Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation
After all, here’s just a starter list of things that were either banned or restricted this holiday season: Christmas family gatherings; Christmas concerts; Christmas tree lighting ceremonies; Christmas parties; Christmas worship services; Christmas sing-alongs; Christmas season sporting events; Christmas shopping trips; and even Christmas visits with Santa.
More broadly, nearly every conceivable social activity, aside from popping out to a grocery store to stave off starvation (or, possibly, suicide) for another week, was either banned or severely restricted this year for millions of us.about:blank
Don’t like it? Don’t worry, said the experts: If you’re feeling a mite lonely after nine months of house arrest in Papillon-like solitary confinement, just throw a rollicking Christmas “social” event in which you stare, all alone, at a computer screen on a Zoom call, as the most ruthless, repressive, imperialist regime on earth monitors everything you say, and then instantly disables your account if you dare to criticize it. (Soon, no doubt, it won’t only be the Chinese government doing the monitoring and disabling, but our own—supposing it hasn’t merged with the CCP by then).
House arrest for nine months, careers and dreams imploding all around you, relieved only by the odd Zoom call, isn’t exactly my idea of fun—or anyone else’s. Yet you’d never guess that listening to anyone with political power this year (aside from the few remaining non-useless Republicans).
For months, these strange, power-mad robots have evinced zero indication they have any clue what it might feel like to be an actual human (with mouths to feed) suddenly placed under house arrest, forbidden from earning a living, stopped from pursuing activities which support his sense of identity, cut off from most (or all) social contact, fed reams of misinformation he knows is misinformation, and severed from a huge source of meaning in human life—namely, culture.
I’m not here arguing against the measures themselves (I will some other time). I am pointing out the inhuman indifference shown by the Lockdown Leviathans to the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and familial costs those measures have imposed, and continue to impose, upon their suffering subjects.
There is simply no sign they care.
Above, I used the word “subjects.” I used it because although these thugs were all elected, they rule like ancient Asian potentates. No force checks or balances them. Certainly, no one’s heard a single word from any federal law enforcement official about the Incorporation Doctrine, or any federal plan to bring these thugs to heel.
I find that odd.
Back in the 1950s, when the segregationist governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, tried to block black students from schools, President Dwight D. Eisenhower invoked the Insurrection Act and sent in the 101st Airborne. Just like that, Faubus came to heel. Eisenhower secured those students’ fundamental rights.
But now, when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo kills off thousands of American citizens, and California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti deprive millions of American citizens of their most basic liberties, nothing happens. A space alien visiting America for a few weeks this holiday season would never imagine that America had something called a “Constitution,” and that it sets limits on how governments, state or federal, may treat citizens. He’d be shocked to learn otherwise.
But let me get back to culture. It is a vital source of meaning in human life. Cut humans off from culture—including important social/connecting rituals, like all those I mentioned above—and you inevitably begin draining their lives of meaning. Drain enough of that meaning away, and you wind up with despondent, purposeless human beings struggling to feel any sense of context for, or meaning or worth in, their lives. Their bone-deep existential anguish leads them to try to numb it through drugs, alcohol, or suicide.
A child could understand that. But there’s no sign the Lockdown Leviathans understand it, or care—not even when this sensible assumption passes into the realm of rock solid empirical evidence, which it now has done (see here, here, and here). about:blank
And so, you wonder just how many tears, say, Cuomo and his comrades in gubernatorial malfeasance have shed over the souls devastated—or the lives killed off—by their incompetence and control freakery this year. And then, you conclude it’s probably zero—with “probably” being generous.
Presuming the talk of secession and national divorce subsides; presuming political calm emerges soon; there will be a lot to restore in the coming years. Between the riots and the lockdowns, the hard costs must be in the hundreds of millions. Buildings, businesses, inventories, houses, public monuments, educational careers, savings accounts . . . it’s a lot.
But just as important—in some ways, even more important—will be the task of restoring culture, which is to say, restoring all the important sources of meaning for human life arrested or erased this year. Restoring our Christmas rituals will be one important part, but all the other communal rituals must return, too: the shared civic ceremonies and sporting events, the shared sacrifices, the shared stories and songs, the concerts and theatrical performances, the social clubs and worship services and funerals, the big family dinners, the weekly visits to the grandparents, the book club, the group prayers, the symphonies and parades and weekly date night for husbands and wives—all the natural rhythms of life, and all their infusions of transcendent purpose, worth, and meaning into human life. It all must come back.
And it all must come back, because trying to save lives by demolishing all the things which make our lives feel worth living in the first place, doesn’t really get us ahead. We want to live, yes, but we also want to live lives of meaning, purpose, connection, and contentment.
Sure, there are risks to that. But so what? There’s no point otherwise. That’s what the Lockdown Leviathans don’t get.
Tal Bachman, America Great
Catholic League president Bill Donohue has noted history’s great irony that “no segment of society punishes the poor more than those who champion their cause.”
In a scathing essay Tuesday, Dr. Donohue insists that the latest Marxist to “screw the poor” is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is undermining the cause of the lower classes by alienating those who generate wealth and create jobs.
De Blasio’s scheme to raise taxes on the rich in order to “redistribute wealth” and to close the “COVID achievement gap” is senseless, Donohue observes, since “the rich are leaving New York in droves” because of the city’s absurdly high taxes and taxing them at a higher rate “will only encourage more to leave.”
“They are taking their tax contributions and their jobs with them,” he adds.
Despite de Blasio’s claims, “fleecing the rich will do absolutely nothing to enhance academic achievement,” Donohue observes. “We have known for decades that there is no correlation between spending on students per capita and academic achievement.”
While de Blasio focuses on race, he turns a blind eye to the real causes of poverty and underachievement, Donohue asserts, noting that Asians are “people of color,” yet they have no problem succeeding in school.
“That’s because, unlike African Americans, the typical Asian family has a father and a mother at home,” he adds.
“So the ‘color’ argument that de Blasio favors — structural racism is holding blacks back — is completely false,” he continues. “Black kids from two-parent families are not failing in school. The real issue is the family, not race.”
Like others on the left, de Blasio cares more about upholding the public school monopoly and protecting the teachers’ union than helping kids.
If he really wanted poor kids to succeed in school, “he would spend money on charter schools, provide scholarships to private schools, endorse school choice, and allow the poor to enroll in Catholic schools,” Donohue observes. “Instead, he fights every initiative that works.”
While pretending to be a champion of the poor, de Blasio’s actions harm those he claims to defend.
Thus, he “drives the rich out of New York, shrinks the tax base, and does nothing to help the poor succeed in school,” Donohue notes.
Thomas D. Williams, Catholic League, Breitbart
It is difficult to see the difference between an actual free market and the interventionist system under which we live because so many across the political spectrum refer to ours as a “capitalist” society.
When most people put on their “reality” hats about politics, there are few among them who do not cynically see the power-lusting, the corruption, and the hypocrisy in most of what is said and done by those running for or sitting in political office. A constant point of dispute and disagreement is over how and why it is that governments have this seemingly inescapable tendency. The all too frequent answer in modern democratic societies is the claimed nefarious influences of businessmen to use government at the expense of most others everywhere around the world.
The latter is a near permanent theme in literature, movies, and the mass media. Widely used political and ideological rhetoric is portrayed as a false cover for what is really an often-successful attempt to dupe most people into thinking that what is “good for business is good for America.” Far too many politicians are the partners and accomplices to these private sector abusers of the public trust, it is said, since government is supposed to assure fairness and “social justice” for the many rather than privileges and favors for the capitalist few.
While mostly left unstated in any explicit or direct manner in movies and on television, the implicit message is that businessmen are inherently exploiting oppressors and abusers of their workers, their customers, and “the earth” due to their physical harms to the planet that threaten environmental sustainability. “Business” has to be heavily regulated and restricted if public harm is not to be done. Or . . . maybe there are just some if not many sectors of everyday life that must be placed outside of private reach through government production and provision of publicly necessary and needed goods and services. Otherwise, not just public harm, but human death and destruction will come in the wake of allowed private enterprise.
“Roadkill’s” Twisted Conception of a Libertarian
One example of these views may be seen in the recently aired four-part Season One of “Roadkill,” broadcast as part of Masterpiece Theater on PBS, starring Hugh Laurie (known to many American television viewers for his role as the medical doctor, “House,” which ran from 2004 to 2012). In this latest outing, Laurie plays Peter Laurence, a British Conservative Party cabinet member who serves, at first, as Minister of Transportation.
He is “hip” and “progressive,” saying that in his personal life and in his politics, he always looks at what’s ahead, and not at what has happened or what might otherwise tie you to the past. He regularly appears on a radio talk show with glib remarks outside of the seeming mainstream of even his own party’s politics. The first episode opens with him having won a libel case in which a newspaper reporter had accused him of corruption and bribery in the service of a consortium of businessmen wanting to make the world safer for their ill-gotten profits.
It seems that our Minister of Transportation may have been in cahoots with American medical companies who want to “privatize” parts of the British National Health Service (NHS). What could be more damning than the idea of replacing socialized medicine with private enterprise health care and service? Oh, the horror!
At one point when he is challenged about whether he is really innocent of the accusation, he insists that the charge was absurd, since, after all, what he is all about is personal freedom and choice. He declares, how could he be guilty, why, he views himself as a “libertarian.” When he is mildly injured in a car accident with a deer, he praises the heroes of Britain’s NHS as he leaves the hospital where he has been treated. Clearly, there are limits to his public libertarianism.
Personal and Political Corruption Envelops the Main Character
In his personal life, he cheats on his wife, lies to his two daughters, views his mistress as a convenience rather than a commitment, and faces a new potential scandal just as he is made Minister of Justice in a cabinet reshuffle, when he discovers that he has a previously unknown daughter from an illicit relationship with a black woman 20 years earlier, a daughter who is in prison for major bank fraud. But don’t worry, he gets ahead of it by going public on television saying he is pleased to find out about this daughter and hoping to get to know her better; after the show, Peter Laurence tells his personal assistant that that should get his public support up a bit.
But things are not all blue skies for our main character. The news reporter who brought the corruption charges against him won’t give up; she finds a witness who can confirm that Laurence was where he said he wasn’t, working for an Anglo-American lobbying group and earning a $500,000 “speaker’s fee” for an hour’s presentation; but the witness mysteriously dies. However, the news reporter doggedly heads over to Washington, D.C. to still get the goods on Laurence; alas, she is killed in a hit-and-run on the streets of the U.S. capital.
Not that Peter Laurence is, himself, behind the murder of the young reporter. Oh, no, that has been taken care of by an arms consortium and others, because they have bigger plans for our Minister of Justice. When it turns out that weapons used by the Saudi Arabian government that have killed three British NGO representatives in war-torn Yemen were sold by those U.K. armament manufacturers to the Riyadh government, the Conservative Party Prime Minister orders a temporary arms sale embargo to calm public outrage.
British Prime Ministers may come and go, but the pursuit of private profits never comes to an end, even if it kills innocent fellow citizens doing humanitarian work in a faraway country. The armament consortium engineers a vote of no confidence in the British Parliament to oust the current Conservative Prime Minister from 10 Downing Street.
Your Political Friends Can Get You to 10 Downing Street
Peter Laurence meets with the head of the British Conservative Party and one of the leading U.K. armaments manufacturers; he is reminded about how the three of them have been such good friends for, oh, so long a time. Yes, what a tragedy about the unfortunate death of that British reporter while she was over in the States. But, well, that just means one less thing for everyone to worry about. They just need to remember that without the tourist trade and the armaments industry there is no British economy, so what’s good for armament manufacturers is good for Great Britain. They just know they can count on Laurence not forgetting that.
The final episode of Season One ends with our “hero” stepping into 10 Downing Street as the newly elected Prime Minister of Great Britain. What could go wrong? The betrayed wife is beside him as they enter their new residence, many in the public look on him as that “progressive” forward-looking Conservative Party leader, and, clearly, his “friends” in British industry have shown their appreciation for his right-thinking by helping his arrival at that lofty political position of power and privilege.
But shadows of his personal and professional past that he says he always tries to put behind him are still looming just ahead. So how and what will bring about the downfall of Peter Laurence, or the misstep from his past that he says might make him the next “roadkill” in the processes of political power-lusting, corruption, and abuses of positions in high governmental authority?
The answers await Season Two, if there is one, because the show’s producers have not yet announced whether it will be back next year.
All the Marxian Messaging About “Capitalism” is There
All the elements of the standard anti-capitalist tale are here, with its subliminal Marxian presumptions. Public statements of believing in personal choice and individual liberty, and a claimed “public good” arising from profit-pursuing private enterprise are all part of the rhetorical “false conscience”-creating manipulators of public opinion. It is all a smokescreen to hide the “real” power relationships of greedy businessmen using politicians and government organs of power to acquire their ill-gotten gains by wanting to undermine national health care and make millions by manufacturing the means by which innocent people are killed in various conflicts around the world.
Self-labelling libertarians like Peter Laurence in “Roadkill” are corrupt and manipulative people using the rhetoric of freedom to live their own comfortable lives in government positions that are theirs only because they serve and work with the “real” power behind “the system,” that being evil, murdering businessmen. The honest people, like that truth-seeking reporter, end up dead as their reward for trying to unmask the powers-that-be. Governments are put in place and torn down by capitalist wire pullers behind the curtain.
It is of note that far less frequently in such movies and on television is corruption and abuse of power shown to be in socialist or left-of-center governments in office. Rarely if ever is their rhetoric portrayed as the cover to advance the special interests of labor unions wanting closed shops, or leftist-friendly businesses wanting subsidies to cover their unprofitable enterprises, or socialist ideologues hungry for power to coercively socially engineer the lives of tens or hundreds of millions of ordinary people.
The heroic person in almost all movies and television shows with some political message imbedded in it is the lone person trying to stand in the way of lumber companies destroying the rainforests, or oil companies poisoning the land, sea and air, or businessmen willing to murder their own grannie for an extra buck. If there is a “good” businessman, he is always someone who in some way sacrifices his profits for a higher and more socially just cause. But even one of these is few and far between. Or if there is a good businessman, he is the small underdog enterpriser who, also, is a victim, just like the other “little people” against “big” business.
The Free Market and Its Institutional Premises
What all such films and shows are portraying are the intrigues and workings of the Interventionist State, not the nature and reality of a functioning free market economy in which governments actually are limited to the few functions of securing and protecting the individual rights of each person to their life, liberty and honestly acquired property. And a system of an impartial rule of law, under which there are the same equal individual rights for all, but privileges and favors for none.
Under such a true political-economic system of classical liberalism, politicians like Peter Laurence in “Roadkill” have no role to play because there are no special favors to give or take away. A way to see the difference, perhaps, is by laying out an eight-point contrast between the liberal free market economy and the interventionist state. The institutional presumptions and premises of a liberal market economy are:
- All means of production are privately owned.
- The use of the means of production is under the control of private owners, who may be individuals or corporate entities.
- Consumer demands determine how the means of production will be used.
- Competitive market forces of supply and demand determine the prices for consumer goods and the various factors of production (including labor).
- The success or failure of individual and corporate enterprises is determined by the profits or losses these enterprises earn, based on their greater or lesser ability to satisfy consumer demand in competition with their rivals in the marketplace.
- The market is not confined to domestic transactions and includes freedom of international trade.
- The monetary system is based on a market-determined commodity (for example, gold or silver), and the banking system is private and competitive (neither controlled nor regulated by government).
- Government is limited in its activities to the enforcement and protection of each individual’s life, liberty and honestly acquired property under impartial rule of law.
Under such a system there are no possibilities for corrupt acts by politicians to bestow special privileges and favors on some at others’ expense, since by definition and institutional constraint there is nothing to politically buy or sell from the government, for as long as these “rules of the game” are recognized, abided by, and enforced.
The Interventionist State and Its Institutional Premises
Contrast this with the institutional presumptions and premises of the interventionist state that more closely resembles the type of world with its personalities and incentives as represented in Masterpiece Theater’s “Roadkill.” In the interventionist state:
- The private ownership of the means of production is restricted and abridged.
- The use of the means of production by private owners is prohibited, limited or regulated.
- The users of the means of production are prevented from being guided solely by consumer demands.
- Government influences or controls the formation of prices for consumer goods and/or the factors of production (including labor).
- Government reduces the impact of market supply and demand on the success or failure of various enterprises, while increasing its own influence and control over market outcomes and earned incomes through such artificial means as pricing and production regulations, limits on freedom of entry into segments of the market, and direct or indirect subsidies, and compulsory redistribution.
- Free entry into the domestic market by potential foreign rivals is discouraged, restricted, or prohibited through import bans, quotas, or tariffs, and other means.
- The monetary system is regulated by government for the purpose of influencing what is used as money, the value of money, and the rate at which the quantity of money is increased or decreased. These, and other policy instruments, are used for affecting employment, output, and growth in the economy.
- Government’s role is not limited to the protection of life, liberty, and property.
Here, in the political arena, is a potential cesspool of corruption and abuse. With the government’s hand increasingly in more and more aspects of everyday economic life, the future of every enterpriser’s business now depends on what, how, and for whom the political interventions are introduced and secured. Politics rather than markets more and more determines the fortunes and fate of any private enterprise. Businessmen find it necessary to cultivate the qualities of political entrepreneurship, rather than simply that of a market-oriented entrepreneur.
Ludwig von Mises on the Workings of the Interventionist State
This was explained nearly 90 years ago by Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), at the twilight of the interventionist and corrupt Weimar Republic in Germany, shortly before the coming to power of Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi) Party. In 1932, during the Great Depression and amid a wide belief that the prolonged and severe economic downturn was “proof” of the failure of a capitalist economy, Mises explained the institutional nature and behavioral characteristics of those attempting to get ahead in the interventionist state:
“In the interventionist state it is no longer of crucial importance for the success of an enterprise that the business should be managed in a way that it satisfies the demands of consumers in the best and least costly manner. It is far more important that one has ‘good relationships’ with the political authorities so that the interventions work to the advantage and not the disadvantage of the enterprise.
“A few marks’ more tariff protection for the products of the enterprise and a few marks’ less tariff for the raw materials used in the manufacturing process can be of far more benefit to the enterprise than the greatest care in managing the business. No matter how well an enterprise may be managed, it will fail if it does not know how to protect its interests in the drawing up of the customs rates, in the negotiations before arbitration boards, and with the cartel authorities. To have ‘connections’ becomes more important than to produce well and cheaply.
“So the leadership positions within enterprises are no longer achieved by men who understand how to organize companies and to direct production in the way the market situation demands, but by men who are well thought of ‘above’ and ‘below,’ men who understand how to get along well with the press and all the political parties, especially with the radicals, so that they and their company give no offence. It is that class of general directors that negotiate far more often with state functionaries and party leaders than with those from whom they buy or to whom they sell.
“Since it is a question of obtaining political favors for these enterprises, their directors must repay politicians with favors. In recent years, there have been relatively few large enterprises that have not had to spend very considerable sums for various undertakings in spite of it being clear from the start they would yield no profit. But in spite of the expected loss it had to be done for political reasons. Let us not even mention contributions for purposes unrelated to business – for campaign funds, public welfare organizations, and the like.” (Ludwig von Mises, “The Myth of the Failure of Capitalism”  in Selected Writings of Ludwig von Mises, Vol. 2 , pp. 188-189)
Ayn Rand and the Mindset of the Politically Privileged and Powerful
The psychological atmosphere of the interventionist state and its users and abusers was also captured in Ayn Rand’s famous novel, Atlas Shrugged (1957), when a group of the business plunder participants meet for a drink to discuss how they cannot be held responsible for the bad times through which the country is passing. That their failing businesses and falling profits, their inabilities to meet contractual obligations and commitments, are not the fault of the poor management of their enterprises.
No, it’s “the system,” it’s the unreliability of others, it is due to business rivals not willing to sacrifice for the “common good” and contribute a “fair share” to others in the industry, with, instead, those “selfish” rivals attempting to compete more effectively for consumer business that leaves these others financially less well off. “The only justification of private property,” one of them says, “is public service.” Another insists that, “After all, private property is a trusteeship held for the benefit of society as a whole.” One other points to “the blight of unbridled competition,” while still another argues, “It seems to me that the national policy ought to be aimed at the objective of giving everybody a chance at his fair share . . .” (pp. 49-50)
Represented here are the politically oriented businessmen about whom Mises was referring. People not focused on making better and less expensive goods, or whose attention is directed at meeting consumer demands, and at those from whom they buy and to whom they sell as the basis upon which any profits may be earned. No, their interest is in gaming the interventionist state to hinder their competitors, gain subsidies and protections through government regulations, and to weaken respect for and belief in private property rights by insisting that coerced sharing and service to a “common good,” as the ideological means of rationalizing the political interventions to win those privileges and favors that without the government would never be theirs on an open and free market.
Confusing Free Market Capitalism with the Corrupt Interventionist State
This points to one of the most commonly made and dangerous confusions in modern society, that being the assumption that the economic system under which we have been and currently are living, represents and reflects a liberal free market economy. It is difficult for many people to see the difference between an actual free market and the interventionist system under which we live because so many across the political spectrum refer to ours as a “capitalist” society.
If we use as a benchmark the institutional characteristics defined, above, as the meaning of a free market economy, the U.S. is very far from that conceptual idea and ideal. Our system possesses and operates in the context of all the institutional characteristics outlined as defining the interventionist state.
Is there favoritism and privilege? Is the “system” manipulated by those who know how to “play the game” of political entrepreneurship at the expense of consumers and competitors? Do politicians rise to and retain power and position in government through political pandering and offer plunder to those special interests who can get them elected? Are false promises, often outright lies, and frequent appeals to irrational emotionalism and primal envy frequently the avenues to political success?
Yes, to each and every one of these. The events of the last year under the coronavirus crisis have only reinforced and intensified this trend down the interventionist road. No corner of society or the economy has been free of a hyper-politicization in which governments have determined who may work and under what conditions, what goods may be manufactured and sold and at what prices, and who may stay open for business and with what restrictions on how they may operate their enterprise.
This is the breeding ground for even more of the political hypocrisy and corrupt privilege and favoritism portrayed in programs like “Roadkill.” How can it be otherwise when everyone’s life and fate are in the hands of politicians like that fictional Peter Laurance, and the ideological and special interest groups that want to use government to get what might never be theirs under a real system of free market capitalism?
The important task for those who value personal freedom, economic liberty and the free market economy is to disabuse our fellow citizens from thinking that what we have is a fully capitalist system, and to appreciate that what critics of capitalism call for and want in the form of even more and bigger government would only magnify the corrosive trends already in play in the modern world.
Richard Ebeling, Capitalism Magazine
Since the 1960s the federal government has initiated countless programs to close racial gaps. All have failed, some have even exacerbated these gaps, but failure aside, all posited logical connections between the program and the intended beneficial outcome. Head Start, for example, rested on the plausible idea that blacks disproportionately suffered early childhood deprivations, and this limited their future accomplishments, so enrich early childhood. The Empowerment Zones of the early 1990s offered tax incentive to entice urban businesses to hire unemployed blacks. Yes, these and countless other nostrums came up short, but they were logical and fact-based and did not, by themselves, aim to transform American society.
Matters have drastically changed with the emergence of the White Racism theory of the crime. It is now no longer necessary to link cures and the intended outcomes; whites by their very existence are now responsible for all black tribulations. Why even try to prescribe one ameliorative fix after the next to target a particular ill when eliminating whiteness is the Mother of All Cures? Nor is it necessary for blacks to take any responsibility for their misfortune—whites must do the job. How simple and seductive for social justice warriors exhausted by plain-Jane incremental politics and having to change their own behavior.
This “white racism did it” theory can be understood as a form of mental illness, specifically magical thinking, “ a disorder of thought…[that] denotes the false belief that one’s thoughts, actions, or words will cause or prevent a specific consequence in some way that defies commonly understood laws of causality.” In other words, every black problem, no matter how miniscule or gigantic can be traced back to toxic whiteness. Even more bizarre, the logic of this “theory” of evil exclusively stresses thoughts, even unconscious thinking, as opposed to overt behavior. An odd parallel exists with some religions where “bad thoughts” themselves are a sin, so thinking about discriminating against African Americans its tantamount to actually discriminating against them. This is a transformation that not only awards immense magical power to brain waves but contrives America’s legal tradition that criminalizes behavior not (with miniscule exceptions) “bad thinking.”
Since whites and their legacy are everywhere, and their toxicity resembles inescapable background radiation, blacks must energetically stamp out this evil wherever they find it. Nothing is too small in this crusade. The picture on Uncle Ben’s box of rice is tantamount to a physical assault. Why else would removing Robert E. Lee’s name from a largely black school become so urgent? What’s the concrete benefit? Did black students fail because they daily observed General Lee’s name cut in stone and this damaged their self-esteem? Logic doesn’t matter—Lee’s name just somehow radiates whiteness, even if students don’t know who he is, and like gravity, his very whiteness invisibly pulls blacks down.
The opportunity costs of embracing this faith are huge. The supply of crackpot solutions to any problem are infinite, and provided ample funding is available, foolishness can persist forever and thus there is never any need to align solutions to tangible tribulations let alone admit that the problem is intractable. Ridding society of white racism is the equivalent of a full-time job with an unlimited budget for inventing an anti-gravity automobile engine, and rest assured, success will be just over the hill, around the corner, at the end of the tunnel, awaiting one adjustment to the devise, tweaking the fuel etc. etc. Just obverse how many blacks at college campuses devote their existence to overcoming omnipresent white racism versus actual learning.
Consider how this escape from a difficult reality plays out in the “diversity industry.” Thanks to the Faith, why ask embarrassing question about why blacks cannot move up the corporate ladder despite putting the screws on whites to promote diversity and huge investments in education? Far easier to cleanse the workplace to toxic whiteness by hiring black experts to spend thousands of hours eradicating hidden bias, structural racism and countless other sins afflicting whites. The website compiled by SHRM lists some 83 such diversity consultants happy to toil long hours to exorcise evils debilitating African Americans. The firm OutSolve, for example, “… gives companies the advantage of effective affirmative action solutions that are comprehensive, customizable, and budgetable.” OutSolve, moreover, offers “… experienced consultants are ready to help, with the most comprehensive affirmative action planning services and consulting programs available” and services range from developing affirmative plans, devising bias-free compensation standards and navigating government rules and regulations. Keep in mind that these 83 firms are in addition to the hundreds of in-house departments in larger firms and especially universities, that likewise provide professional exorcisms. Now, thanks to the availability of all these exorcists, discussion can focus entirely on details of detoxification, so why bother with black IQ, work habits and similar awkward question?
Quackery also attracts those eager to accept endless failure provided the pay is decent. White racism is a pesky pathogen, so there can never be a “Mission Accomplished,” and a lifetime can be spent pushing the rock up the hill and, after a point, rock pushing is all the rock pushers know. Think all the Deans of Diversity and Inclusion spending careers seeking out racism in undergraduate admissions, choice of majors, grade point averages, faculty hiring and retention, research funding, and every other university function. And who knows what persistent digging will eventually uncover? Gaps in student participation in class discussions? Access to local stores selling black personal grooming supplies? Perhaps holistic admissions are insufficiently holistic or STEM textbooks ignore scientists of color but whatever the alleged defect, rest assured it will be scrutinized, assigned to some committee’s agenda, a report written and discussed, a few cosmetic changes suggested and when that, too, fails, onward to the next putative time-wasting panacea.
Most importantly, embracing the centrality of whiteness as the all-encompassing evil virtually guarantees totalitarian creep. Or to use the Soviet vocabulary, you have to break ever more eggs to make the omelet.
To understand this progression, suppose that white racism can be calibrated on a 0 to 1.0 scale, with 1.0 being totally racist society, e.g., apartheid-era South African. Further suppose that by daily mandatory anti-racism seminars, school textbook propaganda, fantasy interracial TV commercials, speech codes, de-platforming heretics, hate crime laws and lots more, racism among non-blacks is reduced from, say, .6 to .1, a seemingly momentous accomplishment. Is this reduction sufficient to eliminate racial gaps and all other inequalities? Can victory be declared? The answer is, sad to say, indeterminant since the theory of white toxicity fails to specify a numerical relationship between the causal agent (white racism) and any specific outcome. This is social engineering sans any benchmarks. Everything is just fighting white racism.
Conceivably, white racism resembles plutonium and an infinitesimal amount in the city’s water supply can kill the entire population. Or lethality depends on huge levels of whiteness. Of course, nobody can specify levels of lethality and, tellingly, this murkiness is hardly a problem for those insisting on the evil of whiteness. Toxic whiteness is toxic whiteness is toxic whiteness. The result of this scientific muddle-brained thinking is that the white-racism-is- culprit- theory is beyond falsification.
Actually, to be fair, theory confirmation can occur when the levels of Racist evil fall to 0.0 on the Racism Scale but how do we empirically establish this “0” point? Not easy given the belief that society might only appear free of white racism, especially since blacks can unknowingly internalize it despite their blackness (think black teachers in all-black Detroit to explain bad test scores). And whites can be asymptomatic or guilty of imperceptible dog whistle racism.
Here’s the answer to establishing zero white racism: it will be zero only when blacks and whites have identical average SAT scores, bar exam pass rates, out of wedlock births rates, murder rates, home ownership levels, infant mortality rates, drug abuse levels, identical life expectancies and incomes, proportional Nobel Prize awards and lots, lots more. Any remaining gap, regardless of where found and size, would be proof of lingering white racism since, after all, that is the source, and only source, of all gaps. Put formally, the independent variable (white racism) is thus measured by values of the dependent variable (gaps). The new frontier of statistical analysis.
A further fly in the ointment is that since the existence of toxic racism is often necessarily subjective, the likelihood of everybody agreeing on the extinction of racism is nil. Surely the Theory does not permit confirming the Utopian 0.0 level of venomousness by majority vote. Now, since there will always be white racism, and since any (unspecified) level of this toxicity drives black misery, de-toxification must necessarily be ongoing, if not perpetual, and with every greater coercion as past failure mount.
A racial version of Zeno’s Paradox is inevitable—America can go from .5 racism to .25 to .125 and even .00078125 on and on, but it will never be free of racism since the effects of racism will always be evident, somewhere, in unequal outcomes or beliefs about unequal outcomes. To paraphrase George Wallace, White racism today, white racism tomorrow, white racism forever.
Needless to say, assuming that zero racism, like zero degrees Kelvin, is reachable, the cost of attaining zero white racism would, in all likelihood, be exponential given past experience with narrowing gaps. What would it take, for example, to cut the black/white homicide gap by a factor of eight? Or asset differences by a factor of ten? And on and on across multiple substantial and enduring race-related gaps?
Chasing this unreachable fantasy of total de-toxification necessarily requires enormous coercion since not even spending the entire GNP would suffice. Only draconian laws and administrative dictates could ensure that blacks and whites were educationally identical, earned the same salaries, were equally incarcerated, suffered equal drug addiction rates and on and on. Remember, any gap “demonstrates” the persistence of white racism and thus achieving racial justice requires harsher and harsher exorcisms.
Can fervent racial egalitarians ever be convinced to abandon this fantasy? Reasoned discussions are pointless. Forget arguing about financial constraints—money from white taxpayers is never a restraint, especially among the innumerate. Ditto for demonstrating the unscientific nature of this “theory” of Great Evil–too complicated and would probably be interpreted as a white ruse (”white science”) to subjugate blacks. What about empirically demonstrating that whites are not especially racist or that racism has seriously declined? Irrelevant since, as per theory of toxicity, a racism score of .25 or even .05 is just as debilitating as a score of .5 (and who can disagree given zero data or, for that matter, no efforts to collect these data). Nor will the failure of this “white racism did it” theory-of-the-crime vanish simply because anti-racism efforts fail. If anything, shifting the blame entirely to whites will reduce “agency” among blacks and probably only widen racial gaps, but this irony hardly disturbs the faithful. Actually, increasing pathology will be a boon for the close-the-gap anti-racism industry.
Extinction will arrive politically. Whites will eventually realize that putting the onus on whites for all black woes is but extortion and, as for all similar tactics, it has its political limits. There are inescapable budgetary constraints, legal barriers governing racial preferences and norms regarding fairness. More important, American politics is Newtonian–pushes and counter-pushes, and African American activists are not the only players in the game. The pay-me-for-my-victimization game is highly permeable, and those dispensing the goodies regularly confront cries of sexism, homophobia, ageism, Islamophobia and countless other claims on the public trough. In all likelihood The Great White Racism theory of the crime will eventually gradually loose its allure, just as religious fervor wilts with time, and today’s believer will move on to some new, more exhilarating dogma.
Robert Weissberg, American Thinker
2020 was GloboCap Year Zero. The year when the global capitalist ruling classes did away with the illusion of democracy and reminded everyone who is actually in charge, and exactly what happens when anyone challenges them.
In the relatively short span of the last ten months, societies throughout the world have been transformed beyond recognition. Constitutional rights have been suspended. Protest has been banned. Dissent is being censored. Government officials are issuing edicts restricting the most basic aspects of our lives … where we can go, when we can go there, how long we are allowed to spend there, how many friends we are allowed to meet there, whether and when we can spend time with our families, what we are allowed to say to each other, who we can have sex with, where we have to stand, how we are allowed to eat and drink, etc. The list goes on and on.
The authorities have assumed control of the most intimate aspects of our daily lives. We are being managed like inmates in a prison, told when to eat, sleep, exercise, granted privileges for good behavior, punished for the slightest infractions of an ever-changing set of arbitrary rules, forced to wear identical, demeaning uniforms (albeit only on our faces), and otherwise relentlessly bullied, abused, and humiliated to keep us compliant.
None of which is accidental, or has anything to do with any actual virus, or any other type of public health threat. Yes, before some of you go ballistic, I do believe there is an actual virus, which a number of people have actually died from, or which at least has contributed to their deaths … but there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any authentic public health threat that remotely justifies the totalitarian emergency measures we are being subjected to or the damage that is being done to society. Whatever you believe about the so-called “pandemic,” it really is as simple as that. Even if one accepts the official “science,” you do not transform the entire planet into a pathologized-totalitarian nightmare in response to a health threat of this nature.
The notion is quite literally insane.
GloboCap is not insane, however. They know exactly what they are doing … which is teaching us a lesson, a lesson about power. A lesson about who has it and who doesn’t. For students of history it’s a familiar lesson, a standard in the repertoire of empires, not to mention the repertoire of penal institutions.
The name of the lesson is “Look What We Can Do to You Any Time We Fucking Want.” The point of the lesson is self-explanatory. The USA taught the world this lesson when it nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki. GloboCap (and the US military) taught it again when they invaded Iraq and destabilized the entire Greater Middle East. It is regularly taught in penitentiaries when the prisoners start to get a little too unruly and remember that they outnumber the guards. That’s where the “lockdown” concept originated. It isn’t medical terminology. It is penal institution terminology.
As we have been experiencing throughout 2020, the global capitalist ruling classes have no qualms about teaching us this lesson. It’s just that they would rather not to have to unless it’s absolutely necessary. They would prefer that we believe we are living in “democracies,” governed by the “rule of law,” where everyone is “free,” and so on. It’s much more efficient and much less dangerous than having to repeatedly remind us that they can take away our “democratic rights” in a heartbeat, unleash armed goon squads to enforce their edicts, and otherwise control us with sheer brute force.
People who have spent time in prison, or who have lived in openly totalitarian societies, are familiar with being ruled by brute force. Most Westerners are not, so it has come as a shock. The majority of them still can’t process it. They cannot see what is staring them in the face. They cannot see it because they can’t afford to see it. If they did, it would completely short-circuit their brains. They would suffer massive psychotic breakdowns, and become entirely unable to function, so their psyches will not allow them to see it.
Others, who see it, can’t quite accept the simplicity of it (i.e., the lesson being taught), so they are proposing assorted complicated theories about what it is and who is behind it … the Great Reset, China, the Illuminati, Transhumanism, Satanism, Communism, whatever. Some of these theories are at least partially accurate. Others are utter bull-goose lunacy.
They all obscure the basic point of the lesson.
The point of the lesson is that GloboCap — the entire global-capitalist system acting as a single global entity — can, virtually any time it wants, suspend the Simulation of Democracy, and crack down on us with despotic force. It can (a) declare a “global pandemic” or some other type of “global emergency,” (b) cancel our so-called “rights,” (c) have the corporate media bombard us with liesand propaganda for months, (d) have the Internet companies censor any and all forms of dissent and evidence challenging said propaganda, (e) implement all kinds of new intrusive “safety” and “security” measures, including but not limited to the physical violation of our bodies … and so on. I think you get the picture. (The violation of our bodies is important, which is why they love “cavity searches” in prison, and why the torture-happy troops at Abu Ghraib were obsessed with sexually violating their victims.)
And the “pandemic” is only one part of the lesson. The other part is being forced to watch (or permitted to watch, depending on your perspective) as GloboCap makes an example of Trump, as they made examples of Corbyn and Sanders, as they made examples of Saddam and Gaddafi, and other “uncooperative” foreign leaders, as they will make an example of any political figurehead that challenges their power. It does not matter to GloboCap that such political figureheads pose no real threat. The people who rally around them do. Nor does it make the slightest difference whether these figureheads or the folks who support them identify as “left” or “right.” GloboCap could not possibly care less. The figureheads are just the teaching materials in the lesson that they are teaching us.
And now, here we are, at the end of the lesson … not the end of the War on Populism, just the end of this critical Trumpian part of it. Once the usurper has been driven out of office, the War on Populism will be folded back into the War on Terror, or the War on Extremism, or whatever GloboCap decides to call it … the name hardly matters. It is all the same war.
Whatever they decide to call it, this is GloboCap Year Zero. It is time for reeducation, my friends. It is time for cultural revolution. No, not communist cultural revolution … global capitalist cultural revolution. It is time to flush the aberration of the last four years down the memory hole, and implement global “New Normal” Gleichschaltung, to make sure that this never happens again.
Oh, yes, things are about to get “normal.” Extremely “normal.” Suffocatingly “normal.” Unimaginably oppressively “normal.” And I’m not just talking about the “Coronavirus measures.” This has been in the works for the last four years.
Remember, back in 2016, when everyone was so concerned about “normality,” and how Trump was “not normal,” and must never be “normalized?” Well, here we are. This is it. This is the part where GloboCap restores “normality,” a “new normality,” a pathologized-totalitarian “normality,” a “normality” which tolerates no dissent and demands complete ideological conformity.
From now on, when the GloboCap Intelligence Community and their mouthpieces in the corporate media tell you something happened, that thing will have happened, exactly as they say it happened, regardless of whether it actually happened, and anyone who says it didn’t will be labeled an “extremist,” a “conspiracy theorist,” a “denier,” or some other meaningless epithet. Such un-persons will be dealt with ruthlessly. They will be censored, deplatformed, demonetized, decertified, rendered unemployable, banned from traveling, socially ostracized, hospitalized, imprisoned, or otherwise erased from “normal” society.
You will do what you are told. You will not ask questions. You will believe whatever they tell you to believe. You will believe it, not because it makes any sense, but simply because you have been ordered to believe it. They aren’t trying to trick or deceive anybody. They know their lies don’t make any sense. And they know that you know they don’t make any sense. They want you to know it. That is the point. They want you to know they are lying to you, manipulating you, openly mocking you, and that they can say and do anything they want to you, and you will go along with it, no matter how insane.
If they order you to take a fucking vaccine, you will not ask what is in the vaccine, or start whining about the “potential side effects.” You will shut up and take the fucking vaccine. If they tell you to put a mask on your kid, you will put a fucking mask on your fucking kid. You will not go digging up Danish studiesproving the pointlessness of putting masks on kids. If they tell you the Russians rigged the election, then the Russians rigged the fucking election. And, if, four years later, they turn around and tell you that rigging an election is impossible, then rigging an election is fucking impossible. It isn’t an invitation to debate. It is a GloboCap-verified fact-checked fact. You will stand (or kneel) in your designated, color-coded, social-distancing box and repeat this verified fact-checked fact, over and over, like a fucking parrot, or they will discover some new mutant variant of virus and put you back in fucking “lockdown.” They will do this until you get your mind right, or you can live the rest of your life on Zoom, or tweeting content that no one but the Internet censors will ever see into the digital void in your fucking pajamas. The choice is yours … it’s is all up to you!
Or … I don’t know, this is just a crazy idea, you could turn off the fucking corporate media, do a little fucking research on your own, grow a backbone and some fucking guts, and join the rest of us “dangerous extremists” who are trying to fight back against the New Normal. Yes, it will cost you, and we probably won’t win, but you won’t have to torture your kids on airplanes, and you don’t even have to “deny” the virus!
That’s it … my last column of 2020. Happy totalitarian holidays!
C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volumes I and II of his Consent Factory Essays are published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.
Christmas in California has effectively been cancelled by Emperor Gavin Newsom.
And now it looks like here in L.A. we’re going to be locked in our basements by the local yahoos in charge until February.
But the continuing destruction of normal social and economic life in California in the name of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is old news.
Instead, let’s talk about the yahoos in Washington who are continuing to screw up the whole country.
The federal yahoos, it’s no surprise, are the slippery politicians in Congress.
Mostly Democrats but also some Republicans, for a decade they haven’t had the decency or courage to pass an annual appropriations bill to pay for the bloated and wasteful federal government they’ve built.
By midnight Friday these yahoos have to pass another one of their short-term continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown.
It’ll be nothing special. For fiscal year 2021 – which began Oct. 1 – continuing resolutions have already been needed twice.
Last week Congress passed a continuing resolution that lasted only a week. If they sign a third “CR” Friday at midnight, it’ll probably last as little as two days.
It’s all pretty embarrassing, but continuing resolutions and midnight voting deadlines are how the annual federal budgeting process works these days in the world’s richest nation.
The process should be for Congress to pass 12 specific spending bills to pay for government things like transportation, the military, etc., by Sept. 30 every fiscal year.
But for ten years our public servants in Congress have not been able to get their act together to pass the 12 appropriations bills.
Instead, what they’ve done is combine several of the spending bills into gigantic omnibus bills that are packed with all kinds of goodies to reward donors and special interests or to fund federally funded local boondoggles that otherwise would never have the votes to pass.
It’s been a sweet racket for these yahoos.
They’ve found out that if they don’t pass the omnibus bills by Sept. 30 like they’re supposed to they can use a continuing resolution and the threat of a government shutdown to scare the public and get their crappy stuff passed unnoticed in huge spending bills.
The sad thing is these yahoos have been playing this dirty game in Washington for a long time, but no one ever holds them accountable and the media never tell the story.
Both parties do it. Both are to blame. It’s mostly Democrats who engage it, but it’s Republicans that don’t say anything. They all play along.
The same yahoos in Washington who’ll be passing the latest continuing resolution late Friday night are also at this moment dragging out the passage of a COVID-19 stimulus bill to the last possible minute.
It looks like they’ll be wheeling and dealing through the weekend to pass the much needed $900 billion bill.
The COVID-19 stimulus bill would have been passed several months ago but the Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used it as a political weapon.
They didn’t want Donald Trump’s re-election campaign to benefit from a second stimulus package.
Plus, imitating the way they operate on annual appropriations bills, they took advantage of a national crisis and tried to load up the stimulus bill with hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of presents for their pet special interests and to bail out badly run Democrat cities and bankrupt states like Illinois.
No American should shed a tear for any member of Congress this weekend, even if they have to work 24/7 on the stimulus bill and eat vending machine food from now until New Year’s.
They haven’t missed a paycheck all year. They’re going to make sure they have a merry Christmas. But they’ve basically said “Bah humbug” to the rest of us.
Even as the president’s legal team continues to dispute election results in battleground states with large numbers of questionable mail-in ballots and election anomalies, Establishment Washington is pushing Donald Trump out the door. What it failed to accomplish through four years of Deep State sabotage and bipartisan efforts at thwarting the MAGA agenda, the D.C. Club may have finally succeeded through good old-fashioned vote fraud. The District of Corruption is salivating over the possibility of freeing itself from a foe who has singlehandedly damaged the Swamp forever.
No victory could be more pyrrhic.
Forcing Donald Trump from the presidency while half of all likely voters believe the election was stolen from him (including a stunning one-third of Democrats) would backfire on Washington spectacularly. Trump is too ferocious a competitor and too powerful a cultural force to ever disappear into a retirement not of his choosing. At least 75 million Americans voted for the president because, among other reasons, he is seen as an “outsider.” Now Washington insists on making him a martyr, as well.
What will happen if President Trump leaves office in January? He will instantly become the most consequential and powerful ex-president Americans have seen. Making Donald Trump a one-term president will become Establishment Washington’s biggest nightmare.
(1) Biden’s Number One Critic
There’s no way that Donald Trump follows in the footsteps of George Washington by quietly retreating from public life and leaving his successor to lead unscrutinized. Obama has been the most vocal ex-president to date, both questioning Donald Trump’s judgment as president, as well as fanning the flames of the debunked Russia hoax. An ex-president Trump will make Obama look like a piker by comparison.
Biden’s commitment to re-enter the Paris Agreement and backtrack from America’s hydrocarbon energy independence achieved under President Trump has the potential to take an American economy struggling to recover from a year of pandemic lockdowns and kill it overnight. Donald Trump will loudly blame his successor.
Biden has signaled his intent to breathe life into Obama’s Iran Deal after the Trump administration has spent four years weakening Iran’s influence in the Middle East. After helping to foster peace in the region by securing historic trade deals between Israel and many of her longtime adversaries, President Trump has a vested interest in making sure his efforts are not undone. Should Biden lift up a vulnerable Iran and harm Israel in the process, Donald Trump will loudly blame his successor.
President Trump has made cutting illegal immigration into the United States a priority. He’s made renegotiating trade deals that have benefitted communist China at the expense of American workers a priority. He’s made bringing troops home by ending “endless wars” a priority. He’s made protecting Americans’ First and Second Amendment rights important priorities.
Biden has promised to expand immigration and refugee resettlement, to end trade confrontations with China, and to leave foreign policy to the “experts.” And in direct conflict with any oath of office, Biden has promised to confiscate Americans’ guns while supporting the same Big Tech companies that have undertaken campaigns of outright censorship against conservatives’ speech.
Donald Trump will loudly blame his successor for the resulting harm — in all its forms — to Americans. He and his supporters will amplify every misstep made by Joe Biden. “Monday morning quarterbacking” will become a seven-day priority for the former president.
(2) King of a Media Empire
Should Twitter and Facebook decide to censor citizen Trump, he might just build his own media empire and create the largest megaphone for his opinions in the country. Businessman Trump has always enjoyed building things from the ground up. Now that Fox News has chosen to chase conservatives away, a market demand for Trump’s politics is waiting to be filled. Newsmax and One America News Network are expanding their audience shares, but a Trump News Network would dominate future conservative television. Social media and corporate news are now actively censoring conservative voices, and conservative voters would flock to whatever platforms Donald Trump constructs. It’s only a matter of time before the president seizes upon those opportunities.
If Establishment Washington believes “Trumpism” will soon recede once its eponymous leader heads south to Florida, the Swamp is sorely mistaken. After leaving office, Donald Trump’s voice is only going to get bigger. Much, much bigger.
(3) De Facto Head of the Republican Party
If Establishment Republicans believe they can reclaim their party once President Trump leaves office, they are naive. Donald Trump just won more votes than any sitting president in history, shattering what Bush, McCain, and Romney were able to garner at the polls. Even before the 2020 election’s outcome has been decisively concluded, recent polling shows that 54% of Republican voters are ready to back President Trump in 2024. Even more striking is this: nearly 70% of Republicans view the president as standing up for their beliefs, as opposed to only 20% who see congressional Republicans as doing the same. If Donald Trump decides he’s running again in 2024, it will be his nomination to lose. If Trump family members or Trump administration veterans decide to run for office on their own, they will become instant frontrunners.
Donald Trump has shined a bright light on Establishment Washington’s failures to secure America’s borders and to protect America’s blue-collar manufacturing workforce. That bright light is not going to fade, and any Republican who thinks the party can return to propping up free trade’s twin mantras of endless immigration and overseas slave labor by proxy is denying reality. If “globalism” wasn’t a dirty word before, President Trump has made it one now. And for the foreseeable future, any Republican seeking higher office will have to respect the new party Donald Trump has created or suffer the consequences at the polls. Certain NeverTrump Republicans may hate him, but they’ll not survive without him.
(4) Potential Destroyer of Both Parties
For the first time since Lincoln’s Republican Party supplanted the Whigs in political power, Donald Trump has built a strong enough coalition of voters cutting across traditional party lines that he could choose to take his voters and erect a new party from the ground up. No Republican has done better with minority voters in the last sixty years than Donald Trump, and no Republican since Reagan has succeeded so strongly with blue-collar workers. If the president decides to “walk away,” he will take tens of millions of American voters disillusioned with both parties, too.
Traditional Democrats who resent their party’s embrace of socialism and working class Republicans who resent their party’s priority of Wall Street over Main Street would make natural allies in a new party. Kanye West, Ice Cube, and Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson have all made it clear that they are not happy with the Democratic Party’s direction, and Donald Trump is in a position to create a political home for those looking for something new. A new party that places a priority on protecting legal immigrants and American workers over foreign labor forces and that treats engagements in new wars as choices of last resort will attract a strong cross-section of American voters. As a master of branding, Donald Trump could choose to diminish permanently the parties as they now exist and build something else entirely from scratch.
Whatever else happens between now and January 20, Donald Trump is not going away. Washington insiders may finally succeed in removing him from office, but they will make him a formidable and powerful ex-president in the process. They may well regret what they’ve accomplished. It’s certain that they have no idea what they’ve created.
J.B. Shurk, American Thinker
Hegel’s death in 1831 inevitably ushered in a new and very different era in the history of Hegelianism. Hegel was supposed to bring about the end of history, but now Hegel was dead, and history continued to march on. So if Hegel himself was not the final culmination of history, then perhaps the Prussian state of Friedrich Wilhelm III was not the final stage of history either. But if it was not the final phase of history, then mightn’t the dialectic of history be getting ready for yet another twist, another Aufhebung?
So reasoned groups of radical youth, who, during the last of the 1830s and 1840s in Germany and elsewhere, formed the movement of Young, or Left, Hegelians. Disillusioned in the Prussian state, the Young Hegelians proclaimed the inevitable coming apocalyptic revolution to destroy and transcend that state, a revolution that would really bring about the end of history in the form of national, or world, communism.
One of the first and most influential of the Left Hegelians was a Pole, Count August Cieszkowski (1814–94), who wrote in German and published in 1838 his Prolegomena to a Historiosophy. Cieszkowski brought to Hegelianism a new dialectic of history, a new variant of the three ages of man. The first age, the age of antiquity, was, for some reason, the age of emotion, the epoch of pure feeling, of no reflective thought, of elemental immediacy and unity with nature. The “spirit” was “in itself” (an sich). The second age of mankind, the Christian era, stretching from the birth of Jesus to the death of the great Hegel, was the age of thought, of reflection, in which the “spirit” moved “toward itself,” in the direction of abstraction and universality. But Christianity, the age of thought, was also an era of intolerable duality, of man separated from God, of spirit separated from matter, and thought from action. Finally, the third and culminating age, the coming age, heralded by Count Cieszkowski, was to be the age of action. In short, the third, post-Hegelian age would be an age of practical action, in which the thought of both Christianity and of Hegel would be transcended and embodied into an act of will, a final revolution to overthrow and transcend existing institutions. For the term “practical action,” Cieszkowski borrowed the Greek word praxis to summarize the new age, a term that would soon come to acquire virtually talismanic influence in Marxism. This final age of action would bring about, at long last, a blessed unity of thought and action, theory and praxis, spirit and matter, God and earth, and total “freedom.” Along with Hegel and the mystics, Cieszkowski stressed that all past events, even those seemingly evil, were necessary to the ultimate and culminating salvation.
In a work published in French in Paris in 1844, Cieszkowski also heralded the new class destined to become the leaders of the revolutionary society: the intelligentsia, a word that had recently been coined by a German-educated Pole, B. F. Trentowski, who had published his work in Prussian-occupied Poznan.1 Cieszkowski thus heralded and glorified a development that would at least be implicit in the Marxist movement (after all, the great Marxists, including Marx, Engels, and Lenin, were all bourgeois intellectuals rather than children of the proletariat). If not in theory, this dominance of Marxist movements and governments by a “new class” of intelligentsia has certainly been the history of Marxism in “praxis.” This dominance by a new class has been noted and attacked from the beginnings of Marxism on to the present day: notably by the anarcho-communist Bakunin, and by the Polish revolutionary Jan Waclaw Machajski (1866–1926), during and after the 1890s.2 It was also a similar insight into the German Social Democratic Party that prompted Robert Michels to abandon Marxism and develop his famous “iron law of oligarchy” — that all organizations, whether private, governmental, or Marxist parties, will inevitably end up being dominated by a power elite.
Cieszkowski, however, was not destined to ride the wave of the future of revolutionary socialism. For he took the Christian messianic, rather than atheistic, path to the new society. In his massive unfinished work of 1848, Our Father (Ojcze nasz), Cieszkowski maintained that the new age of revolutionary communism would be a third age, an age of the Holy Spirit (shades of Joachism!), an era that would bring a Kingdom of God on earth “as it is in heaven.” Thus, the final Kingdom of God on earth would reintegrate all of “organic humanity,” and would erase all national identities, with the world governed by a Central Government of All Mankind, headed by a Universal Council of the People.
But at the time, the path of Christian messianism was not clearly destined to be a loser in the intra-socialist debate. Thus, Alexander Ivanovich Herzen (1812–70), a founder of the Russian revolutionary tradition, was entranced by Cieszkowski’s brand of Left Hegelianism, writing that “the future society is to be the work not of the heart, but of the concrete. Hegel is the new Christ bringing the word of truth to men.”3 And soon, Bruno Bauer, friend and mentor of Karl Marx and the leader of the Doktorklub of Young Hegelians at the University of Berlin, hailed the new philosophy of action in late 1841 as “The Trumpet Call of the Last Judgment.”4
But the winning strand in the European socialist movement, as we have indicated, was eventually to be Karl Marx’s atheism. If Hegel had pantheized and elaborated the dialectic of Christian messianics, Marx now “stood Hegel on his head” by atheizing the dialectic, and resting it, not on mysticism or religion or “spirit” or the absolute idea or the world-mind, but on the supposedly solid and “scientific” foundation of philosophical materialism. Marx adopted his materialism from the Left Hegelian Ludwig Feuerbach, particularly his work on The Essence of Christianity (1843). In contrast to the Hegelian emphasis on “spirit,” Marx would study the allegedly scientific laws of matter in some way operating through history. Marx, in short, took the dialectic and made it what we can call a “materialist dialectic of history.”
A lot of unnecessary pother has been made about terminology here. Many Marxist apologists have fiercely maintained that Marx himself never used the term “dialectical materialism” — as if mere nonuse of the terms lets Marx off the hook — and also that the concept only appeared in such later works of Engels as the Anti-Dühring. But the Anti-Dühring, published before Marx’s death, was, like all other such writings of Engels, cleared with Marx first, and so we have to assume that Marx approved.5
The fuss stems from the fact that the term “dialectical materialism” was widely stressed by the Marxist-Leninist movement of the 1930s and 1940s, these days generally discredited. The concept was applied by Engels, who of the two founders was particularly interested in the natural sciences, to biology. Applied to biology, as Engels did in the Anti-Dühring, dialectical materialism has an unmistakably crazy air. In an ultra-Hegelian manner, logic and logical contradictions, or “negations,” are hopelessly confused with the processes of reality. Thus: butterflies “come into existence from the egg through negation [or transcendence] of the egg … they are negated again as they die.” And “the barley corn … is negated and is supplanted by the barley plant, the negation of the corn. … The plant grows … is fructified and produces again barleycorns and as soon as these are ripe, the ear withers away, is negated. As a result of this negation of the negation we have gained the original barley corn … in a quantity ten, twenty, or thirty times larger.”6
Furthermore, Marx himself, and not only Engels, was also very interested in Darwin and in biological science. Marx wrote to Engels that Darwin’s work “serves me as a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history” and that “this is the book which contains the basis in natural history for our view.”7
By recasting the dialectic in materialist and atheist terms, however, Marx gave up the powerful motor of the dialectic as it operated throughout history: either Christian messianism or providence or the growing self-consciousness of the world spirit. How could Marx find a “scientific” materialist replacement, newly grounded in the ineluctable “laws of history” that would explain the inevitability of the imminent apocalyptic transformation of the world into communism? It is one thing to base the prediction of a forthcoming Armageddon upon the Bible; it is quite another to deduce this event from allegedly scientific laws. Setting forth the specifics of this engine of history was to occupy Karl Marx for the rest of his life.
Although Marx found Feuerbach indispensable for adopting a thoroughgoing atheist and materialist position, Marx soon found that Feuerbach had not gone nearly far enough. Even though Feuerbach was a philosophical communist, he basically believed that if man forswore religion, then his alienation from his self would be over. To Marx, religion was only one of the problems. The entire world of man (the Menschenwelt) was alienating, and had to be radically overthrown, root and branch. Only apocalyptic destruction of this world of man would permit true human nature to be realized. Only then would the existing “un-man” (Unmensch) truly become man (Mensch). As Marx thundered in the fourth of his “theses on Feuerbach,” “one must proceed to destroy [the] earthly family [as it is] “both in theory and in practice.”8
In particular, declared Marx, true man, as Feuerbach had argued, is a “communal being” (Gemeinwesen) or “species being” (Gattungswesen). Although the state as it exists must be negated or transcended, man’s participation in the state operates as such a communal being. The main problem comes in the private sphere, the market, or “civil society,” in which un-man acts as an egoist, as a private person, treating others as means, and not collectively as masters of their fate. And in existing society, unfortunately, civil society is primary, while the state, or “political community,” is secondary. What must be done to realize the full nature of mankind is to transcend the state and civil society by politicizing all of life, by making all of man’s actions collective. Then real individual man will become a true and full “species being.”9
But only a revolution, an orgy of destruction, can accomplish this task. And here, Marx harkened back to the call for total destruction that had animated his vision of the world in poems of his youth. Indeed, in a speech in London in 1856, Marx was to give graphic and loving expression to this goal of his “praxis.” He mentioned that in Germany in the Middle Ages there existed a secret tribunal called the Vehmgericht. He then explained: “If a red cross was seen marked on a house, people knew that its owner was doomed by the Vehm. All the houses of Europe are now marked with the mysterious red cross. History is the judge — its executioner the proletarian.”10
Marx, in fact, was not satisfied with the philosophical communism to which he and Engels had separately been converted by the slightly older Left Hegelian Moses Hess (1812–75) in the early 1840s. To Hess’s communism, Marx, by the end of 1843, added the crucial emphasis on the proletariat, not simply as an economic class, but as destined to become the “universal class” when communism was achieved. As we have indicated above, Marx actually acquired his vision of the proletariat as the key to the communist revolution from the 1842 work of Lorenz von Stein, an enemy of socialism, who interpreted the socialist and communist movements as rationalizations of the class interests of the proletariat. Marx discovered in Stein’s attack the “scientific” engine for the inevitable coming of the communist revolution. The proletariat, the most “alienated” and allegedly “propertyless” class, would be the key.
Marx had now worked out the outline of his secular messianic vision: a material dialectic of history, with the final apocalyptic revolution to be achieved by the proletariat. But how specifically was this to be accomplished? Vision was not enough. What scientific laws of history could bring about this cherished goal? Fortunately, Marx had a crucial ingredient for his attempted solution close at hand: in the Saint-Simonian concept of human history as driven by an inherent struggle among economic classes. The class struggle along with historical materialism was to be an essential ingredient for the Marxian material dialectic.
Murray N. Rothbard, Mises Institute
Is it time for Joe Biden to hire a food-taster?
Seems the buildup is out there for Kamala Harris to become the Democrats’ next president.
Take the word of professional bloviator Tom Friedman, President Obama’s past and maybe present golf buddy, who wrote a particularly ridiculous New York Times column, headlined “Kamala Harris Deserves a More Important Job.”
In this column, he lays out the proposal that Harris become Biden’s rural ambassador, winning back the rural vote for the Democrats, as if she were the perfect fit.
Harris is too smart and energetic to be just the vice president, a position with few official responsibilities. I’d love to see President-elect Joe Biden give her a more important job: his de facto secretary of rural development, in charge of closing the opportunity gap, the connectivity gap, the learning gap, the start-up gap — and the anger and alienation gap — between rural America and the rest of the country.
President Trump feasted off those gaps in our last two presidential elections to dominate Democrats in rural America. Putting Harris in charge of fixing them would be a real statement by the Biden team.
Too smart? This person who couldn’t get into a top-tier university even with a dad who taught at Stanford? Who flunked the California bar? Who giggled like this when asked if she was a socialist? “Smart” isn’t the word that comes to mind.
Friedman then goes on to propose her for something she is likely to flunk out at even more than mere academics — making her the Biden rural czar.
Harris, recall, washed out big-time in Iowa, a state with a significant rural population. She grumbled about moving to and living in Iowa as she pursued votes during the Democrat primaries, and nobody jumped on. Rural voters there read her as a phony and went instead for Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, or Biden. Fat-cat donors weren’t impressed, either. Harris dropped out of the presidential race shortly after that, failing to win a single delegate. She was viewed as a phony elsewhere, too.
But Friedman thinks she’d be just dandy for winning back rural voters lost by Democrats, whom he notes, a small chunk of are not white. Biden, who claims roots in Scranton, could not do it, but Harris, who grew up in Berkeley, California and Canada, and has never lived on a farm, would somehow be perfect.
Friedman says she could start by bringing them broadband, on the logic that her big-name Silicon Valley political donors make her tech-savvy. Writing code, it seems, is something that rubs off, just by taking Silicon Valley money, which certainly explains why Joe Biden thinks coal-miners can do it as a fallback after he shut down the mines. Harris knows nothing about tech or code; her background, in fact, is as a prosecutor, putting small fry in prison for petty marijuana offenses and not letting them out when their terms were done, something that won’t wear well among the rural powerless. Harris as the new rural czar? He must be joking.
The bottom line here, if Friedman’s not slyly trying to set Harris up for failure, is that he’s gotten a flying start in trying to build her up. It’s a little early for this, but here we are.
We see this Harris-buildup a lot in various other things, too. The sudden media concern for Harris’s rival, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and her failing faculties, a long story in the making, is likely the press doing the bidding of Harris, who no doubt would like some political payback on her fellow senator who refused to support her and condescendingly dismissed her as a parvenu outsider. I blogged about that here. And don’t think she’s not capable of it — she planted negative stories on her potential rivals in the press for Biden’s veep slot to knock them out and seems to have known in advance about the Jussie Smollett hoax. Much earlier in her career, she slept her way to the top.
But the signs of a buildup are everywhere in the press — wherever she is found, lots of boring drivel on all her historic “firsts” but also very specific talk about succession.
Take this CNN puff piece, claiming that Harris was “studying up” like an earnest student, something she always was not, on the vice presidency of Joe Biden:
That dynamic was clear this week when Harris was asked on ABC what the “definition of success” would be when she looks back on her four years as vice president.
“Joe Biden’s success,” Harris quickly said.
What a suck-up, a fact visible to everyone but CNN.
But more to the point, there’s talk about her next job, something she’s said to have always been about:
Beyond loyalty, there will also be another unmistakable dynamic at play between Biden and Harris: succession. Those close to Harris know that almost anything she does over the next four years will be viewed as possible positioning for another presidential bid, a fact that could test her relationship with longtime Biden aides if they perceive she is putting her future aspirations ahead of the current administration.
A key aspect of these concerns is the specter of Biden not running for reelection in 2024, thereby opening up a Democratic free-for-all in the final years of his first term. Biden, looking to avoid becoming a lame duck before he takes office, has said nothing about running for reelection in four years.
But by picking Harris, Biden has elevated his onetime rival to a remarkably powerful position should he not run in four years. And aside from his decision to nominate Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, Biden’s Cabinet picks have not elevated any potential competitors to a prospective Harris campaign.
Biden loyalists are expected to be defensive of the suggestion that Harris is positioning herself for a run in four years.
“I think their relationship will be great,” said someone who has worked with Harris. “I think it remains to be seen whether top staff will want her to be a top adviser.”
So the Biden people don’t trust her, which is about par, given that Biden was muscled into taking her as his veep both by his own folly and by the political muscle of the California political machine, which assured that she would stay loyal.
Oh, and CNN’s court eunuchs throw this bit of born-to-rule flattery to Harris, too:
Being second-in-command will be a new role for Harris, who ever since she was district attorney of San Francisco in 2004 has been the top person in all offices she’s held.
She’s getting lots of flattering press of this kind now — proposals for bigger jobs, slams of rivals, and plans for succession, wrapped in sugar-coated puffery, even though she has yet to have served as vice president for a day. The only thing that can be concluded is that “it has started” — the press’s road to a Kamala presidency. The one consolation about this press buildup now at Joe’s expense is that it didn’t work in Iowa, and who knows? It might not work in the rest of America. But for sure, they are trying — a buildup for a new Washington starlet is building.
Monica Showalter, American Thinker
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