Mikhail Svetov, a founding member of the Libertarian Party of Russia, speaks about being in opposition to Vladimir Putin.
I disagree with certain things that are said in this, but it’s a very interesting discussion.
Preston Martin interviews Matthew VanDyke and Mikhail Svetov about foreign policy.
A new book by a scholar of the American right-wing examines the Alt-Right. This is the best and most comprehensive work on the Alt-Right that has been published to date. Available from Amazon. A number of reviews are currently available from mainstream as well as libertarian, far right and far left sources. See here, here, here, here,here, here, here, and here. I recently discussed the Alt-Right myself at a talk given to the H.L. Mencken Club a couple of months ago.
I generally think the future of the United States will be somewhere in between the super optimistic predictions of Joel Kotkin and the super pessimistic predictions of Ellison Lodge in his review of Kotkin. The United States will continue to recede as a global hegemon (a good thing), but will continue to be an economically and technologically highly advanced state. The general society will become increasingly more integrated along racial, ethic, cultural, religious, gender and sexual lines at every level, from top to bottom. However, class divisions will continue to widen and increasingly resemble those found in Latin America. A super diverse society with huge disparities of wealth will certainly generate plenty of social and political conflict. The role of the state will be to manage such conflict by playing off different groups against each other, buying the loyalty of some groups, suppressing others, negotiating settlements between others, and forcing settlements in some instances. Many paleoconservative types have long predicted that the USA will look increasingly like Brazil in the future, and I suspect they are correct in the sense that the USA will be a major economic power that is highly diverse culturally, but with a very high level of class stratification and social conflict.
A great interview of Gary Chartier by Tom Woods. Listen here.
I can’t recommend Gary’s book more highly. It’s available at Amazon. These classical liberal class theorists along with the early anarchists and “libertarian socialists” are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how modern state-capitalism developed as a class system. I generally refuse to participate in mainstream economic debates because they’re usually rooted is assumptions that are based on a false dichotomy, i.e. the “conservative” and “libertarian” view that “big business” is somehow being oppressed by the state, or the “liberal” view that the state somehow acts as a restraining hand on big capital. Doing away with this false dichotomy is the first step in establishing a genuine critique of how the economic aspects of “the system” actually work.
With the idea of class so central to Marxian theory, libertarians might be tempted to ignore class as a category. But there is in fact such a thing as libertarian class theory, because in libertarian theory there are distinct groups of exploiters and exploited. Gary Chartier joins me to discuss the history and development of libertarian class theory.
About the Guest
Gary Chartier is Associate Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law and Business Ethics at the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University, and holds his PhD and LLD from the University of Cambridge.
In the long arc of history, while regimes come and go, civilizations endure. Bet on the former against the latter, and you’re taking one helluva gamble. The House of Saud is a regime, a dynastic enterprise masquerading as a nation-state. Iran, by contrast, is the modern incarnation of an ancient civilization. The antagonism between the two is deep-seated, genuine, and destined to persist.
How the United States found itself aligned with the former against the latter is a story fraught with miscalculation, folly, and hubris. Taken as a whole, it’s our version of Lawrence of Arabia, albeit without a charismatic protagonist on which to hang the tale. Our own equivalent of T. E. Lawrence would be an in-over-his-head mischief-maker like Graham Greene’s fictional Alden Pyle, albeit relocated from Indochina to the Persian Gulf. Imagine a composite figure combining the signature traits of Kermit Roosevelt, Oliver North, and Max Boot, and you have the makings of an epic of sorts, even if shorn of the wide-angle grandeur that was a hallmark of David Lean’s film.
Saudi Arabia qualifies as an American friend and ally in precisely the same sense as does the state of Israel. In both countries, cold calculation rather than warm regard governs attitudes toward the United States. Each faces a list of national security challenges longer than it can comfortably handle on its own. Over several decades, in hopes of mitigating those challenges, each has worked assiduously to cultivate a close relationship with Washington.
“Neocon think tanks” are merely organizations that develop the “policy” programs that serve the interests of the state.
By Jon Wight
Ron Paul Institute for Prosperity
The latest salvo in the ongoing attempt to de-legitimize and demonize Russia-based media has arrived with a directive from the US Justice Department that Sputnik News in the US must register as a foreign agent.
In this regard Sputnik now joins RT America (previously directed to register as a foreign agent) in being stigmatized as peddling propaganda instead of news and news analysis, its journalists and contributors smeared by association, in the context of a wider neo-McCarthyite offensive unleashed with the aim of pushing back against opposition to neoconservative nostrums and influence on Western foreign policy, along with its neoliberal economic counterpart.
Efforts by the Empire to turn Iran into a wrecked nation like Iraq, Libya, and Syria have thus far failed.
By Eric Margolis
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Listen to the state-“guided” US media this past week and you’d believe a series of spontaneous anti-government protests broke out across Iran. The protests, according to President Donald Trump and his Israeli allies, were caused by “anger over Iran’s spending billions on wars in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and helping the Palestinian movement Hamas.” Trump tweeted that Iranians were finally rising up against what he called their hated, brutal regime.
Talk about manufactured news. Most Iranians were elated and proud of their nation’s role in thwarting US plans to occupy much of Syria and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad. By contrast, the other side in this long proxy war – the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain – was smarting with defeat and seeking ways to exact revenge on the hateful trio, Syria, Iran and Russia.
The great thing about the Obama and Trump administrations is that they have proven that supposed “maverick” heads of state are no different than ordinary dynastic centrist politicians like the Bushes and the Clintons. US foreign policy and economic policy reflects the general consensus of the dominant factions of the state, ruling class, and power elite. Period. The function of the President is to serve as a celebrity-administrator whose purpose is to implement predetermined policies that have been devised by think tanks maintained by various ruling class interests. Period.
By Caitlin Johnstone
Ron Paul Institute of Peace and Prosperity
Not a lot of people remember this, but George W Bush actually campaigned in 2000 against the interventionist foreign policy that the United States had been increasingly espousing.
Like the Obama regime, the Trump regime is turning out to be a bunch of neocons after all. There is nothing that the Rome on the Potomac hates more than independent nations who defy the Empire. The US Empire would rather liquidate Syria into a failed state like Libya dominated by fourth generation Salafist jihadi forces that tolerate the existence of a functional society that refuses to be incorporated into the Empire.
Confirming that the US military presence inside Syria had little to do with fighting ISIS, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled in detail today the real US strategy for Syria: overthrow of the Assad government.
In a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and introduced by President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary Tillerson vowed that the United States military would continue to occupy Syrian territory until three conditions are met:
Like Sean, I have some level of respect for Peter Tatchell. However, these troubling statements of his indicate what I have always said, i.e. that any ideological system, no matter how much it may seem to represent “good causes,” can be twisted towards state-centric and authoritarian ends. Additionally, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that when former outgroups become powerful they tend to replicate many of the same authoritarian power systems that they previously opposed. Instead of having school kids salute the flag and read the Bible every morning, Peter Tatchell instead wants kids to pledge allegiance to the new state legitimating ideology of democratic, egalitarian, multicultural diversity.
What is most regrettable is that so many anarchists and libertarians (the majority of whom are cultural leftists) cannot see this for what it is. This is the same problem that early anarchists warned about with regard to Marxism and state-socialism, and the same problem that has generally plagued modern revolutionary movements since at least the time of Jacobin France, i.e. “Meet the new boss. He’s the same as the old boss.” Plenty of people who really ought to know better simply regard anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, anti-xenophobia, etc. as such good causes that they cannot see this rising new form of authoritarianism for what it is.
What kind of opposition do anarchists and libertarians think they will be able to offer against the system in a few decades, perhaps sooner, when the old, rural, white people who comprise the Republicans’ constituency die off, and “conservatism” begins to look a lot like today’s Clinton Democrats and “liberalism” begins to look like today’s university administrations? Regrettably, the Left seems to be in a permanent war with the Western culture of the 1950s, a culture that is long since dead. Any serious critique of statism, capitalism, or imperialism in 21st century Western societies must necessarily include a critique of the emerging ideological paradigm of the ruling class, i.e. what I call totalitarian humanism as espoused by what Joel Kotkin calls the New Clerisy.
By Sean Gabb
Ludwig von Mises Centre
I have some respect for Peter Tatchell. He campaigned against the anti-homosexual laws before this was a safe thing to do. He has shown courage on other issues. This being said, I am troubled by his latest set of recommendations. Writing on the 8th January 2018 for The Friends of Europe blog, he declares that “equal rights are not enough.” It is not enough for people to be treated equally before the law. It is also necessary for children to be brainwashed into agreeing with him. He says:
To combat intolerance and bullying, education against all prejudice – including racism, misogyny, disablism, xenophobia, ageism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – should be a stand-alone compulsory subject in every school. Equality and diversity lessons should start from the first year of primary level onwards, with no opt-outs for private or faith schools and no right for parents to withdraw their children.
…. These lessons should be subject to annual examination, ensuring that both pupils and teachers take these lessons seriously; otherwise they won’t. A pupil’s equality grades should be recorded and declared when applying for higher education and jobs, as it is in the interests of everyone to have universities and workplaces without prejudice.
To see what Peter means, let us take a number of issues:
- Whether the various races are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;
- Whether the sexes are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;
- Whether sex outside an exclusive relationship with a person of the opposite sex is right or advisable;
- Whether changing sex, with present levels of technology, is advisable;
- Whether mass-immigration is good for a host community.
I could mention other issues, but these will do. No side in any of them is self-evidently true. The truth of each side must therefore be a matter of argument. In all cases, argument either way rests on assumptions that are themselves matters of argument. For the authorities to classify one side in any of these issues as “hate” is as much an abuse of power as criminalising particular views about the Nature of Christ or the sources of religious knowledge. Let attacks on life and property be punished according to law. But let any opinion stand or fall by the appropriate evidence.
Duncan Whitmore argues that US imperialism in the Middle East is about maintaining the hegemony of the petrodollar, countering the influence of Russia and China, and advancing the interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia. To all of that I would add maintaining hegemony over the oil trade by US and Western oil corporations, advancing the interests of politically-connected individual oil companies, justifying expenditures on the military-industrial complex, gaining control over supplies of natural gas, maintaining the dominance of US-backed international financial institutions, maintaining US world hegemony on a general level, along with the individual motivations of policy-makers, and a range of ideological influences such as neoconservatism, liberal internationalism, American exceptionalism, Christian Zionism, and democratic peace theory.
By Duncan Whitmore
Ludwig von Mises Centre
“America is addicted to oil”
So said President George W Bush, echoing a contemporary cover of The Economist, in his State of the Union Address on January 31st 2006.
Although President Bush’s speech was a lament for the fact that the United States is the world’s biggest consumer of oil (reaching 19.4 million barrels per day by 2015), this candid admission by the architect of American interventionism lent support to the notion that his country’s forays into the Middle East have been either wholly or mostly motivated by the desire to have a greater, physical control over oil. In this essay we will, however, conclude that this theory is, at best, incomplete, and, at worst, false and misleading, and that America’s interventionist efforts can be best understood through the explanation of three distinct, yet connected objectives:
- To maintain the petrodollar system and the global reserve status of the US dollar;
- To appease and promote the interests of the US’s biggest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia;
- To serve as proxy wars against Russia and China and to contain and minimise Sino-Russian influence in the region.
All of these objectives are subsumed by the greater, overarching aim of preventing the outbreak of a multi-polar world and maintaining a US hegemonic international order. As we shall see, any part that the physical control of oil has to play in this picture owes itself to aiding the achievement of this final objective and has little to do to with America’s appetite for gas guzzling.
The first issue to address, then, is why oil is not a satisfactory explanation for US interventions in the Middle East – or, at least, why is control of oil not the final objective?
The Never Trumpers need not have worried. As I have always said, the US President is merely a celebrity-administrator whose only genuine function is to preside over the implementation of policies that reflect the general consensus of the dominant factions of the elite. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO THE PRESIDENT IS. Trump governs as a moderate Republican, not as any kind of right-wing revolutionary, much less as “fascist.” President Hillary Clinton would have pursued similar policies as would President Oprah Winfrey, President Mark Zuckerberg, or President Kim Kardashian. Any US President that seriously tried to defy ruling class consensus or undermine ruling class interests would be removed from office, possibly imprisoned, potentially murdered. Participation in presidential politics is an absolute waste of time (except for purposes of mockery and propaganda, hence the value of campaigns such as those of Adam Kokesh and Cherie DeVille).
Ludwig von Mises Centre
It’s fact: Neoconservatives are pleased with President Trump’s foreign policy.
A couple of months back, Bloomberg’s Eli Lake let it know he was in neoconservative nirvana:
“… for Venezuela, [Donald Trump] came very close to calling for regime change. ‘The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable,’ Trump said. ‘We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.’”
“For a moment,” swooned Lake, “I closed my eyes and thought I was listening to a Weekly Standard editorial meeting.”
Onward to Venezuela!
Mr. Lake, a neoconservative, was loving every moment. In error, he and his kind confuse an expansionist foreign policy with “American exceptionalism.”
As it happens, neocons are in luck. Most Americans know little of the ideas that animated their country’s founding. They’re more likely to hold ideas in opposition to the classical-liberal philosophy of the Founders, and, hence, wish to see the aggrandizement of the coercive, colossal, Warfare State.
That’s just the way things are.
So, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have enlisted the West in “a proxy Sunni-Shia religious war,” Riyadh’s ultimate aim. Donald Trump has been perfectly willing to partake.
After a campaign of “America First,” the president sided with Sunni Islam while demonizing Iran. Iranians have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks in the US between 1975-2015; Saudi Arabians murdered 2369!
Iranians recently reelected a reformer. Pray tell who elected the Gulf petrostate sheiks?
Moderates danced in the streets of Tehran when President Hassan Rouhani was reelected. Curiously, they’re currently rioting.
If past is prologue, Ron Paul is probably right when he says the CIA is likely meddling in Iranian politics. For the Left and the pseudo-Right, this is a look-away issue. As the left-liberal establishment lectures daily, to question the Central Intelligence Agency—its spooks are also agitating against all vestiges of President Trump’s original “America First” plank—is to “undermine American democracy.”
Besides, “good” Americans know that only the Russians “meddle.”
This is great news in that it really does place the general public at odds with the ruling class. One of the most important and successful political movements in US history was the anti-Vietnam War/anti-draft movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The long range effect of the movement was to delegitimize both imperialist war and the draft to the degree that there is no real popular support for either. The draft is not politically viable, and the state has been forced to fight imperialist war with professional soldiers, proxy forces, mercenaries, and technology. The US public will not accept war if it requires any sacrifices on their side such as high casualties, conscription, war taxes, rationing, etc. Even after the Pearl Harbor-level massacre on September 11, 2001 war fever soon died as casualties on the US side reached the low thousands.
Additionally, the imperialist forces now have what amounts to an 0-6 record over the past 50 years in terms of losses in fourth generation warfare (Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria). The US has now largely retreated from Latin America with democratization, liberalization and economic development now emerging in Latin America now that the US is no longer propping up right-wing military dictatorships. Hopefully, the same process will begin in the Middle East eventually, particularly with the rise of regional counterpower in the form of Russia, China, and the Shia block. The Russians saved Syria from ISIS, and the Chinese have helped to develop Africa economically to the point where the average income in some African regions has increased nearly 20 times in the past 20 years. Hopefully, a similar developmental process will emerge in the Middle East as well.
By James Carden
Last week, the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy—a bipartisan advocacy group calling for congressional oversight of America’s lengthy list of military interventions abroad—released the results of a survey that show broad public support for Congress to reclaim its constitutional prerogatives in the exercise of foreign policy (see Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution) and for fewer US military interventions generally. Undertaken last November by J. Wallin Opinion Research, the new survey revealed “a national voter population that is largely skeptical of the practicality or benefits of military intervention overseas, including both the physical involvement of the US military and also extending to military aid in the form of funds or equipment as well.”
Bill Dolbow, the spokesman for the Committee for a Responsible Foreign Policy, said, “We started this initiative to give a voice to the people and the people have spoken—Congress needs to enact more oversight before intervening in conflict abroad.”
The headline findings show, among other things, that 86.4 percent of those surveyed feel the American military should be used only as a last resort, while 57 percent feel that US military aid to foreign countries is counterproductive. The latter sentiment “increases significantly” when involving countries like Saudi Arabia, with 63.9 percent saying military aid—including money and weapons—should not be provided to such countries.
By Chris Weller
Gurgaon, India is a city where normal functions of a local government do not apply — because there is hardly any government at all.
Instead, private corporations dominate the city, offering sewage removal systems, firefighting services, health care, and education.
“The interesting thing about Gurgaon is that because there was a market for it, anywhere the government was lacking, the private sector came in and they provided the service,” says Shruti Rajagopalan, an assistant professor in economics at Purchase College, State University of New York
As locals have discovered, however, that doesn’t always mean Gurgaon is paradise.
Gurgaon had a population of approximately 173,000 in 2001. Today, it’s nearing 1 million, with residents living in garbage-strewn shanties and luxury high-rises.
By William S. Lind
One of the iron laws of warfare is that a higher level dominates a lower. You can be brilliant tactically, but if you are defeated operationally, you lose. You can win tactically and operationally, but if you get beaten strategically, you lose. And if you get your grand strategy wrong, you lose no matter how well you did at the lower three levels. The German Army was the best in the world for almost eighty years, but Germany lost both World Wars because its grand strategy was terrible.
Having failed to copy tactical and operational excellence, we now appear instead to be imitating Berlin when it comes to grand strategy. The new national security strategy published by the White House on December 18 is a disaster. The strategy it recommends was obsolete before the ink was dry.
I know what the State is because it’s used it’s force and institutions against me, not in metaphor or abstraction but in boots and fists, doctors and hospitals, surveillance and undercover, courts and conspiracy — while other anarchists instead gave into the trendy pressure of Likes accumulation and social bullshitting; I learned only later that all my “comrades” from the trendy anarchist movement were more in love with the idea of themselves being involved in a trendy anarchist movement than an actual squabble with the State. That being said, we ought to be skeptical of any person or group of persons blogging about “revolution” or “manliness” from artsy online magazines with properly aligned borders and a fancy feature section.
Knew some of you would appreciate this. Enjoy.
Editor’s note: I couldn’t find a non downloadable link to the Walter Kaufmann translation of Nietzsche’s “Why I Am So Wise” anywhere online, which is weird given that Nietzsche’s most well known quote belongs to this text. To my knowledge, this is the only digital reprint available online. I had to type it out myself, word for word. Enjoy.
By Derrick Broze
The Activist Post
What will it take for Trump supporters to admit they were duped like Obama supporters before them?
One of the most surprising (and disappointing) effects of the Trump presidency has been the shift of certain “independent” and ” alternative” media outlets from truth seekers to establishment supporters.
We have seen several once great outlets become part of the divide and conquer put forth by the powers-that-wish-they-were. It’s been one year of the Trump administration and I think it’s quite clear that any perceived benefits are vastly outweighed by the negative actions of the administration. Some indy and alt outlets saw that Trump was a deceiver from the get go, but others somehow fell prey to the deception. Some have since abandoned the Trump train, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and rejoined the fight for liberty.
Now, of course, there are the diehards who will inevitably stick with Trump through his entire presidential career no matter what policy he takes, even when in contradiction with not only his own words, but with the principles previously espoused by these die hard followers. Just as with Obama (and Bush, Clinton, etc. before him) some of the supporters have such a level of cognitive dissonance that they are literally incapable of having a rational discussion without a flood of emotion and panic which shuts down all reason and critical thinking. It’s best to walk away when you recognize this stage.
However, if you are a Trump supporter and you’re still reading this, I’d like to offer four pieces of evidence showing where Trump has displayed authoritarian behavior. Let me preface this by stating that attempts at defending Trump by claiming “he is only carrying on what Obama did”, or, “it’s not his fault”, etc. will be dismissed outright. However, if you have something substantial – a legitimate reason you can put forth for supporting him – I will consider it. I won’t support him by any means (he needs some serious help), but perhaps I’ll have a more full understanding of my fellow human. So here you go…
The Border is turning into a Surveillance and Police State
Under the guise of “border security” and “fighting illegal immigration” the Trump administration has granted the Customs and Border Patrol and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement wide ranging powers which violate constitutionally guaranteed protections (and rights that all people should have). The expansion is not about catching illegal immigrants, but establishing a “biometric wall” with facial and retinal scanning for ALL people leaving and entering, armed surveillance towers, automatic license plate readers, and other forms of surveillance.
Press TV. Listen here.
US President Donald Trump’s administration represents a tradition of “xenophobic isolationism” which is different from conventional GOP foreign policy, and may curb US imperialism, says a political analyst from Virginia.
“We have this isolationist tradition that is very xenophobic in the sense that we tend to view the rest of the world as somehow inferior or somehow contaminated and this idea that Americans are somehow superior, culturally or politically or economically, or whatever, that is a very deep seated tendency in American culture, at least amongst certain sectors. And Donald Trump’s administration in some ways reflects that point of view,” Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com told Press TV on Friday.
Preston pointed that such a xenophobic view could ironically undermine American imperial power and hegemony in the world as it contradicts the expansionist policies of former presidents George Bush and Barack Obama.
According to a new report by the world’s largest political risk consultancy group, Eurasia, Donald Trump’s America First policy will decrease Washington’s influence on the world stage in 2018.
“The decline of US influence in the world will accelerate in 2018,” reads the study released Tuesday by the Eurasia Group,
The report said Trump’s unilateral approach to foreign policy is in stark contrast to the policies of former US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Preston stated the Eurasia consultancy group which authored the recent report is influenced by expansionist neo-cons who are displeased with any sort of policy, including Trump-style isolationism based on xenophobic American nationalism that would undermine US hegemony.
The chief editor of Attack the System argued that both the Bush and Obama administrations had their wars and expansionist policies but “the Trump administration is actually trying to pull back from this not so much because they are opposed to American imperialism as much as they are xenophobic and perhaps this has the unintended consequence, in the sense that it undermines this kind of imperial expansionism and it does create open spaces for a more multi-polar world to develop… .”
A former military officer weighs in.
By Zack Sorenson
Arguing that libertarian society can offer defense “services”, Bob Murphy relies on the idea of insurance paying the costs of defense.
Arguing that a monopoly state should offer these services, Todd Lewis points out numerous historical examples in which government organized national defense is seemingly necessary.
I dislike this kind of discussion in general. My feeling is that there shouldn’t be such a thing as any kind of organized, politically driven, violence. The idea of private armies is as horrifying as the idea of a giant state army. However, this issue is obviously relevant, and worth addressing. I’m just going to address different issues in no particular order.
First, Todd Lewis mentions the Sengoku Jidai (“feudal” Japan), and also the Roman civil war between Marius and Sulla. He argues that these are examples of “private” defense, where mercenaries for hire end up fighting brutal wars that devastated each country. I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about.