“Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?” (Who will guard the guards themselves?)
-Roman poet Juvenal, Satires, VI. 347
“In September 1994, a video was leaked to the Canadian press of John Snobelen, Canada’s minister of education, telling a closed-door meeting of civil servants that before cuts to education and other unpopular reforms could be announced, a climate of panic needed to be created that painted a more dire picture than he ‘would be inclined to talk about.” He called it “creating a useful crisis.’”
-pg. 326 Klein, Naomi The Shock Doctrine Picador 2007. Emphasis added.
“One will have to ask whether it could conceivably make sense to think of deliberately provoking a crisis so as to remove the political logjam to reform. For example, it has sometimes been suggested in Brazil that it would be worthwhile stoking up a hyperinflation so as to scare everyone into accepting those changes...Presumably no one with historical foresight would have advocated in the mid-1930s that Germany or Japan go to war in order to get the benefits of the supergrowth that followed their defeat. But could a lesser crisis have served the same function? Is it possible to conceive of a pseudo-crisis that could serve the same positive function without the cost of a real crisis?”
-pg. 323, ibid. John Williamson addressing the finance ministers and central bank chiefs in attendance at the 1993 conference “The Political Economy of Policy Reform.” Emphasis added.
“An aircraft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft...At a designated time the duplicate would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be boarded with the selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone...[from a] rendezvous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly to an auxiliary field at Eglin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will begin transmitting the international distress frequency a ‘May Day’ message stating he is under attack by Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by the destruction of the aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal.”
-Operation Northwoods plan pg. 10. Northwoods was drawn up and unanimously approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a means of gaining the approval of the American people for a second invasion of Cuba through the construction of false flag events including a fake hijacking, terror attacks by purportedly pro-Castro terrorists in U.S. cities, and the above documented fake shoot down of an American passenger plane full of civilians. President Kennedy rejected the plan outright. You may refer
to the complete Northwoods documents here:
The government, which for my own purposes I refer to as being synonymous with the state, exists to promote, defend, and expand the rights and liberties of its citizens. This is the commonly stated reason for a government or state to exist: as a mutual outgrowth of the common interests of the citizens who make up the purported ruling class in a democracy or a republic with democratic elections on matters that do not extend to the erosion of individual rights. In the former type of state, all matters are up for majoritarian vote. In the latter type of state, we don’t put matters like freedom of speech or religion to a vote. They are rights, rights which supersede majoritarian influence and input.
Outside of these mutual interests which make up the foundation for a state’s existence, there is no reason for the state to exist. The state’s purpose is primarily to acknowledge its purpose and to serve it efficiently. A state which fails to promote, defend, or expand the life and liberties of its citizens is a pox upon their society. It is evil in the biblical sense, for in the Bible, the Hebrew word ra was the word for evil. It essentially meant that a thing had been turned against its purpose, so that it no longer accomplished what it was meant and even created to accomplish, but it actually was turned to accomplish the destruction of its intended end.
Welcome, my readers, to the modern state. Welcome to statism as we know it. The latter example in my opening quotes to this section outlines the state, our state, to be exact, outlining a means to engineer consent to war by faking a shoot down of a civilian aircraft over Cuba. Operation Northwoods had the unanimous consent of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time of its development, and only the rejection of President John F. Kennedy prevented the U.S. federal government and its agencies from mounting a series of terror attacks and bombings, a series of faked attacks on U.S. military ships in Guantanamo Bay, and even the possible faked shoot down of a U.S. Air Force jet over Cuba.
In the case of the terrorist bombings, the United States government was essentially conspiring to kill U.S. citizens in order to provoke the wider population to assent to its desire for war. The Joint Chiefs and their subordinates who drafted, composed, and ultimately submitted this odious plan to the President of the United States were not arrested for conspiracy to commit treason. They were not demoted or fired for crimes against the Constitution. On the contrary, they retained their employment, and their wages were paid for by your parents and grandparents, the very people who might have been victimized by their nefarious plotting had they lived in Miami or Washington, and had Operation Northwoods actually been authorized by the President. It’s a breathtaking thought, when you consider it: a government conspiring to kill the very citizens it ostensibly exists to defend in order to manufacture consent amongst their survivors in the nation-state for a war against another state whose leaders would have been falsely portrayed as responsible for the attacks.
The modern state seeks to manufacture myth, and sometimes it even seeks to manufacture a mythical crisis by establishing panics among its citizenry in order to compel them to consent to arrangements, reforms, and actions which run counter to their own interest but are quite in alignment with the ideological beliefs of those who occupy positions of power as stewards of the national interest. The people who do these sorts of things are traitors. They are beneath contempt. To conspire to kill your own countrymen, to conspire to kill anyone else, for that matter, knowing that your actions will lead to a full scale military conflict with grave implications for civilians and military personnel alike is not only despicable, it is abhorrent. I oppose capital punishment, but I would be inclined to pull the lever on the gallows myself for these sorts of individuals.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodies, indeed. Who will guard the guards themselves? The state tells us that we will. We, the electorate, will foist accountability on those responsible for such travesty and treachery at the polls every two years. Here’s the problem with that idea: after Operation Northwoods was rejected by President Kennedy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered the evidence destroyed. We might never have found out about Operation Northwoods, which was essentially a plot by the government against its own citizens, but for the fact that the orders were not fully complied with. A copy survived, and with the online publication of 1521 pages of previously classified military records by the John F. Kennedy Assassinations Review Board on November 18, 1997, Operation Northwoods became public. Essentially, the revelation that the U.S. government was conspiring against the life and liberty of its own citizens in order to mislead them into war was one of history’s little accidents.
This sort of diseased reasoning, this infected logic, reflects a deeper moral and ethical problem within our leadership. It reveals that the people we most trust, the individuals we elect to office in order to navigate the ship of state on our behalf, and the officers whom they appoint, are essentially bankrupt of any sense of obligation or responsibility to us. We are pawns to them. We certainly aren’t their superiors, and our betterment and preservation are not the driving motivation of their public service. They don’t have a problem with killing a few of us in order to manufacture consent to a war which will result in the deaths of many others among our ranks in order to advance their ideological ends. They have no concept of or care for the human costs of their actions. The implications on the lives of countless small people and the republic in which we exist, a republic which exists solely to defend and promote the life, the liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of its citizens is irrelevant to them. They see a bigger picture beyond such small and quaint notions, and that picture is one of their ideological utopia. We are governed by sociopathic ideologues.
Operation Northwoods was crafted in 1962. Can you imagine how the thinking of our ideologues and thinkers has evolved since then? What fruit can arise from such diseased roots? You can believe for yourself that Operation Northwoods was an isolated incident, but the reality is this: our leaders routinely engage in such tradeoffs and ache for crises to arise which they can then capitalize on in order to implement their desired objectives.
The second quote I employed in the opening was that of John Williamson, an economist affiliated with World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, both of which have the ostensible purpose of helping the world’s developing nation’s rise out of poverty and into full membership in the world’s developed nations, along with the promotion of stability of the international monetary system. Williamson hosted an event on January 13, 1993 which was attended by present and former finance ministers from Spain, Brazil, and Poland, central bank heads from Turkey and Peru, the chief of staff for the president of Mexico, and the former president of Panama; along with the Polish reformer Leszek Balcerowicz, who had ushered in Western style economic reforms which put Poland in a state of economic crisis; Anne Krueger, who would go on to glory as the first deputy managing director of the IMF; and Jeffrey Sachs, who had achieved quite a bit of fame for himself by advising Russia and former Soviet bloc countries to voluntarily devalue their own currencies, thereby throwing their populations into poverty and price shortages (Klein, 320).
With that guest list, you can understand how extraordinary it would be for a prominent economist affiliated with two powerful institutions whose missions were defined as the promotion of international monetary stability and assisting developing nations mature into developed status speaking on the merits of possibly deliberating engineering a currency crisis in the developing country of Brazil. In short, rather than promoting stability, Williamson was talking about deliberately engineering instability in the form of hyperinflation. For those of you who don’t understand what hyperinflation is, it is a form of extreme currency devaluation over a very short period of time, usually in the hundreds or thousands of percents, and the net result is that the currency you have in your pocket isn’t worth the paper and ink used to print it up. You can’t buy anything. You can’t buy food, because the price is too high. Your access to water is limited as well, as you cannot pay your utilities. You may even lose your home or your shelter, as you will not be able to afford a mortgage payment or a lease. Medical treatment and access to medication also become unaffordable. In short, it is entirely foreseeable that individuals might die, as they cannot afford food, water, shelter, or medical care. They have money, but their money is worthless.
Why did Williamson want to do such a thing to the very sorts of countries he purportedly was trying to help? To force them to consent to reforms which in normal circumstances would have been unthinkable. He wanted to force their democratic consent through a crisis. If a few individuals died or suffered through the manufactured crisis, that was to be expected. There will be martyrs on the way to Utopia. So long as they come from the ranks of those individuals who are not fortunate enough to be invited to conferences like Williamson’s “The Political Economy of Policy Reform,” it is no great bother. They are inconsequential people who must be sacrificed for the grand vision of those who are consequential and important.
As Williamson put it in his opus “The Political Conditions for Economic Reform,” the speech within his published summation of the conference The Political Economy Economy of Policy Reform, “The worst of times give rise to the best of opportunities for those who understand the need for fundamental economic reform (565).” This arrogant certitude is the hallmark of Leftism. We are right; we are certain of our accuracy; and we are entitled to implement that which we decree is correct regardless of means or the consequences for the lives of others.
Let us refer back to what Williamson said: “One will have to ask whether it could conceivably make sense to think of deliberately provoking a crisis so as to remove the political logjam to reform. For example, it has sometimes been suggested in Brazil that it would be worthwhile stoking up a hyperinflation so as to scare everyone into accepting those changes...Presumably no one with historical foresight would have advocated in the mid-1930s that Germany or Japan go to war in order to get the benefits of the supergrowth that followed their defeat. But could a lesser crisis have served the same function? Is it possible to conceive of a pseudo-crisis that could serve the same positive function without the cost of a real crisis (Klein 323)?”
Williamson is speaking about engineering a crisis in a country he does not hold citizenship or elected office within, in order to scare or force their population to accept the measures he decrees as necessary to their long term benefit. At no time does he acknowledge the human cost of his actions, because to people like John Williamson, humans are mere variables, irrelevant to the ends that they are attempting to achieve. Men can be sacrificed, but the idea cannot be sacrificed; it must be implemented at all costs.
Williamson, like the Joint Chiefs of Staff who came up with Operation Northwoods, is not an elected official. He will never face an election which will function as a judgement on his ideas. Williamson actually seeks to subvert elections, to engineer and foster conditions so desperate that people will drink the sand of his mirage and call it their oasis. He is not content to debate with people he considers to be his inferiors, to put his ideas up against those of others in open and transparent debates and to let the chips fall where they may in a democratic choice. He seeks to avoid an open, honest election or referendum on his ideas at all costs. Williamson and his colleagues and peers are only interested in democratic referendums where they set the terms and conditions beforehand in order to ensure the outcome in their own favor. These are the types of individuals who set policy, who influence rulers, and who move behind the scenes to set the terms foisted upon developing countries desperate to escape the throes of poverty and disease. God help them. John Williamson won’t.
Naomi Klein recounts how in her native country of Canada in the month after Williamson’s conference, a debt panic erupted. The papers and the television programs warned of a coming debt crisis, which would inevitably lead to the destruction of Canada’s credit, and supposedly lead to an inability to borrow. The solution? Cutting government spending on unemployment insurance and healthcare. The ruling Liberal Party responded to these prescriptives by cutting spending in the aforementioned areas (Klein 324).
Two years later, investigate journalist Linda McQuaig revealed that the entire crisis was largely manufactured by businesses seeking to lower taxes with the spending cuts and through the promotion of a panic. The debt problem wasn’t caused by spending, but rather by interest rates which had raised the cost of borrowing and the cost of paying back the existing debt. McQuaig spoke to Vincent Truglia, who was in charge of issuing Canada’s credit rating at Moody’s. Truglia revealed that various Canadian business interests had constantly contacted him and pressured him to lower the credit rating on Canada’s debt, in order to compel the Canadian government to lower spending and cut taxes. Truglia refused on the grounds that he considered Canada to be solid (Klein 325).
As Truglia noted, Canada was “the only country that I handle where, usually, nationals from that country want the country downgraded even more-on a regular basis. They think it’s rated too highly (Klein 325; McQuaig, Linda, Shooting the Hippo: Death by Deficit and Other Canadian Myths Toronto: Penguin 1995 3).” The programs which businesses sought to cut were supported by the majority of Canadians, and only through the introduction of a crisis could the business community hope to influence public sentiment to shift in favor of their program of cutting spending and lowering taxes.
This is how democratic consent is manipulated, through the creation of panics and the instilling of fear and uncertainty among the larger population in order to remove the “political logjam,” as John Williamson characterizes it, which isn’t actually a logjam at all, but rather the democratic consent of the governed which functions as the impediment to a minority’s interest. Through deception and subterfuge, that majoritarian consent can be changed, and the best way to do this is through the deliberate provocation of a crisis. Whether it’s a war, or economic reforms, or tax cuts, or spending increases, the reality is this: Leftism posits that the ends justify the means, and whatever has to be done in order to accomplish those ends must be done without regard or respect for the sanctity of the democratic process or the ideal that the state exists as an extension of the informed consent of the people to do what they want it to do. It’s modern statism, in all of its odious deformity and cancerous implication.
But on to my other quotation, that of Canadian education minister John Snobelen. In 1995, Snobelen’s Progressive Conservative Party won a majority, which effectively led to his appointment as Minister of Education and Training in the government of Mike Harris. Now for a little background on John Snobelen: at the time of his appointment, Snobelen was a successful businessman who made his fortune in the waste business. He owned a business whose primary concern was the disposal of trash. Oh, and Snobelen dropped out of high school in Grade 11.
Not to worry, for Snobelen’s accomplishments in the waste business more than made up for his failure to even complete high school, and so Mike Harris appointed a high school dropout as the minister over his nation’s educational system. Snobelen would be caught on video telling senior bureaucrats under his supervision that “useful crisis” needed to be created (Klein 326; http://www.socialiststudies.com/index.php/sss/article/viewFile/73/67) in order to compel or bring about education reform.
Snobelen’s antagonisms towards the educators he supervised would lead to his eventual removal two years into his tenure, and to a ten day strike by nearly 126,000 teachers in Ontario in October of 1997. Snobelen was never appointed to strengthen education, and it is arguable that as a high school dropout, he was not even remotely qualified to supervise and educational bureaucracy, but he was ideologically compatible with the goals of his party to erode the Canadian educational system in order to conform it to their ideological view of what it ought to be. If that meant provoking or engineering a crisis, in order to present their solutions and programs to the very crisis they had brought about with their intentional mismanagement and sabotage, so be it.
The issue for Snobelen and his cohorts in the Harris government was never their stated desire to cut government or reduce government control in education; on the contrary, their goal was to increase government control at the expense of teachers’ unions by eroding educational funding and collective bargaining agreement. And by Snobelen’s own admission, there was not a crisis pre-existent to his regime. He would need to engineer one.
The simple truth was that Snobelen and his ideological allies simply didn’t like the Canadian educational system in its current form, and they wanted to remake it as they saw fit. They knew that at the time, they could not do so without running the risk of losing power; so they sought to manufacture a crisis in order to move their solutions into place with the engineered consent of the governed. The truth was that without sabotaging the system, and creating the crisis, there would be no democratic outcry for change or redress. Statists ultimately seeks to increase their power through any means possible, including the manufactured crisis, which is their chief means of creating a demand for the types of solutions that statists of various ideological stripes have to offer. The point is never to maintain the government that the majority likes and is fine with; it is to break that government by sabotaging it from within and attributing the breakage to some systemic flaw which, by the way, only your particular brand of panacea is sufficient to repair.
There are any number of ways to accomplish such a breakage. You may appoint a willing co-conspirator like John Snobelen and enlist him to your cause, or you may simply appoint an unqualified and incompetent administrator and watch as things go awry.
Next: Documenting the installation of incompetents...
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Statism and Myth as a Tool of Survival and Perpetuation Part Two: Statism as an Answer to Manufactured or Foreseeable Crisis
Friday, June 11, 2010
The state is the dominant mode of societal organization in our world today. States are proliferating at a rate of 3.1 additional states per year, with the U.N. growing from some 50 members in 1950 to to 191 members today (28, The Untied States of America Enriquez, Juan Crown 2005). Eventually, all states find themselves fracturing this way and that, as the myths which they employ to justify their existence no longer suffice or hold up under the scrutiny of independent minds. Despite the hopes of anarchists, the state continues to multiply at an alarming rate; moreover, despite the hopes of nationalists, the state continues to fragment at an staggering rate.
There are many causes for this, but none are more prominent or as easily identifiable as statism’s chief means of promoting or justifying its existence: the myth. The narrative is the most important tool available to states to promote their existence, and to defend their perpetuation. If you can author and control the narrative until it is mortared into history as fact, you will have achieved immortality for your version of the truth. The greater problem is the inevitable bifurcation between experience and claim on the part of those individuals who follow you.
We teach our children that the United States is essentially a good country, and that its government is noble and trustworthy. We equivocate on those difficult truths of our history by acknowledging that we did fail to honor treaties with Indians, and that we also failed to deliver on our post-slavery promises to the newly freed slaves, but (and but is a very important word in equivocation, perhaps the most important word) that was the way things were done back then. What is important to understand is that the way things were is the way things are. Governments routinely promise one thing and deliver its opposite.
This is the nature of those who rule, or those who covet power, to deliver only on those promises which complement their essential objective: the preservation and expansion of their power. Rulers are not interesting in expanding the power of their own subjects if the expansion of power will result in the constricting of a government’s power. The essential flaw of statism is the assumption that in certain forms of statism such as the republic, the individual can maintain primacy above the state. That is to say, the state will selflessly promote the expansion of individual power, liberty, and self-determination to its own detriment as part of its purpose. To pretend that this is possible is to engage in self-deceit.
A government which promises a certain outcome to a certain group and then fails to deliver upon those promises will ultimately establish for itself a precedent: that it may promise certain things to certain people in the immediate term in order to get them to draw back from their adversarial position, only to delay delivery of those promises into the indefinite future. Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will come out tomorrow, but when tomorrow becomes today, it will be tomorrow, tomorrow yet again. The state inevitably relies upon the very real differences people feel, whether those differences are matters of religion, race, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or identification, or economic status. You see, we do not object so long as the injustice is done to them rather than us. What is more, the state very often enlists us in their campaign by offering us some of the fruit of their unjust harvesting of the assets of others who were deprived of their property and resources by the government.
The problems in such an approach will inevitably lead to deep fissures and bifurcations at a later date, as Juan Enriquez notes in his book The Untied States of America: Polarization, Fracturing, and Our Future. The reality is that the legal framework upon which such trade-offs are built is often sloppy and careless, and the states which engage in such trade-offs often do so in an extralegal sense, which leads us to the current time, in which we have several hundred legally sovereign nations existing within the United States. That’s right, several hundred. If you wonder at how it is that Indian tribes can open up casinos in states which prohibit the establishment of gaming operations by their residents and citizens, consider this: Indian tribes within those states are not subject to state laws. They are separate entities, sovereign nations, if you will, and they negotiate directly with the U.S. federal government, thereby bypassing the states altogether.
As Enriquez writes, “Each sovereign nation makes up its own rules, has its own police forces, is mostly exempt from taxes, chooses its own citizens, and has its own governing council. That is what it means to be sovereign (93)...” How did we arrive at this destination? Quite simply, the establishment of three precedents, which are as follows:
These 371 treaties, and many that followed, continue to have legal consequences to this day. They are, under the law, legally binding agreements between the federal government (which is empowered by the Constitution to enter into treaties which bind is member states and citizens under Article II, Section II, Clause II of the Constitution; a power which is denied to states by Article I, Section X, Clause I) and the sovereign nations which the United States negotiated with way back when, in these cases, the various Indian tribes, or nations. The Indians have legal standing to obviate the seizure of their lands by various states like Massachusetts under the Trade and Intercourse Act of 1790, which established that states could not appropriate land from the Indians without federal authorization.
Today, the Wampanoags of Martha’s Vineyard have successfully challenged the incorporation of the town of Gay Head, which is now called Aquinnah (ibid, 105). In New York, the Oneida Indians lost 99% of the land they were granted by their treaty, and were eventually confined to thirty-two acres. New York wasn’t receptive to their pleas, so the Oneida went to court and attempted to regain control of the 270,000 acres that they argued they had been legally guaranteed under the 1784 Treaty of Six Nations. In 1985, the Supreme Court upheld their case over 900 acres, and by 1998, the Oneidas were on the precipice of challenging the rights of twenty thousand property owners in New York, which had over time transferred property which it did not legally or rightfully hold claim to under the law to various owners, which led to the rather murky provenance of the current day, and which holds out the promise of rendering twenty thousand Americans hold on their land tenuous at best, thanks to the wonders of statism and its blatant disregard for the very law states ostensibly exist to establish and uphold in order to prevent just these sorts of problems from arising (ibid 106-107).
As you can see, the state perpetuates the myth that it exists to promote order and stability, to prevent abuse, but it is often at the forefront of the very sorts of abuses it purportedly exists to prevent. The net result is that individual purchase land and base their lives around property which they do not rightfully own through no fault of their own, but through the fault of the state which they trust and believe exists to ensure equality and fairness before the law. It’s a dangerous delusion to hold, and anyone who bases their life around trusting a government inevitably will find that the foundation of their existence is made up of shifting sand. They can lose their home, their land, and their livelihood for trusting a state. Just look at what happened to the Indians, who routinely entered into treaties with the U.S. government in good faith, only to find that the government routinely trampled the law and the contracts thereof with impudence and impunity.
If you wonder why it is that our nation no longer works, consider the above, and consider this: “In 1976, Carter vs. Ford, 26.8% of voters lived in a landslide districts (60%+ for one candidate). In 2000, Bush vs. Gore, 45.3% lived in landslide counties. In 2004, less than one in fifty congressional races was for real (ibid 37).” You see, the state has engineered districts to such a degree that the incumbents are all but assured of reelection no matter what they do. Elections are mere shams, as the fact that 3,140 counties yielded less than 65 total where the difference between Bush and Kerry in 2004 was less than 1%. The University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Nathaniel Persily claims that turnover in Congress is lower now than it was in the Soviet Politburo. In the past 47 years, the rate of reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives has never dipped below 85% (http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/reelect.php). It has only dipped below 90% in five of the elections over that time frame.
The overwhelming tendency in our electoral process has been one of constant re-affirmation, despite the fact that public sentiment for the job that Congress has done has been on a precipitous downward spiral. During the past 40 years, we’ve had 40 consecutive years of deficits at the federal level. The advertised deficit has been lower than the real deficit in 25 of those years, given the fact that the Social Security surplus is automatically loaned by law to Congress, whose members use that surplus to artificially reduce the reported deficit. Under the GAAP standards which Congress requires privately held companies to report their own statements in, our deficit from 2007 would have been an astonishing $4 trillion as opposed to the officially reported sum of $163 billion (2007 Financial Report of the United States Government).
Under the aforementioned report, the net worth of the U.S. federal government under GAAP standards was $54.3 trillion, with an unfunded obligation of $59.8 trillion. Simply put, we are bankrupt. Any private company which ran 40 consecutive years in the red would have long ago been recognized as insolvent. The pernicious feature of the state is that it can extend its accounting abuses well beyond the threshold afforded to private entities, owing to its monopoly power of coinage, the law, and the accepted practices by which it publicly discloses its own liabilities. The federal government’s greatest asset is not money, nor monopoly power over money and law, but monopoly power over self-reporting.
The set of numbers reported to the wider population is largely engineered to reflect a sunnier fiscal outlook than the reality. This is true of deficits, national debt, unfunded liabilities, and unemployment. The federal government cherry-picks the information it reports in order to make itself appear far less fiscally insolvent than it actually is. Despite the fact that CEOs and executives are required by Sarbanes-Oxley Section 302 to certify and approve the accuracy and integrity of their companies’ financial reports, the Comptroller General of the United States will not do the same with the finances of the U.S. federal government, due to "the federal government's inability to demonstrate the reliability of significant portions of the U.S. government's accompanying accrual basis consolidated financial statements for fiscal years 2007 and 2006 (http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=45430)."
It is an understatement to say that the federal government has an “inability to demonstrate the reliability of significant portions of the U.S. government’s accompanying accrual basis consolidated financial statements” for any year, much less two out of the past decade. The federal government possesses a deep inability to demonstrate the reliability of its entire fiscal approach, which has led us directly to the present day, where we have nearly $16 trillion in current liabilities between our national debt and our IOUs to Social Security, and well over $60 trillion in liabilities overall into the infinite horizon. The state doesn’t work.
This is true of all states, including our friends in Europe, who are on the verge of a continental implosion. Their crisis is largely one of structural importance, given the fact that they constructed a trading bloc which flew in the face of economic reality. The reality of the European Union is this: its very design ensures its eventual, for among its member states, the emergence of trade deficits cannot be corrected, because the member states lack unique currencies which they can adjust to meet the realities of their trade deficits and surpluses. They have but one currency.
For the fundamentalists around the world who rant and rave about the emergence of a global currency as a panacea offered by the Antichrist as an answer to economic problems, the simple truth is that the euro ought to dispel the notion of a single currency as an answer to economic issues once and for all. Between the single currency’s inflexibility and the historical trend toward fiscal profligacy of states, there is little reason to believe in magic bullets like a united currency or trading bloc as an answer to the problems of statism.
Internationalists, or globalists, depending on which nomenclature you prefer or subscribe to, are fond of claiming that all one needs is more cooperation. We are but a few compacts and treaties away from world peace and economic cooperation which will by necessity lead to the end of armed conflict and the ushering in of a new world order, but the reality of the matter is this: the state itself is the source of law and lawlessness, for no sooner does the state pass laws than it disregards them and holds itself above the law. The state must be abolished, or at the very least, held in chains. It must be yoked by specificity to certain tasks, and its masters among the people must be ever mindful of their duty to hold the state in check. This seems an unrealistic goal, given the fact that most people have lives which naturally decree that their time is spent on matters of immediate significance like the family and their own fiscal issues.
It is simpler to acknowledge that the state as a concept is a failed experiment, one that did not work to achieve its ostensible and purported purpose: the provision of a more secure existence with guaranteed liberties for the individuals who fell under its auspices. In point of fact, states begin with compacts and codifications of various rights which individuals supposedly possess, and those rights stem either from God or from the state which is made up of the individuals within its boundaries, but as soon as the ink dries on the paper, the state immediately makes unlimited and unprovoked war upon the very liberties which it supposedly exists to promote, defend, and expand!
Every success of the state depends largely on the control of a narrative, the perpetuation of a myth, and the battle for the mortaring of that myth into the historical record. Evan Cornog frames this issue quite well in his book The Power And the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative Has Determined Political Success from George Washington to George W. Bush: “The key to American presidential leadership and the story of presidential success is, in great measure, storytelling. From the earliest days of our republic to the present, those who wished to hold the nation’s highest office have had to tell persuasive stories-about the nation, its problems, and most of all about themselves-to those with the power to elect them. A sitting president’s ability to tell the right story and to adapt it as necessary is absolutely crucial. And when he has left office, he often spends his remaining years attempting to inscribe the narrative as he sees it into the record. The impact of these stories on electorate and the nation is almost beyond measure, because it is often these stories that we call history (Liner notes & summation of pg. 2 emphasis added).”
We do not have an objective history in this country put forth by professional historians with no allegiance to ideology. What we have is a constant advancing and receding between various sides, who put forth their version of events as they hold power, reducing historical narrative to mere dependence on the holders of offices rather than the facts and records themselves. Everything is dependent not on fact, but on whose myths are cemented into record at a given time and place. This is why ideologues are so passionate about power: the control of historical record depends on who occupies a position of power from which to insert their version or their mythology into the record.
The delusions are not monopolized by the conservatives or the liberals, the so-called right or the left. Both seek to hold power for the purpose of dominating the narrative without regard to the facts, but in spite of those facts which might contradict their preferred version of events. The state is the instrument by which such individuals appropriate power in order to control history and craft narratives which depict their actions in the most favorable light. The point is never to learn from the mistakes of the past, but to enable those mistakes to be repeated again and again, to prevent individuals in the general population from every having an objective record to reference in order to discern between the true and the false in their current day existence. The point is to deny individuals a context in which to place the appeals of modern day demagogues and tyrants, to deny them a perspective from which they might deny their political class a manipulated and engineered consent to whatever abuses such political individuals seek to foist upon the world.
It is to polarize individuals into mindless bifurcations, to divide individuals in the same house against themselves, to balkanize us into camps peering suspiciously across the battlefield of ideas at our neighbor whose lawn sign differs from our own during election season. It is to make us see our peers as somehow blackened by their affiliations while we remain firm in our conviction that ours is the right cause, absolutely and without reservation. Even when the overwhelming evidence and the early returns tell us that our way is not working, we will persist, plunging headlong into destruction. The only substantive bifurcation that we have, the only real divide, is that of our own interest and the interest of our government, and those two interests very often do not align in the slightest.
Many of us recoil in horror at the notion that our government would claim that it has the right to execute any U.S. citizen at any time without charges or trial if that citizen is found by our government to have affiliated with a terrorist group. Those who do not are guilty of failing to comprehend the conveniently amorphous definitions of the government and the state. What, exactly, constitutes a terrorist group? Which groups are included? Remember, our government recently provoked outrage by denoting libertarians and individuals with Ron Paul stickers as potential domestic terrorists. It seems as though we are fine with individuals who may have some tenuous connection with Al-Qaeda being executed, but if our own affiliations are held to the same scrutiny, we erupt indignantly against the outrageous notion that we might be covered by such overreaches. We have due process in our country to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt precisely because history has taught us that a government or state left to its own devices will inevitably lapse into abuse and overreach. We have every reason to stand for limited government, for governments unfettered by the limits placed upon their power that individual liberties and rights represent have constantly erred on the side of excess. Nothing in the considerable documentary history of statism or government ought to give us faith that a government will act in our interests as opposed to its own. Quite the contrary is true.
We would recoil in horror at the notion that our government claims for itself the right to indefinitely detain and incarcerate individuals without hearing, charges, or trial if those individuals resembled us in any way. But when those individuals are Muslims, or people who befriend and associate with Muslims, or who might have some connection with a Muslim group, we have no issue whatsoever. We might well be mindful of the fact that whatever the government may do to others it may also do to us. If you acknowledge the power of government to engage in action against others, you acknowledge its power to act in the same manner towards you. After all, we are all equal before the law.
As I noted before, the state inevitably relies upon the very real differences people feel, whether those differences are matters of religion, race, creed, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or identification, or economic status. We do not object so long as the injustice is done to them rather than to us. The words of Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemoller resonate to this day where these issues are concerned: “When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent: I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, I remained silent: I wasn’t a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.” This is the insidious nature of the state: to purchase your silent complicity by committing abuses first against others, and then lastly against those for whom it might have been previously unthinkable that the state would ever take an adversarial position against. If we are to be united, it is not against an external threat. It is against the state which, if unchecked, will gradually erode our liberties and freedoms until at last, when they come for us, no one will be left to speak out on our behalf.
The state is not your friend or your ally. It is in the best case scenario your employee, your servant. Anyone who has ever been in a position of management or supervision can explain to you the perils of being too friendly with the subordinates. Eventually, those subordinates come to mistake your friendliness for weakness and even a servility, and they act as if your role is theirs. So it is with the state, and if we do not beat the state back into a position of servility, we will be reduced obsequious groveling serfs ourselves. In large part, we already are. The security apparatus at airports, which has elevated individuals who outside of their rank within a government agency are of little consequence or importance to the level of bullies and thugs who feel empowered to speak to the very taxpayers who make their existence possible with a level of hauteur that is shocking for its rudeness and disrespect, is but one example of how we are gradually being reduced to compliance in the name of our own good. Yet on Christmas Day, that security apparatus was of no effect in preventing the Nigerian born underwear bomber from detonating his bomb on board a flight. Ordinary citizens intercepted and detained him on board when a security and intelligence apparatus funded by hundreds of billions failed to function as advertised.
The state would have you believe that it is necessary for your survival, for your defense, for your livelihood. Watching it siphon off your livelihoods with regulations which cost $1.14 trillion annually, and budget deficits which will siphon off the livelihoods and sustenance of your children and their children’s children, why would you believe in the efficacy of the state to accomplish anything to your benefit? Why would you trust the state, given the ample evidence that the state is your enemy, an ostensible servant to your interests which dares to transgress against your property and person with impunity, to arrogate unto itself greater and greater amounts of power at the expense of your own liberty and self-determination?
Statism relies solely upon myth, upon the manipulation of facts and statistics to bolster its justification for existing. But when you independently look at the state, when you go outside the official record and you objectively consider what the state does and for what ends it is acting, you come to one indisputable conclusion: those ends directly contravene the limits placed upon the state by the very documents which define the state, such as the Constitution and various statutes. The state claims to uphold the law, but in all truth, it routinely disregards the law.
Its various bureaucracies know no limitation upon their actions, and these bureaucracies are isolated from electoral consequence because their officers and employees are not subject to an election. They can continue to persist in the same abuses, overreaches, and outright violations of the law year in and year out because there is not accountability for them. They are not out of control, either. Despite the official byline that states are so fond of reciting, that rogue agents and lone individuals operating on their own violated the law and retain culpability for the violation themselves, the simple truth is this: the disregard for the law is institutional rather than individual. The bureaucracies merely seek to dissociate themselves from culpability after the fact by heaping responsibility upon a few scapegoats, who then claim that they were merely following orders.
To understand how this is possible, how ingrained it is within bureaucracies and the individuals who make up the rank and file of bureaucratic organizations, it is most informative to refer to the interviews conducted by Nuremberg officials of Nazi war criminals: “For example, Adolph Eichmann was asked, "Was it difficult for you to send these tens of thousands of people their death?" Eichmann replied, "To tell you the truth, it was easy. Our language made it easy." Asked to explain, Eichmann said, "My fellow officers and I coined our own name for our language. We called it amtssprache -- 'office talk.'" In office talk "you deny responsibility for your actions. So if anybody says, 'Why did you do it?' you say, 'I had to.' 'Why did you have to?' 'Superiors' orders. Company policy. It's the law (http://www.prorev.com/wannsee.htm).'” Indeed. It’s the law. It’s the order of my superior, and so what if it flouts the law as I know it, or even if it flouts basic moral standards and violates my own conscience? I have to do it. I was told to by X, and X outranks me.
This is the legacy of statism and its offshoot the bureaucracy: to turn men from independent thinkers into drones who unquestioningly conform to whatever the state and its bureaucracies decree as necessary and prudent. It is intellectual, mental, and moral slavery. It is the surrendering of an individual capacity to judge for oneself what is right and what is wrong; and for individual freedom to prevail, the state must be either reined in or absolutely destroyed. Given our repeated failures to rein the state in, and to prevent its continual and egregious overreach and abuse, it is perhaps time to come to the conclusion that the state in its current form is fundamentally incompatible with free and open societies whose members wish to have liberty of life, person, and property.
When the Pike Committee reviewed the assorted and sundry violations of the CIA, its final report reached the conclusion that the CIA was never out of control. In point of fact, the Pike Committee’s final report found the following: "All evidence in hand suggests that the CIA, far from being out of control, has been utterly responsive to the instructions of the President and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (The Pike Report, p. 189)." The simple truth is that the narrative the state would have us all believing is that individuals within bureaucracies simply go rogue and do their own thing, but the facts do not bear this out. The evidence is quite clear, when we have been able to attain the evidence, that the state has an open policy of violating its own laws, of trampling the limitations placed upon offices by the Constitution, and of functioning with a blatant and total disregard for any limitation upon its authority and action by the Constitution and the laws its officers and elected officials are sworn to uphold.
In place of order and responsibility, stability and decency, we have institutions who promote the disorder, instability, and indecency throughout their own territories and the world at large, and who then discharge themselves from culpability by claiming sovereign immunity after the fact. That’s right, sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity which essentially gives the state and its bureaucracies immunity, and with it, carte blanche to do as they please without regard for the letter, spirit, or limitations placed upon states by the law.
Take Section 223 of the Patriot Act, which essentially exempts the U.S. government from civil liability for illegal wiretaps, intentional or otherwise. The case of Jewel, et al v. National Security Agency is essentially an attempt by the plaintiffs to file suit against the aforementioned defendants because there was an intentional violation of U.S. law committed when the government wiretapped and obtained “the domestic and international communications content of millions of ordinary Americans” which included “the phone calls, emails, instant messages, text messages, web communications and other communications, both international and domestic, of practically every American who uses the phone system or the Internet, including Plaintiffs and class members, in an unprecedented suspicionless general search through the nation’s communications networks (http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/jewel/jewel.complaint.pdf).”
The Patriot Act did not exempt the government from such suspicionless searches, even in the most broad reading of Section 223 imaginable. The Bush Administration did not bother claiming that it did. Under every prior reading of the law imaginable, it was conceded that such broad searches were not legal or permissible under the law. Enter the Obama Administration, which claimed the even when the government engages in intentionally illegal wiretaps which clearly violate U.S. law and the Fourth Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, the U.S. government retains sovereign immunity from civil suits under Section 223 of the Patriot Act, a position which would grant to the government full and total immunity from any civil challenge to its actions under any surveillance statute ever passed (and likely any surveillance statutes passed in the future as well).
The net effect is that the government is no longer limited in what it may do, but is instead free to act unilaterally as it pleases without regards to a citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. In other words, the Fourth Amendment has been gutted where cyberspace and telecommunications are concerned, and if you don’t like it, you have no legal recourse to pursue a challenge of your government’s abuses. The idea of limited government is just that: an idea with no intellectual concreteness or real world currency whatsoever. The state wins, totally and completely, and you as an individual have no assurance of privacy in your internet or telephone communications whatsoever. Your phone calls are monitored, recorded, and mined. Your internet travels are documented and recorded, retained in vast data mines for future perusal. Whatever you discuss is subject to the knowledge of the state, and their discretion determines how your communications may be used in any court proceedings that may arise. You may be able to challenge the admissibility of such evidence, but the trend of precedent tends to indicate that you will lose any challenge.
This is the logical result and the historical tendency of the state: to be initially established to promote individual freedoms and liberties, and to eventually implode those liberties to ensure its own perpetuation and expanded power. The legal inconsistencies of the state, whether in its own violation and wanton disregard of the very contracts and treaties it enters into, or its blatant ignorance of basic differences among the people it tries to incorporate into one country, ensures that states will divide painfully over time, proliferating into ever smaller fragmenting and schisms over time. The rise of ever more treaties, compacts, accords, and agreements does not change the fact that the number of states has risen over time, and this logically entails a splitting of states, often with violent civil disturbances in accompaniment.
The erecting and establishing of myth cannot interfere with the inevitable clash of absolutes which will occur between the true and false: states inevitably meet their end when the bill comes due. The great flaw of human history is that we as individuals pretend that more states can correct or remedy the flaws of the states which came before. The state can have its positive and affirming purposes, insofar as we commonly agree to limit it to certain specific roles like defense, the providing and maintaining of infrastructure, and the establishment of courts which we may appeal to on matters of legal significance such as crimes, torts, and the enforcement of contracts. But the greater the role of the state, the more expansive the responsibilities it is handed, the greater the likelihood of abuse becomes and the myths which serve to gloss over or cover the failings of the state will only multiply over time.
Helen Thomas, the legendary doyenne of the Washington press corps, recently resigned her position after making the remark that the Jews should decamp Palestine and set off for Poland, Germany, and the United States. It was an impolitic and downright inappropriate comment to make. It was also her right as a private citizen to say whatever she wanted. She was expressing an opinion, as many of us do in the course of our day.
Abraham Foxman, the self-appointed arbiter of Semitism and all things thereof, predictably went into his usual histrionics. He insisted on public contrition, but when Thomas apologized, Foxman decreed that her apology did not go far enough. For Abraham Foxman, a sackcloth, ashes, and a public stoning outside the city gates would not be enough. Foxman has made a career for himself of making it downright dangerous to express anything other than pro-Israel, pro-Zionist, pro-Jewish attitude. He mauls and pillories anyone who dares to dissent from the line that the Jews are God’s chosen people and are therefore entitled to do whatever they must do in preserving their rightful claim to some arid piece of land in the middle of modern Palestine. You can lose your career, your reputation, and your ability to work in your chosen field should you run afoul of Abraham Foxman and his allies.
Foxman fails to comprehend the irony of his existence: in Germany under National Socialism, failing to endorse wholeheartedly the line that the Germans were Aryan supermen who descended from a superior alien race and were therefore entitled to do whatever they had to do to purify their land and the world at large of all corrupted and lesser races was something that could cost you your livelihood and, in some cases, your very life. The Nazis chased everyone from the public sphere who dared to dissent.
They executed people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German clergyman who had the temerity to put his professions into measurable action by joining a laudable conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Today’s clergy lack the courage and conviction to do much of anything other than decry the means necessary to prevent today’s morally perverse ends. They drive nice cars and live in fine houses, and they will never see the inside of Buchenwald as anything other than tourists. There are never any martyrs among the clergy, for they see fit to send the young and the impressionable forth as the hands and fingers of God while they stay behind to pull the strings. This is true of all three major religions which intersect in Palestine.
The Israelis have managed to construct a good existence out of what was once Palestine. They are cemented and mortared in their position, and they aren’t going anywhere. As it stands, Israel is the one place in the Middle East where a Palestinian Arab can vote. A vote isn’t the same as political self-determination, as any Palestinian can tell you. All men cry out not for a vote, but for self-determination. We have a vote here in the United States, and look at how meaningless our elections have become.
As a moral and philosophical matter, I may not like the way in which the modern state of Israel came to exist, but it is what it is. I do not deal in the way things ought to be, but rather in the way that they are. The omelet has already been made, the eggs have been broken, and now the debate is over how best to season our breakfast. And what I say is this: we ought to get out of Palestine. The Jews can stay. They’ve done a fine job of constructing a country, and they’ll learn to coexist with their neighbors as a matter of necessity once we’re out of the equation, at least as much as we can be out of the equation. The Arabs will have to understand that our resolve is not going to waver on the matter of a Jewish right to exist or survive. They need to understand that nuclear attacks will be met in kind.
But other than that, it’s really not our affair. In point of fact, we’re holding the Jews back. Let’s deal in reality: without U.S. pressure, Hamas would have long ago been obliterated in the Gaza Strip. The Israelis withdrew not under international pressure, but under U.S. pressure. And let’s face it: we don’t have another thirty years for Hamas to arrive at the realization previously arrived at by the Palestinian Authority: more is possible without guns. It’s doubtful Hamas even wants to arrive at that epiphany. The Israelis have an obligation to secure their own borders and provide safety to their citizens, and if wiping out Hamas complements either of those essential reasons for Israel’s security apparatus to exist, so be it. It’s not for us to say one way or the other anyway.
Hamas is a dangerous organization which denies Israel’s right to exist, advocates the extinction of Jews worldwide, and seeks to kill as many Jews as possible as often as possible. It’s the logical extension of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem’s long ago affiliation with the aforementioned National Socialists, who were quite effective at weaving in their brand of anti-Jew vitriol with the Mufti’s brand of Islam. In either case, I can readily buy into the notion that people who believe such nonsense are from another planet, but the whole bit about superior racial stock just doesn’t make sense to me.
Abraham Foxman is right to abhor Hamas. He is wrong to abhor Helen Thomas. The two are not even remotely equivalent. Thomas is an elderly woman in her eighties who was probably up past her bedtime. We’ve all had that elderly relative who slips up at night and utters some embarrassing remark. We don’t take them out and give them a good thrashing for doing so. We don’t berate them in public for doing so either. We endure it, and we accept it as part of the process of old age, which is sometime accompanied by the onset of senility in varying degrees. I had a Jewish friend in high school who was mortified when her grandfather inquired as to what she was doing hanging out with a goy in front of the said goy. Helen Thomas expressed her opinion in an unfortunate manner, but what she said does not even begin to compare with the rhetoric of Hamas.
It is utterly dangerous to suggest that Helen Thomas is somehow equatable to Hamas or to other hardcore Anti-Semitic organizations and groups. The reason is that doing so trivializes what those groups advocate: the extermination of an entire race of human beings. What Thomas said was qualitatively different. It was substantively different. I may not hold Helen Thomas in high regard for her opinions, but to cry wolf over her remarks as though they somehow begin to compare to the vitriol and invective emanating out of various mosques and websites affiliated with extremist Islam is irresponsible. It may make Abraham Foxman more money and it may even raise his profile, but it reduces the real and harmful Anti-Semitism of Hamas and other such organizations to the level of some parlor slip-up at a private event. The two are not even close to one another.
Wiping out Hamas is something I can support without reservation. Tarring, feathering, and running Helen Thomas out of town on a rail for expressing an opinion most of us do not share is not. As I said before, there is a distinction to be made between what Helen Thomas suggested and what Hamas and other groups like it advocate. The fact that I support the existence of Israel is not a token endorsement of everything that Israel does, just as my support of my own country should not be taken as a wholehearted endorsement of everything that its government engages in or supports.
Foxman and other shrill individuals like him represent the greatest threat to open discourse in our world, and they effectively paralyze the free expression so necessary to honest negotiations which might actually yield a result conducive to peace in Palestine and other areas of the world. It is Foxman who ought to have been silenced long ago, and it is a testament to the idiocy of our times that people like Abraham Foxman, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson can still speak with credibility on anything at all.