that any of them would be sympathetic towards the precepts of communism. After all, communism is a monster of the 20th century isn’t it? More…

Team America: World Rapists Reply

From Antiwar.com.

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News from the Empire in South Korea:

A three-judge panel on Wednesday sentenced a U.S. soldier to six years in prison for raping a South Korean teenager in September.

Pvt. Kevin Robinson was found guilty of raping the 17-year-old at her residence in Seoul after a night of drinking. He also was convicted of larceny for stealing the victim’s laptop.

Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon in countries where thousands of U.S. troops have been essentially permanently based. There was another high-profile case of rape last year in which “Pvt. Kevin Lee Flippin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for brutally raping another South Korean teenager.” These two cases prompted widespread protests in South Korea and “led to calls for changes to the U.S.-South Korea Status of Forces Agreement regarding the treatment of U.S. servicemembers suspected of crimes,” since they are often granted immunity.

Japan is another classic case of this. Between 1972 and 2009, there were 5,634 criminal offenses committed by U.S. servicemen in Japan, including 25 murders, 385 burglaries, 25 arsons, 127 rapes, 306 assaults and 2,827 thefts. Japanese citizens have protested against U.S. military presence on their land for decades.

Meanwhile, the locations for essentially permanent U.S. military bases are multiplying in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Gaddafi’s “Crime”? 1

From Indigenous Pride World Wide

“Oil companies are controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them. Now, Libyans must take their place to profit from this money.”—Muammar Gadhafi, 2006.

By Stephen Gowans
May 6, 2012

The Wall Street Journal of 5 May offers evidence, additional to that already accumulated, that last year’s NATO military intervention in Libya was rooted in objections to the Gadhafi government’s economic policies.

According to the newspaper, private oil companies were incensed at the pro-Libyan oil deals the Gadhafi government was negotiating and “hoped regime change in Libya…would bring relief in some of the tough terms they had agreed to in partnership deals” with Libya’s national oil company. [1]

For decades, many European companies had enjoyed deals that granted them half of the high-quality oil produced in Libyan fields. Some major oil companies hoped the country would open further to investment after sanctions from Washington were lifted in 2004 and U.S. giants re-entered the North African nation.

But in the years that followed, the Gadhafi regime renegotiated the companies’ share of oil from each field to as low as 12%, from about 50%.

Just after the fall of the regime, several foreign oil companies expressed hopes of better terms on existing deals or attractive ones for future contracts. Among the incumbents that expressed hopes in Libyan expansion were France’s Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

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Attack the System: Totalitarian Humanism and Strategies for Resistance Reply

April 26, 2012

https://i0.wp.com/reasonradionetwork.com/images/2012/04/no_vote_button.jpg

Listen to the interview

Keith Preston discusses possible strategies for building resistance to the hegemony of the totalitarian Left.

Topics include:

  • The weaknesses of strategies that others have proposed, such as the Majority Strategy and third part efforts;
  • How the shrinking size of working to middle class whites makes the achievement of a demographic majority impossible;
  • Keith’s concepts of “Liberty and Populism” and “Pan-Secessionism” as grand strategies for building a long term effective resistance to the ruling class;

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Beware of System Libertarians Reply

Article by John Glaser.

I knew what Johnson was about years ago when as governor of New Mexico he said he opposed the drug war but refused to grant pardons to drug war prisoners because “they broke the law” or some such nonsense.

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In an interview with the Daily Caller, presumptive Libertarian Party nominee for president Gary Johnson tries heartily to describe his foreign policy…or at least a foreign policy. Plainly put, the man is confused.

He says he supports U.S. military intervention in Uganda to root out the Lords Resistance Army and kill its leader, Joseph Kony. He thinks the drone war in Pakistan and Yemen creates more enemies than it eliminates, but doesn’t want to take drone strikes off the proverbial “table.” He wants to “completely withdraw our military presence” from Afghanistan, but wants to keep our military bases there. In fact, U.S. military bases should be maintained throughout the Middle East, he says, even though America faces “no military threats.” He supports “humanitarian intervention.” He wants to cut military and defense budgets by 43 percent, but only reduce national security spending to 2003 levels, “and just wring out the excess.”

Johnson is putting forth an image of himself of a former New Mexico governor who is outside the political establishment and serious about cutting spending. But evidently, the man hasn’t a clue what he is talking about with regards to foreign policy. His musings about war and intervention are little more than guesswork, wading his way through what he supposes is the libertarian position, while making clear he is no non-interventionist.

There is a strange habit the public and the reporting politicos perform when it comes to presidential candidates. They seem to assume that, since candidate X is running for president, surely he has studied the issues carefully. They don’t question candidates on their knowledge, only their “positions” (assuming they have been formed more than a millisecond before the question was asked). This was evident with Herman Cain’s blank-slate talk of “trusting the generals” and his embarrassing reveries about how to pronounce Uzbekistan. Mitt Romney has similarly shown himself cutely untaught on foreign policy issues by claiming Russia is America’s greatest foe, apparently never before hearing of the MeK, and doing a bit of guesswork of his own on Iran. But it seems Johnson has spent too much time on his 43-percent-spending-reduction talking points and far too little gaining any knowledge or developing any principled position whatsoever on foreign policy.

Responding to the Daily Caller interview, Brian Doherty at Reason’s Hit & Run wrote “he seems to lack either the systematic thinking or moral fervor that makes me trust him to reliably come to truly libertarian conclusions on many issues.” Ah, “systematic thinking” …such a lost art.

United States of Mass Murder: Only Mao Killed More Reply

Why the struggle against the empire must be foremost on the agenda of any anarchist movement worthy of the name.

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After the catastrophic attacks of September 11 2001 monumental sorrow and a feeling of desperate and understandable anger began to permeate the American psyche. A few people at that time attempted to promote a balanced perspective by pointing out that the United States had also been responsible for causing those same feelings in people in other nations, but they produced hardly a ripple. Although Americans understand in the abstract the wisdom of people around the world empathizing with the suffering of one another, such a reminder of wrongs committed by our nation got little hearing and was soon overshadowed by an accelerated “war on terrorism.”

But we must continue our efforts to develop understanding and compassion in the world. Hopefully, this article will assist in doing that by addressing the question “How many September 11ths has the United States caused in other nations since WWII?” This theme is developed in this report which contains an estimated numbers of such deaths in 37 nations as well as brief explanations of why the U.S. is considered culpable.

The causes of wars are complex. In some instances nations other than the U.S. may have been responsible for more deaths, but if the involvement of our nation appeared to have been a necessary cause of a war or conflict it was considered responsible for the deaths in it. In other words they probably would not have taken place if the U.S. had not used the heavy hand of its power. The military and economic power of the United States was crucial.

This study reveals that U.S. military forces were directly responsible for about 10 to 15 million deaths during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the two Iraq Wars. The Korean War also includes Chinese deaths while the Vietnam War also includes fatalities in Cambodia and Laos.

The American public probably is not aware of these numbers and knows even less about the proxy wars for which the United States is also responsible. In the latter wars there were between nine and 14 million deaths in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan.

But the victims are not just from big nations or one part of the world. The remaining deaths were in smaller ones which constitute over half the total number of nations. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. intervention.

The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world.

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Anarchism and Confederate-Flag Culture: One Man’s Journey from Southern Heritage to Libertarian Socialism 11

Interesting.

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If you are someone who displays a Confederate flag out of overt racism, this text is not for you. In fact, we will fight you in the streets.

If, however, you are someone who insists that he is not racist, but you have at some point in your life displayed a Confederate Flag out of a general sense of rebellion against the government, the boss, parents, pompous Yankee liberals, or just against modern society in general, then this text is addressed to you. Especially, if you are a working class southerner who flies the Cross of St. Andrew as an in-your-face act of protest against the mass production of national “culture,” a McDonaldized product that has the effect of smothering and burying authentic local cultures that (some feel) are symbolized by the Confederate flag… especially, then, this brief sketch of one man’s odyssey from the glorification of southern heritage to an appreciation of anarchist ideas and values, may have something to say to you.

As a child I was raised by the school, television, church, and my parents, in roughly that order of importance. All of these authorities told me what it was appropriate for me to think, do and feel at any given moment. I was supposed to love and obey a God who never bothered to show his face to me, and in a similar vein I was supposed to love and obey a familial father who didn’t have time for me, either. Parents and teachers were to be respected, and for children who failed in that endeavor the “policeman would come and get you” (which proved to be all too true.)

But at least I had the television… Mr. TV was my buddy, my fellow sufferer in the face of all this authority. Mr. TV was the coolest kid on the block, the guy who knew his way around the social pit-falls of school, the ultimate arbiter of what was cool and what was, gasp, “lame” (can you imagine a crueler, more horrible expression?)

The problem was, it was all a bunch of lies, and I knew it. (Or at least, once I got old enough to think for myself, I knew it.) The meaning-of-it-all that the church offered meant, in fact, nothing at all. It was illogical, but served the purpose of telling me to be a good servant, because I would get my reward after I was dead from an invisible person in the sky. (I don’t think the unlikelihood of THAT little scenario requires too much commentary.) The school, with its sports programs and detention halls, which claimed to be opening my mind to the mysteries of the universe and the joys of great art, was in fact training to me to become a cog in the great corporate machine. And my parents were too much in the thrall of this corporate religion themselves, to do anything but reinforce it.

Even my best friend, the TV, turned against me. He begin to say that if I was born a white southerner, then I was to blame for all the racial ills of mankind. That’s right, I, little ole southern white boy, had done it all, from the Grecian slave societies of antiquity to the Boston busing riots, from the rape of Nanking to the Holocaust, all the racial ills of mankind could be laid at my doorstep. By this point in time the church (and my parents) had stuffed me so full of irrational guilt that I was inclined to believe it… but somehow, it just didn’t add up.

So I took a big horn from a bottle of (Kentucky) bourbon, hung a Confederate flag in the window, and told the world to kiss my ass. I was through apologizing for being born…

Here is the summary version: the American corporate titans that control the TV, newspapers, and grammar school textbooks have declared all things southern to be racist, and all things racist to be southern, in order to confuse the issue and evade their own responsibilities. They portray slavery as having been a purely southern institution, instead of as a single component of a universally oppressive white/Anglo economic system (that happened to find its worst excesses in the cotton fields of the southern United States in the 1800’s).

By painting slavery and racism as a uniquely southern phenomenon, the CEO’s manage to divert attention from the racist legacy that remains. When they falsely imply that racism is uniquely southern, and then correctly add that the racial situation in the south now mirrors that of the rest of the country, they declare the problem solved. Implicitly this has the effect of encouraging such reactionary nonsense as charges of “reverse discrimination.”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem of white supremacy in America is anything but resolved. In fact, police officers all over America target people of color for searches and beatings, while the nation’s jails, prisons and housing projects are littered with the dark-skinned human refuse of the ultimate soulless commodity system, the great American labor market. In the 1850’s most blacks were subject to whips and chains, but a small portion were relatively “free”. In modern society, most people of color are impoverished or imprisoned, while a similarly small portion are middle-class, or relatively “well-off”. Very little has changed, other than the means of the enslavement.

These facts are what the “racism is a southern thing” myth is intended to obscure. Blacks, Latinos, and to a lesser extent, working-class southern whites are all harmed by this myth. It is time to place the responsibility for American racism and poverty squarely where it belongs, at the doorstep of the business class, and at the foot of the American flag (and all other Anglo-nationalist flags) which provide the business class with aid and comfort.

So, burn your Confederate flag — give it a respectful ceremony if you must, but really, get rid of it — and join the anarchist movement as we set out to combat, defeat and replace the racist, classist, patriarchal society that bores us with political speeches, numbs us with television, scares us with the superstitions of religion, hypnotizes us with the banalities of commercial advertising, and threatens us with the state-religion of patriotism. We are the “rebels” of the modern corporate-techno-nightmare age, and our ultimate goal is to replace the businesses, government and churches with a society of free equals, in which all live at peace with nature and each other.

Join us as we set out to build a new world, a world in which every man, woman and, yes, child is viewed and treated as a valuable part of the great whole of larger humanity, instead of as a competitor for money, sex, and power. Join us as we set out to build a world based on sharing and mutual respect, where local idiosyncrasies (that are supportive of human dignity) are respected, even celebrated. Join us, and be proud of the human being that you are, the community in which you live, and the planet on which you stand.

Down with McDonalds, Wal-Mart, ADM and the rest of the corporations! Up with your neighbors, and yourself!

Prole Cat

September, in the year of our store, 2003

Noam Chomsky on the "New Atheism" 69

Noam takes on the atheist fundamentalists.

As an atheist myself, I’ve found these “new atheist” writers to be an embarrassment. First, none of the prominent ones are genuine religious scholars, historians of religion, or cultural anthropologists who can, for instance, examine  the cultural, historical, literary, or linguistic contexts in which the varying parts of the Bible were written to provide an explanation of why fundamentalist biblical literalists are, well, mistaken and ignorant. There are plenty of genuine scholars of religion whose work examines religious beliefs and sacred texts within their proper framework, such as Robert Price, John Loftus, Daniel Barker, Hector Avalos, Bart Ehrman, and D.M. Murdoch. These are the skeptics who are worth paying attention to.

Second, they typically conflate atheism with stereotypical liberal or radical left-wing politics when there’s no inherent relationship whatsoever. See Machiavelli, Hobbes, Hume, Nietzsche, and Mencken.

Third, like the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair, they come across as narrow-minded and ill-informed bigots whose only purpose is to antagonize religious people.

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I haven’t been thrilled by the atheist movement.  First, who is the audience?  Is it religious extremists?  Say right-wing evangelical Christians like George Bush (as you rightly point out)?  Or is it very prominent Rabbis in Israel who call for visiting the judgment of Amalek on all Palestinians (total destruction, down to their animals)?  Or is it the radical Islamic fundamentalists who have been Washington’s most valued allies in the Middle East for 75 years (note that Bush’s current trip to the Middle East celebrates two events: the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, and the 75th anniversary of establishment of US-Saudi relations, each of which merits more comment)?  If those are the intended audiences, the effort is plainly a waste of time.  Is the audience atheists?  Again a waste of time.  Is it the grieving mother who consoles herself by thinking that she will see her dying child again in heaven?  If so, only the most morally depraved will deliver solemn lectures to her about the falsity of her beliefs.  Is it those who have religious affiliations and beliefs, but don’t have to be reminded of what they knew as teenagers about the genocidal character of the Bible, the fact that biblical accounts are not literal truths, or that religion has often been the banner under which hideous crimes were carried out (the Crusades, for example)?  Plainly not.  The message is old hat, and irrelevant, at least for those whose religious affiliations are a way of finding some sort of community and mutual support in an atomized society lacking social bonds.  Who, in fact, is the audience?
Furthermore, if it is to be even minimally serious, the “new atheism” should focus its concerns on the virulent secular religions of state worship, so well exemplified by those who laud huge atrocities like the invasion of Iraq, or cannot comprehend why they might have some concern when their own state, with their support, carries out some of its minor peccadilloes, like killing probably tens of thousands of poor Africans by destroying their main source of pharmaceutical supplies on a whim — arguably more morally depraved than intentional killing, for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere.  In brief, to be minimally serious the “new atheism” should begin by looking in the mirror.

Without going on, I haven’t found it thrilling, though condemnation of dangerous beliefs and great crimes is always in order.

NC