“Without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement.”—Lenin
…by Moti Nissani, Ph.D. Prof. Emeritus, Wayne State University
Summary: For many years, the liberty movement’s aspirations and actions have been focused on the presidential candidacy of Congressman Ron Paul.
In Early June, this strategy backfired, following Rand Paul’s (Ron’s son) endorsement of Mitt Romney, a most dedicated servant of the Banking-Militarist Complex.
This essay argues that revolutionaries can draw two valuable lessons from Rand Paul’s about-face.
First, they must realize once and for all that electoral politics in the USA cannot possibly bring meaningful change, and hence, that more radical strategies are required.
Second, to survive, to retain its relevance, to deserve the gratitude of future generations, the liberty, environmental, social justice, and peace movements must merge into a single revolutionary movement.
Background: The Rand Paul Fiasco
This essay highlights the Rand Paul fiasco merely because of its recency and typicality. The exact same points could be made with thousands other historical occurrences.
In 2010, Rand Paul was elected to the U.S. Senate in part because he is the son of Ron Paul, a congressman well-known for his principled and uncompromising allegiance to constitutional principles.
As well, to gain the support of Republican power-brokers, Rand was willing to give them the assurances they required—an act that by itself should have raised red flags in the liberty movement.
Is Mitt Romney leading the Republican ticket to disaster? If so, who will accept the blame?
In early June of 2012, when it appeared that his father was not going to win the Republican nomination for president, Rand Paul endorsed the allegedly winning candidate, Willard “Mitt” Romney.
Now, in American politics, a president is nothing more than the puppet of the tycoons who propped him. All mainstream candidates, apparently, are groomed, screened, and nurtured by the Banking-Militarist Complex.
At the very least, the Complex will be just as comfortable with Romney as it has been with Reagan I, Bush II, Clinton I, Bush III, and Obama I.
If anything, Romney could inflict even greater damage on what’s left of our personal freedoms. With even greater subservience, he will do the biddings of our masters of war and will accelerate the trends of planetary destruction and growing poverty.
He will be, in other words, a valuable toady of the reckless psychopaths now in control of our planet. In particular, he cares nothing for the Constitution or Bill of Rights, and made it clear that he will continue the ongoing dismantling of both.
Can Ron Paul really be happy with Rand?
Rand Paul, then, is a willing accessory of a criminal, and can be written off by any decent and informed person as a traitor to the supposed ideals of his father.
But what about Ron Paul himself? Can he emerge unscathed from his son’s double-dealings? So far we encounter troubling ambivalence.
To begin with, it is unlikely that Rand endorsed Romney without Ron’s approval. Second, Ron Paul’s own website defends Rand’s Romney endorsement.
More recently, however, Ron Paul said “there is no way I’d endorse Romney.”
I shall now argue that it might have been a mistake, all along, to anchor our hopes on the presidential race and aspirations of Ron Paul—or anyone else’s.
No Change Can be Expected from American Elections
The Rand Paul fiasco merely reinforces the view that nothing can be expected from electoral politics in America (and in most other countries of the world). If change ever comes to our shores, it cannot possibly be brought about by politics as usual.
Many of my acquaintances, and many writers in the alternative media, put their faith in electoral politics. They feel, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that it makes a difference whether a Republican or a Democrat is elected, that it makes sense to sue the government for one or another gross violation of the public interest or common decency.
They fail to notice that most of our presidents, governors, and mayors, most of our “elected” representatives at the local, state, and federal levels, most of our judges—are puppets of the Banking-Militarist Complex.
Others, a bit more sophisticated but still profoundly misinformed about the nature of American politics, reject the corrupt two-headed party system out of hand, yet put their trust in the electoral process itself and in the ability of friends of the American people (as opposed to the traitors, swindlers, sycophants, and psychopaths who now infest most public offices of this land) to gain political or judicial office and bring about meaningful change.
That trust is touching, but it fails to acknowledge incontestable political realities. To campaign for a Ron Paul, or a Dennis Kucinich, or a Jesse Ventura, or a Eugene Debs, or Jesus Christ himself, in this system is utterly futile. A few crystalline raindrops cannot disinfect a cesspool.
The reasons for this futility, the reasons it is misguided in principle to take part in electoral politics in the USA (Gerald Celente goes even farther, suggesting that such participation is immoral) are complex.
For the moment, I can only offer a summary statement and some supporting documentation for the seven interacting factors (there could be more, but at this writing I can only think of seven) that render electoral politics in America a sad joke (for a more detailed review of the first three factors, please consult this site).
Almost all conventional sources of information—schools, universities, books, movies, newspapers, TV, radio—are under the thumb of the Banking-Militarist Complex. Most of us, therefore, end up voting against our own convictions and interests. For example, in 1919 Upton Sinclair (The Brass Check, p. 9) already sizzled:
The social body to which we belong is at this moment passing through one of the greatest crises of its history . . . What if the nerves upon which we depend for knowledge of this social body should give us false reports of its condition?
Many people put their trust in experts, not realizing the centuries-long dependence of academics and intellectuals on the Banking-Militarist Complex. Arthur Schopenhauer:
Party interests are vehemently agitating the pens of so many pure lovers of wisdom. . . . Truth is certainly the last thing they have in mind. . . . Philosophy is misused, from the side of the state as a tool, from the other side as a means of gain. . . . Who can really believe that truth also will thereby come to light, just as a by-product? . . . Governments make of philosophy a means of serving their state interests, and scholars make of it a trade –
This is even truer today, and especially so when it comes to disciplines that directly affect the Banking-Militarist Complex. As just one example, an article in the left-of-center mainstream press explains “how the federal reserve bought the economics profession:”
The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni, and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession. . . . This dominance helps explain how, even after the Fed failed to foresee the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, the central bank has largely escaped criticism from academic economists.”
Recommended Starting References:
1. Sinclair, U. 1919. The Brass Check.
2. Bagdikian, B. H. 1987. The Media Monopoly.
3. Huxley, Aldous, 1958. Brave New World Revisited.
4. Carlin, George. Who Really Runs America?
5. Loewen, James, 1995. Lies my Teacher Told me.
6. Media Coverage of the Greenhouse Effect. Population and Environment: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 21: 27-43.
2. Sunshine Bribery
In the USA, bribery is institutionalized. In fact, if one looks only at the sheer quantity of wealth being stolen from the people, one can perhaps surmise that the USA is the most corrupt country that has ever existed.
Bribery is implemented principally through campaign financing, then complemented by such things as lucrative speaking and publishing arrangements after leaving office and by invitations to serve on the boards of the corporations that benefited from the ex-politician’s or ex-judge’s duplicity.
As a result, politicians and judges gain adoration and millions, while a handful of banking families and their thousands of corporations gain extraordinary power and trillions.
Over the years we have gotten used to occasional outbursts on this issue (please consult this source for countless quotations). For instance, in 1987, Robert Byrd, then Senate majority leader, appealed to his colleagues:
“It is my strong belief that the great majority of senators–of both parties–know that the current system of campaign financing is damaging the Senate, hurts their ability to be the best senator for this nation and for citizens of their respective States that they could be, strains their family life by consuming even more time than their official responsibilities demand, and destroys the democracy we all cherish by eroding public confidence in its integrity. If we do not face a problem of this magnitude and fix it, we have no one but ourselves to blame for the tragic results.”
Political scientists Adamany and Agree share that view:
“[The] political finance system . . . undermines the ideals and hampers the performance of American democracy . . . . Officials . . . are . . . captives of the present system. Their integrity and judgment are menaced—and too often compromised—by the need to raise money and the means now available for doing it . . . . The pattern of giving distorts American elections: candidates win access to the electorate only if they can mobilize money from the upper classes, established interest groups, big givers, or ideological zealots. Other alternatives have difficulty getting heard. And the voters’ choice is thereby limited. The pattern of giving also threatens the governmental process: the contributions of big givers and interest groups award them access to officeholders, so they can better plead their causes . . . . The private financing system . . . distort[s] both elections and decision making. The equality of citizens on election day is diluted by their inequality in campaign financing. The electorate shares its control of officials with the financial constituency.”
Recommended Starting Reference: Brass-tacks Ecology.
3. Human Nature
We are not only indoctrinable, but seem to enjoy being brainwashed (how many of us abstain from commercials?). We are not as open-minded as we need to be, nor do we readily surrender convictions in the face of overwhelming evidence against them. More often than not, we prefer obedience and conformity to individualism and critical thinking.
Most of us lack the self-confidence, and perhaps the inborn taste, to detect quality on our own—in food, architecture, music, drama, paintings, literature, or politics. The vast majority of the still-reading public (which is itself a small minority) depends on the Banking-Militarist Complex for their choice of books, instead of trusting their own tastes and proclivities.
Many of us have accepted the bankers’ absurd self-serving notion that crass materialism, endless accumulation of money and power, consumerism, and selfishness hold the keys to personal happiness.
Moreover, these failings are nowadays magnified by the very diminution—probably deliberate—of our very humanity. Our bodies nowadays are loaded with synthetic chemicals and radioactive materials. Our brains are loaded with heavy metals (e.g., mercury, lead) and thousands of commercials, infomercials, trivialities, and lies. It is no accident that the Banking-Militarist Complex facilitates prescription and illegal drug use in the USA, for such use clearly serves the interests of this Complex.
The Complex discourages us from ever getting even close to dissident literature, classical music, folk music, critical thinking, compassion, and non-conformity. By getting us addicted to TV and artless movies, through their control of the educational system, and by doing everything they can to suppress the love of reading, they even managed to diminish our vocabulary—and thus our capacity to detect nuances of speech and thought.
Consider Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. According to Wikipedia, “in relation to the population of the Colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book in American history.” Could 1% of today’s Americans understand and be moved by such a pamphlet? In just 236 years, then, there has been a remarkable decline in the intellectual and spiritual caliber of the American people.
In short, we are not as rational, altruistic, and compassionate as we should be. On top of that, the Complex has deliberately diminished our positive qualities and amplified our failings, thus putting another nail in the coffin of our electoral process.
Recommended Starting References: Human Failings:
1. Milgram, Stanley, Obedience to Authority.
2. Conceptual Conservatism:
An Understated Variable in Human Affairs? Social Science Journal, vol. 31, pp. 307-318. Human Strengths (under natural conditions, human beings prefer cooperation, freedom, and rough equality of material possessions):
1. Stefansson, Vilhjalmur. Lessons In Living From The Stone Age. In A Treasury of Science, 1943, p. 502.
2. Mann, Charles C. 2005. The Founding Sachems. Online: http://www.is.wayne.edu/mnissani/20302005/Sachems.htm).
3. Harris, Marvin. Life Without Chiefs (Are we forever condemned to a world of haves and have-nots, rulers and ruled? Maybe not, argues a noted anthropologist—if we can relearn some ancient lesson).
4. Cloak and Dagger
Occasionally, in ancient Rome or Greece, or 21st century UK or USA, a champion of the people poses a threat to the Machiavellian system itself. In such cases, overwhelming evidence suggests, the top oligarchs resort to character—or literal—assassinations.
They routinely malign, incarcerate, poison, or blow the brains out of anyone, anywhere on earth, who threatens their control—whistle blowers, congressmen, judges, U.S. presidents, DC madams who know too much, environmental activists, businessmen who dare tell the American people the truth about the Mexican Gulf disaster, sport celebrities naïve and idealistic enough to join the neo-colonial armies yet smart enough to read and understand the dissident literature, journalists who uncover the Banking-Militarist Complex’s collusion in the “war” on drugs, American peace activists, singers with a huge fan base who figure out how the system works—and dare share this information with the public, movie directors who had come to know a member of the Rockefeller family a bit too well—and who are bold enough to tell the world what they have learned, British princesses who speak up against landmines, union leaders, the Complex’s very own head of the International Mafia Federation (to borrow Celente’s phrase), countless foreign heads of states who would not betray their countrymen.
Once upon a time, fascists kept such calumnies and strangulations below the surface, following their master Machiavelli’s sage advice. But now, as befits the emerging in-your-face style of fascism, some of these atrocities are carried out in the open.
Recommended Starting References: 1. Pepper, William, F. 2008. An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King. 2. Caldwell, Taylor, 1972. Captains And The Kings (fiction).
Self-guided internet exercise: What’s common to all-but-one dead-in-office American presidents?
5. Rigged Elections
Joseph Stalin reportedly said: “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
Now that the bankers everywhere in the Western World are ingeniously re-introducing their version of Stalinism, following the same script in each and every country (just to dispel any doubt about this being a coordinated attack), the Trojan Horse in modern Western elections is the counters themselves.
Such outrageous rigging provides the Banking-Militarist Complex another safety valve, and again makes a mockery of those who believe in electoral politics.
Recommended Starting Reference: Palast, Greg. Election Rigged for Bush.
6. Broken Promises
There is a vast gap between what a politician or a party promise before the elections and what they deliver after the elections. Wilson and Roosevelt, for instance, promised peace but, once elected, through guile, false-flag operations, and propaganda, led their countrymen to catastrophic wars. Politicians lie and get away with it, again making a mockery of the people’s will and of ballot-box reformers.
One supporting example: Obama’s promise to end the neo-colonialization of Iraq. In a second example, John Perkins documents the assassination threats, blackmail, and bribes used to turn a decent elected officials into renegades.
The men in the shadows often support phony dissident organizations, e.g., the so-called “Tea Party” in the USA. Or, with their limitless supply of money, they might infiltrate and achieve partial control of a formerly genuine reform organization, e.g., the Sierra Club. They are thus able to control their own opposition.
Also, an individual who discovers for the first time the sorrows of the biosphere might join, say, the Sierra Club, and might never realize that this suit-and-tie organization has sold out decades ago. If she uncovers the deception, she might give up in disgust, mistakenly believing that it is just “human nature” to deceive, look out for number one, and ignore long-term perils.
And even if she manages to find her way to a genuine environmental organization, she might have only few years left to put her wisdom to good use.
This applies, in particular, to some “alternative” media. Many of these accept commercials and thus are, to a certain extent, at someone else’s beck and call. Other media have been created, funded, and sustained in order to throw confusion into the dissident camp.
They magnify deliberately certain issues (which pose no threat to the Banking-Militarist Complex), thus deflecting attention from more pressing issues (e.g., Who is behind the ongoing destruction of the middle class, the Iraqi and Palestinian genocides, the USS Liberty Massacre and cover-up, Pearl Harbor, USS Maine?
How in heaven’s name did the Rockefellers and Rothschilds manage to exclude themselves from the list of the richest people in the world? What is money? Is the Rothschild/Rockefeller Cartel doing God’s work, as it claims, or Satan’s?
Did this cartel accumulate its wealth and power honorably, or by sleight of hand? Who really owns British Petroleum, Monsanto, and just about any giant western corporation?).
These phony media and websites often accept the absurd contention that our rulers never ever engage in conspiracies (relying on that standard, absurd dismissal: “He is just a conspiracy theorist”). For them, there is no point in investigating 9/11, for the simple reason that our rulers never plot in secret!
Well, yes, the Russians, or the Chinese, or the Romans might have, but our lily-white bankers conspiring? Are you out of your mind? Such sites often refer to bankers’ propaganda organs (e.g., CNN, New York Times) as legitimate interpreters of reality. And again, seekers of truth must laboriously sift through their contrivances before beginning to see the world as it is.
I’m writing these words, scarcely believing them myself. My heart tells me that this is preposterous, that there cannot possibly be people out there so vicious as to not only corrupt everything they touch, but who do everything they can to diminish goodness, health, decency, and kindness, in this world.
But then my cortex takes over, providing me with multiple proofs—both personal and research-based—that these people do exist. The existence and ascendancy of pure evil is no conjecture, but fact.
There are people in this world who have enough ill-gotten money to last them one thousand and one reincarnations of obscene physical comfort, but yet give nothing, absolutely nothing, to help the thousands of children who will go blind this year because they can’t afford $1 worth of Vitamin A.
As if this is not enough, these villains steal from these children the few centavos they do have, and torture or kill them outright if they refuse to surrender these centavos. A key step in planetary recovery is acknowledging the existence of evil, its pervasiveness, and its capacity to control human destinies. Mike Krieger:
We must admit to ourselves that there are truly evil geniuses out there, and in most cases these characters have taken control of the power structure (corporations, politics and factions of the military in most of the nations we reside in).
Recommended Starting Reference: Helvarg, David. 2004. The War Against the Greens.
To sum up. Electoral participation, in any way, shape, or form is counter-productive because it involves opportunity costs. As long as we accept the bankers’ myth that the system can be changed peacefully from within, the bankers and the system are safe.
Some of our best people take part in this charade either as candidates or supporters, deluding themselves that anything at all can come from their electoral toil. Imagine all that energy and good will channeled into a strategy that could possibly work!
Electoral politics cannot work for many reasons. To begin with, how can we tell whether our champion is indeed our champion? How do we know that she would prefer sure death by saying no to the bankers to joining the fairly exclusive multi-millionaire club by saying yes? What guarantees do the people have that she will not break every single promise?
Moreover, the vast majority of gullible voters would believe that she is their enemy and that the bankers’ and weaponeers’ marionette is their friend. She cannot effect change because bankers can print as much money as they want, which they can give to her opponents.
In the very unlikely event that she survives all this and becomes a threat to the bankers and weaponeers, they will crucify her in their media, threaten her, offer her bribes, slander her, arrest her on false charges and keep her naked and humiliated, without trial, in solitary confinement, in a freezing-cold, filthy, noisy cubicle.
In the still more unlikely event that she actually receives a majority of the votes, they will doctor the results. If she miraculously manages to overcome all this, and if nothing else works, she will be impeached on false grounds, suicided, incinerated in the skies or roadways, or poisoned.
She will waste time and money, and never change anything, regardless of her sincerity. Since the American people are too drugged and televised, they will not be outraged by yet one more assassination, and will accept the bankers’ version of events.
In cases that cannot be readily forgotten, the bankers will establish a commission, appoint its members—and then proceed to ignore post-mortem reports of even these carefully-screened commissioners that the investigation was a cover-up, a hoax. The people would even permit these bankers to derisively reproduce the image of their murdered champion on their fiat money.
In more general terms, putting our hopes for freedom and for a better world in the process of electoral politics is fundamentally ill-advised, if not immoral. We must grow up, as the Ancient Athenians did, or as the American revolutionaries did, and provide for our own freedom and security.
Our system is irreparably broken and must be overthrown, one way or the other. The contemporary ballot box is a bewitching siren, a mirage, a shibboleth, a bankers’ trap.
The Different Branches of the Humanitarian Camp Must Unite
The Rand Paul Fiasco provides us with yet another crossroads for improving our reform strategies: Recognizing our common humanity and goals and forming a universal, humanitarian, reform movement.
What, really, are the things that decent, politically literate, human beings care most about? The answer, I suggest, must comprise at least these four elements:
Throughout most of their existence, human beings seemed to have lived in tribal democracies, with themselves making every major decision. For a long time, America had been a fairly free country, but that is no longer the case. Here is Former President Jimmy Carter (A Cruel and Unusual Record, 6/24/2012):
While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change . . . In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or indefinite detention, recent laws . . . allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications.
Popular state laws permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate. . . . Meanwhile, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, now houses 169 prisoners. A
bout half have been cleared for release, yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom. American authorities have revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers.
Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of “national security.” Most of the other prisoners have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either.
If we ignore the horrors of slavery, inequality of women, and limited rights of people of foreign origins, we can probably say that a similar system existed in the democratic phases of many ancient Greek city-states.
We can mention in passing that freedom is not only a natural right, not only good for one’s soul, but that it promotes excellence in the moral, cultural, artistic, intellectual, and commercial spheres—as shown by the astounding achievements of democracies like Athens.
Genuine democracy, it so happens, is also the political system most likely to promote environmental sustainability, social justice, and peace.
Environmental scientists suspect that “human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.” Cancer rates have already at least doubled; obesity, autism, diabetes, and asthma are on the rise, to name just a few human-facilitated scourges.
Shouldn’t freedom include the right to have one’s fat tissues not soaked with synthetic poisons, one’s brain not loaded with heavy metals, one’s lungs not bathed in plutonium and depleted uranium? Are the victims of environmentally-acquired autism free? Don’t I have a right to know if the corn kernels I’ve just ingested are laced with built-in poisons?
Many among us dismiss environmental concerns as a swindle. The world’s population, they believe, can forever go up by 80,000,000 a year.
We can puncture as many holes in the stratosphere as we wish; we can continue the ongoing destruction of forests, topsoil, oceans, lakes, aquifers, and air; continue to produce as many new chemicals as we wish; go on tampering with the evolutionary heritage of living organisms; persist in the creation of massive amounts of imperishable radioactive wastes; continue to reduce species diversity—and yet survive unscathed.
This is not the place to refute such scientifically naïve views. Instead, let me just say that the majority of the people who are best qualified to judge the matter—independent scientists—are extremely concerned about the very future of the biosphere.
For example, in 1992—when the situation was less desperate than it is now—some 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued this “Warning to Humanity:”
“Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.”
This is echoed in turn by more recent warnings. According to the U.N.’s 2011 World Economic and Social Survey, “humanity is on the verge of breaching planetary sustainability boundaries” and heading towards “a major planetary catastrophe.”
And that is exactly the threat we face now. For those of us capable of simple extrapolation of past trends into the future, the conclusion is inescapable: We are an almost-extinct species, give or take a couple of centuries. We treat the earth, our only home, with reckless abandon.
We have been warned, again and again, by our best and brightest, about the peril, the absurdity, for example, of relying on nuclear fission to boil water (a process which, when analyzed in all it complexity and throughout its entire period of relevance, paradoxically consumes more energy than it produces), but the psychopaths totally ignore the absurdities and warnings.
As of now, humanity has forever lost land to the 1957 Kyshtym disaster in the Urals, to the Chernobyl catastrophe in the Ukraine and Belarus, and to the Fukushima cataclysm (including, perhaps, Tokyo). How many more such disasters before we reach the tipping point?
More worrisome is not one or another tipping points, but the multiplicity of threats, the daily arrival of new anthropogenic threats, our inability to predict the impacts of these threats on something as complex as the biosphere, and our failure, in Paul Watson’s words, to give precedence to natural laws.
We may survive a dozens threats, but we are unlikely to survive thousands, and yet our political systems excels at introducing new ones. We shall have to be extremely fortunate, or the earth must be exceedingly resilient, to be forever lucky and reckless. You can’t play Russian roulette forever.
It takes a science fiction writer to fully grasp the irony and hopelessness of our situation. In Karel Capek’s humorously pessimistic War with the Newts, sentient and prolific salamanders are encountered in some far-off bay.
At first their discoverers offer them knives and protection from sharks in exchange for pearls. Gradually, however, many of the world’s nations avail themselves of these creatures for other purposes, including war. In a few years, the salamanders run out of living space.
To accommodate their growing numbers, they flood countries, one at a time. To do this, they need supplies from other countries and from merchants of the soon-to-be ravaged country itself. Needless to say, the salamanders have no trouble securing everything they need.
At the end, humanity is on the verge of sinking and drowning; not so much by the newts, but by its greed, shortsightedness, and colossal stupidity.
A similar conclusion is reached in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle:
And I remembered the Fourteenth Book of Bokonon, which I had read in its entirety the night before. The Fourteenth Book is entitled, “What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?”
It doesn’t take long to read, The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period.
This is it:
Throughout most of human history—in humanity’s hunter-gatherer phase—rough egalitarianism (as well as freedom) probably prevailed.
Our ancestors rightly believed that no one should starve in the midst of plenty, no one should go cold, no sick person should be left unattended by the local shaman because he was poor, no one should be denied access to local traditions because he couldn’t afford to hire a teacher.
We look down on these “savages,” but in this we’re mistaken—we are the top practitioners of savagery the world has ever seen. A few among us— psychopaths, sycophants, misers, swindlers, or their heirs—have untold riches, while billions of us are starving, lack access to decent housing and water, or are trampled upon and imprisoned by some feudal lords.
According to Joseph Stiglitz, once seen as the land of opportunity, the U.S. today is grappling with rising inequality and a political system that benefits the rich at the expense of others, resulting in lower growth.
“The U.S. worked hard to create the American dream of opportunity. But today, that dream is a myth . . . we are paying a high price for inequality: it contributes to social, economic and political instability, and to lower growth.”
Is that the best we can do? What does political freedom mean to the 18,000 children under five who will die today because of malnutrition and hunger-related diseases, while humanity produces more than enough to comfortably feed everyone?
What does it mean, freedom, to the 215 million children trapped in child labor around the world? What does our indifference say about us? Have they stopped assigning Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” in college, or are recent graduates too televised to get the irony?
What is the meaning of this, that we can readily create a system where every child, every adult, every old and infirm person, has all that is needed for a dignified existence, yet we pretend that the present system gives us the best of all possible worlds?
Thankfully, some of us (and not surprisingly, such people tend to die prematurely, under suspicious circumstances) ask themselves the same question. Here is Michael Jackson:
I see the kids in the streets,
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind,
Pretending not to see their needs?
A summer disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?
Most people pay at least lip service to the notion that war, military or economic occupation, and violence are undesirable because they kill and maim countless human beings, degrade both perpetrator and victim, destroy the earth and its inhabitants, and, nowadays, pose potential risks to continued human survival.
War is clearly a racket, evidently avoidable. The Swiss escaped it for centuries, because they have a greater measure of control of the political process than any other nation on earth. We could avoid war too, if we wanted to. James Miller:
Then and now, wealthy special interests are a driving force behind American imperialism. Lies will be spun till they are seen as facts. When the truth comes out, the irreparable damage will already be done. Like anything the state lays its filthy hands on, war is a racket.
The beneficiaries of the ruling class’s gleeful foray into mass murder are few in number. The masses, still brainwashed into feverish nationalism, end up paying the costs with their pilfered income, eroded liberty, and, ultimately, their own lives.
But that is not all. War is intimately linked to freedom. Thucydides graphically described the blood-curdling cultural transformation of Athens during the Peloponnesian War.
In times of war, classical Rome turned itself from a republic into a dictatorship. In the USA, one of our greatest champions of freedom, Thomas Jefferson, refused to be dragged to war despite numerous Rothschild Family provocations (acting through their underlings in the British Parliament), because he clearly understood the inverse relation between freedom and war.
During the Civil War, World War One and Two, freedom in the USA was cynically made subservient to security. And once you let the tyrants and the bankers grab some of your freedoms, they never again, if they can help it, let you have these freedoms back. Likewise, the never-ending bogus war on terror is the chief excuse for dismantling the Constitution, Bill of Rights, privacy, presumption of innocence, and the Posse Comitatus Act.
That same bogus war likewise facilitates the bankers’ plan of destroying the middle class, bringing the pleasures of hunger and scarcity to an ever-increasing number of human beings, further stretching the wealth gap between the parasitic bankers and militarists and the rest of us, and accelerating the pace of planetary rape.
There is a better way, Pete Seeger says:
One blue sky above us,
One ocean, lapping our shores.
One earth so green and brown,
Who could ask for more?
And because I love you
I’ll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It’s too soon to die.
Some folks want to be like an ostrich;
Bury their heads in the sand
Some hope for plastic dreams
To unclench all those greedy hands.
Some want to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs! They think we need ‘em.
Don’t they know you can’t kill all the unbelievers.
There’s no shortcut to freedom
Go tell, go tell all the little children!
Go tell mothers and fathers, too:
Now’s our last chance to learn to share
What’s been given to me and you
Ron Paul as a Test Case of This Wider View of Political Aspirations
Once we embrace the ideals of freedom, sustainability, social justice, and peace, we are faced with the practical question: How can we decide who is on our side and who is against us? The obvious answer is: research. To illustrate this, I shall now return to the case of Dr. Ron Paul.
To begin with, Ron Paul does not appear to be a corporate-approved candidate. He has been steadfast in his opposition (apparently on constitutional, not humanitarian, grounds) to the Iraqi genocide, the planned Syrian and Iranian blitzkriegs, and the ongoing, brutal, oppression of the Palestinian people.
He is no friend of the moneylenders, oilmen, and arms peddlers who control every aspect of our polity, and he is a determined opponent of such monstrosities as Democrat Jane Harman’s “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” (only 6 representatives voted against this Draconian measure).
He sees the slowly-unfolding Second Great Depression and is committed to its mitigation. Above all, he seems to loathe the Federal Reserve—a key weapon in the bankers’ war against humanity.
But even if voting and running for office could accomplish anything (they no longer can), the day has not yet come when we must vote for a principled reactionary. Instead of covering Paul’s entire record, let me just highlight three positions.
Position 1: Ron Paul on Sunshine Bribery and Disinformation
As we have seen, two of the most scandalous aspects of American “democracy” are the near-total ownership of the mass media by the Banking-Militarist Complex, and, through “campaign financing” and similar devices, the Complex’s near-total control of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of our government.
What does Ron Paul, the erstwhile idol of the liberty movement, have to say about this rotten state of affairs? Paul is opposed to media reform and feels likewise that “so-called ‘campaign finance reform’ is unconstitutional:”
“The First amendment unquestionably grants individuals and businesses the free and unfettered right to advertise, lobby, and contribute to politicians as they choose. Campaign reform legislation blows a huge hole in these First amendment protections.” Dr. Paul urges his fellow congressmen, instead, “to reduce special interest influence in Washington and restore integrity to politics by reducing the federal government to its constitutional limits.”
I would love seeing the powers of this federal government curtailed or altogether incinerated, but that is not going to solve the central problem of our ailing republic, a sad fact which totally eludes our good doctor. If western history, going all the back to the ancient Greeks, teaches us a single lesson, the lesson is this:
“Democracy, taken in its narrower, purely political, sense, suffers from the fact that those in economic and political power possess the means for molding public opinion to serve their own class interests.” (Albert Einstein, Einstein on Peace, p. 502)
The issue for seekers of rational and compassionate policies is leveling the playing field. For Ron Paul, on the other hand, the right of rich people to corrupt the political process by buying politicians and judges and contaminating the airwaves is unassailable.
For him, this right entirely overrides the need for an authentically uninhibited marketplace of ideas and for bribery-free elections. He would probably agree that I have no right to cry fire in a crowded theater, that concern for the lives of dozens of people overrides my freedom of speech.
And yet when it comes to the right of few conniving psychopaths like David Rockefeller and Evelyn Rothschild to bribe politicians and thereby destroy free markets, kill and impoverish billions, destroy the biosphere, and see to it that each and every political decision in the USA, UK, and their empire, is made to enrich and empower the few and impoverish and enslave the many, that right is sacrosanct.
In particular, property rights are inviolable, even if they drag us to the fascism Paul abhors. He cites the constitution, and yet, I am certain that his rather peculiar reading of the constitution would appall men like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin
Ron Paul, apparently, has never outgrown the influence of that two-bit philosopher, Ayn Rand. It has never occurred to neither the famous guru, nor her disciple, that self-made great fortunes are, more often than not, nothing more than a testimony to corruption and psychopathic tendencies, as John Steinbeck, Taylor Caldwell, and so many other fiction writers and historians have shown, over and over again.
Rand and Paul act as if Jesus had never existed, as if The Count of Monte Cristo, or Les Misérables, had never been written, as if the murderous Russian oligarchs deserve their stolen billions. Rand and Paul never read anthropology either, apparently, never learned that in many societies far freer than our own, Mother Nature was too sacred to be owned.
Position 2: Ron Paul on Environmental Sustainability
Ron Paul, as one might expect from a man whose political views had been inalterably molded by a remarkable, but deeply-flawed, 18th century document, is far more concerned with infringements on the rights of property owners than with the physical and biological foundations of life itself.
Against probably his private wishes for the survival of humanity and the long-term welfare of his own 18 grandchildren, he feels compelled to defend the rights of corporations (and not the survival rights of fragile ecosystems, endangered species, and humanity as a whole) to drill for oil in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge (this is just one example of his environmental record).
It is likewise no accident that his son openly defended British Petroleum’s murderous conduct in the Gulf of Mexico. When it comes to climate change and the laughably feckless Kyoto Protocol, that is, when it comes to taking a miniscule step towards protecting the health, pocketbooks, and survival of the world’s people from the externalities of crony capitalism, Ron Paul sides with the would-be terminators of the biosphere.
Position 3: Ron Paul on Democracy
The word democracy is taken from the Greek, and roughly means “power of the people.” In the ancient Greek world, this is exactly what it meant—majority rule. In Athens, all major political and judicial decisions were made by the people, not by politicians and judges.
In democratic Athens, for example, excellence was certainly encouraged, and wealth, but only because the majority wished them to exist.
If we reluctantly forgive the Athenians their exclusion of women, slaves, and foreigners from the full franchise (which Paul readily forgives 18th century Americans), and if we ignore the wonderful democracies that prevailed in some tribal and semi-tribal societies (the Iroquois, for instance), then Athens had been the truest democracy of which we have sufficient records.
And the Athenians prospered, as a result of their democracy, to a much greater extent than their oligarchic (another Greek word) and totalitarian rivals in Greece itself. Often, when they lost wars, the loss could be traced to their own oligarchic fifth column, not to their external enemies.
Like the majority of our founding fathers, and like the majority of Athenian oligarchs, Ron Paul does not like democracy, either because he is unaware of its unparalleled achievements, blinded by the rancid ideology of unregulated capitalism, or feels that democracy does not serve his own class interests.
Ron Paul accepts the majority of the founders’ self-seeking disdain for democracy, and the anti-democratic document these rich men wrote, as the gospel. In 2003, on the house floor, he opined “that the Republic is gone, for we are wallowing in a pure democracy against which the Founders had strongly warned.”
The trouble with our country in 2003, according to Paul, was not that the oligarchs were controlling everything, deceiving and manipulating us, stuffing their pockets at our expense, declaring wars to enrich and empower themselves, rigging elections, and engaging in financial rackets which, in a working democracy such as ancient Athens, modern Iceland or Switzerland, or an Iroquois village, would have prompted their arrest, exile—or perhaps even a hemlock drinking party. No, Paul traces these real problems to a democracy run amok. The ills which afflict us are not traceable to crony capitalism, but to “the evils of democracy.”
One does not know where to begin with such a sincere misreading of history, except noting that a little study of history is a dangerous thing. In fact, the most successful and happiest societies were also the most democratic.
In the USA, to give one more example, Paul holds the majority accountable for the American proclivity to “promote . . . undeclared, unconstitutional wars.” This is palpably false, a view which one has come to expect from enemies of the open society, not its friends.
Independent historians agree that the majority of Americans had neither intention nor desire to get involved in either the Spanish War, World War I, or World War II, and that they were manipulated into these wars by bankers and arm merchants.
Throughout most of the past decade, the majority was opposed to the Iraqi genocide; the USA occupied Iraq (and in 2012, occupies it still, but with a bit more decorum) not because the majority desired to permanently occupy Iraq, make billions selling bombs and destroying and then re-building infrastructure, depriving China and Russia of access to Iraqi oil, and poison and enfeeble Iraq’s entire Arab population and thereby gain full possession of all Iraqi oil—a $30 trillion loot—for itself.
Most Americans are manifestly too decent to support such an outrage. We enslave and incinerate the Iraqi people because a small cabal controls the politicians, who then proceed to blithely ignore the desires of the America people. Let a ghostwriter for the bellicose President Eisenhower have the final word here:
“I think people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of their way and let them have it.”
As I have said, electoral politics in America is a sad joke, and should be of no concern to perceptive reformers. But a revolution must have leaders. Even a leaderless revolution must have some strategists and forward thinkers. The type of analysis carried out above with Ron Paul should be applied to all such leaders and strategists.
Freedom, sustainability, justice, and peace begin with us. We must strive to open our minds to new ideas, subordinate our selfish desires to the interests of humanity and the biosphere, and try to understand the world in all its complexity and interconnectedness.
We must also strive to liberate our minds, beginning by disconnecting ourselves, as much as possible, from the bankers’ propaganda system.
We must actively fight such ingrained but palpably false notions that America is a democracy, that our economic institutions come even close to genuine capitalism, that our president is “the most powerful man in the world,” that we should write letters to “our” representatives, that the only qualifications a reformer needs is an avowal of reforming sentiments.
We should condemn such Punch and Judy shows as contemporary elections, political debates, the mendacious 9/11 and Warren “Commissions,” or trials by judges.
We ought not to send our children to the bankers’ indoctrination centers, nor allow the bankers’ propaganda to intrude into our living rooms while masquerading as news or entertainment. We must grasp that Hollywood is part of the Banking-Militarist Complex propaganda system and look for entertainment, uplifting art, or comic relief elsewhere.
We must give the slip to that artful National Propaganda Radio, and all other radio programs provided to us by our masters. We must see how vulnerable we all are, and how any exposure to political and commercial propaganda pollutes our most cherished asset—our minds. We ought to be doubly careful when it comes to our children.
We must carefully and open-mindedly study the political process. Such a study will show that we ought to abandon all hopes of the system reforming itself. Our real rulers have wrested every bastion of power within our republic, and will cling to it come hell or high water. At this advanced stage of decay, electoral politics can accomplish less than nothing.
We must overstep the ideological boundaries that divide us. Instead of aspiring to just one or two of the following—genuine freedom, environmental sustainability, social justice, peace—we ought to embrace them all. We ought to do so because all four are interdependent, and because this is the right thing to do.
If a sufficient number of us grasps these urgent truths, the world may yet turn towards the morning. The hour is late but perhaps not too late; our chances admittedly slim, but still above zero.
If, on the other hand, we let our rulers and our own delusions, close-mindedness, and ignorance partition us into countless disparate or even hostile ideological camps, if we go on diverting precious resources to the corrupt electoral masquerade, if we go on waiting for a knight in shining armor to conduct the revolution for us instead of conducting it ourselves, if we fail to establish direct democracy within our own organizations, and if we fail to subject the records of our more prominent spokespeople and strategists to dispassionate analyses, then we shall have no chance at all.
I warmly welcome—and will reply to—all comments, suggestions for improvements, and criticisms. These can be sent directly to: [email protected]
Phi Beta Iota: The alternative has been clearly laid out at We the People Reform Coalition. There is still time to rescue the Republic in 2012, but only if Occupy, the Tea Party originals (not the cooptees on the Koch payroll), and the Independents come together with the six small parties now excluded from ballot and debate access.
ROOT: The Open Source Everything Convergence (Tinyurl /OSE-ROOT)