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Identity politics as divide and conquer

Clintonism is about playing the "identity politics" as a bulwark against any class or populist upheaval
that might threaten neoliberalism. 

 

News Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Recommended Links Class Struggle In The USA Bait and Switch  Divide and conquer strategy
Hillary Clinton faux feminism Bill Clinton, the founder of "Vichy left" Divide and conquer strategy Predator state  Deception as an art form Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism In the Service of the
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair The Deep State The Iron Law of Oligarchy Elite Theory Leo Strauss and the Neocons  
Obama: a yet another Neocon Mayberry Machiavellians John Dilulio letter Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism "F*ck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization
Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism The ability and willingness to employ savage methods Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Color revolutions   IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Powerful Few
American Exceptionalism Corporatism Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton      
Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as a reaction to Neoliberalism induced decline of standards of living  From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Big Uncle is Watching You   Politically Incorrect Humor Etc

Identity politics refers to attempts to split working people and middle class in such a way that it no longer represented a threat to neoliberlim in the USA or other country. It is a variant of Divide and conquer strategy

Identity politics artificially amplifies aspects of their identity  that are different then their social status.  Examples include race, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, culture, language.

The term identity politics came into being during the latter part of the 20th century, during the Civil Rights Era, but the first king of identity politics and associated "bat and switch" of voters was Bill Clinton. He was followed by Barak Obma with him important "bat and switch" maneuvers (aka "change we can believe in").

While the term is popularly used when referring to national identity, Hillary Clinton was adept of playing gender to divide voters.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. discussed early attempt to use identity politics to split and marginalize working class and middle class in his book The Disuniting of America. Schlesinger, a strong supporter of liberal conceptions of civil rights, argues that a liberal democracy requires a common basis for culture and society to function.

In his view, basing politics on group marginalization fractures the civil polity. Schlesinger believes that nationalist and rasicl movements such as "movement for civil rights"  should aim "toward integration of marginalized groups into the mainstream culture, rather than...perpetuating that marginalization through affirmations of difference".[13]

Recently identity politics was aptly played in LGBT sphere. Such issues as gay marriage and bathroom access served as powerful destruction from more important social issue for almost 20 years. Brendan O'Neill has contrasted the politics of gay liberation and identity politics by saying "... [Peter] Tatchell also had, back in the day, was a commitment to the politics of liberation, which encouraged gays to come out and live and engage. Now, we have the politics of identity, which invites people to stay in, to look inward, to obsess over the body and the self, to surround themselves with a moral forcefield to protect their worldview—which has nothing to do with the world—from any questioning."[14] Left-wing author Owen Jones rightly claims that identity politics is directed mainly toward marginalization of the working class and as such represent a dirty political trick used now by neolibrals to stay in power: 

In the 1950s and 1960s, left-wing intellectuals who were both inspired and informed by a powerful labour movement wrote hundreds of books and articles on working-class issues. Such work would help shape the views of politicians at the very top of the Labour Party. Today, progressive intellectuals are far more interested in issues of identity. ... Of course, the struggles for the emancipation of women, gays, and ethnic minorities are exceptionally important causes. New Labour has co-opted them, passing genuinely progressive legislation on gay equality and women's rights, for example. But it is an agenda that has happily co-existed with the sidelining of the working class in politics, allowing New Labour to protect its radical flank while pressing ahead with Thatcherite policies.

— Owen Jones, Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class[15]

Emphasizing and promoting groups based on shared identity, other than class (e.g., religious identity, gender, etc ), can divert energy and attention from more fundamental issues, such as class conflict in capitalist societies.

Such arguments have been expressed by a number of writers, such as Eric Hobsbawm,[16] Todd Gitlin,[17] Michael Tomasky, Richard Rorty, Sean Wilentz, Robert W. McChesney, Bart Landry, and Jim Sleeper.[18] Hobsbawm, in particular, has criticized nationalisms, and the principle of national self-determination adopted internationally after World War I, since national governments are often merely an expression of a ruling class or power, and their proliferation was a source of the wars of the 20th century. Hence Hobsbawm argues that identity politics, such as queer nationalism, Islamism, Cornish nationalism or Ulster Loyalism are just other versions of bourgeois nationalism.


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[Jul 16, 2018] The Racial Realignment of American Politics by Patrick McDermott

He completely misses the role of nationalism is the opposition to neoliberalism.
Jul 03, 2018 | www.unz.com

The idea that demography is political destiny is not new. Peter Brimelow and Edwin Rubenstein warned of its dangers in the pages of National Review in the 1990s. Steve Sailer later argued that Republicans would fare better by targeting white voters. The problem with these observations was not their accuracy, but their audience. The GOP establishment and donor elites had little interest in such thinking until Donald Trump's breakthrough in 2016. But what happens when Trump leaves office? Will the GOP return to its old ways, as Trump's former chief of staff Reince Priebus has predicted ? The answer is almost certainly no. The reasons have little to do with the GOP elite, however, whose views have not substantially changed. They instead have everything to do with what is happening in the other party. As Brimelow and Rubenstein recently pointed out in VDARE (and as I did at American Renaissance ), while the nation is not expected to reach majority-minority status until 2045 , the Democratic Party is already approaching that historic milestone. The political consequences of these changes will be profound and irreversible. The developments that are unfolding before our eyes are not a fluke, but the beginning of a new political realignment in the United States that is increasingly focused on race. The Emerging Majority-Minority Party While warnings of brewing demographic trouble were being ignored by the establishment right, they received a better reception on the left. In 2004, Ruy Teixeira and John Judis wrote a book called The Emerging Democratic Majority that triumphantly predicted that demographic change would soon produce a "new progressive era." The theory's predictive powers waxed and waned over the years, but after Trump's 2016 election Teixeira and another coauthor, Peter Leyden, insisted that Democrats would soon sweep away an increasingly irrelevant GOP and forcibly impose their will, much as had already happened in California. These arguments have a glaring weakness, however. They assumed that Democrats would continue to draw the same level of support from white voters. Instead, many have been fleeing to the GOP. Throughout the 20 th Century, Democrats had won the presidency only by winning or keeping it close among these voters. Barack Obama was the first to break this pattern, defeating John McCain in 2008 while losing the white vote by 12 percent . Four years later he beat Mitt Romney while losing it by 20 percent . Hillary Clinton lost the white vote in 2016 by a similar 20-point margin . This loss of white support, coupled with the continued demographic change of the country, has helped push the Democratic Party toward majority-minority status. Since 1992, the white share of the Democratic presidential vote has dropped an average of about one percent per year. At its current rate, it could tip to majority-minority status by 2020. It will occur no later than 2024. The political consequences of this shift are already apparent. In 2008, Obama beat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination with the overwhelming backing of black voters. Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in 2016 with similar black and Latino support . This year's state elections have continued the trend, with minority candidates winning Democratic gubernatorial nominations in Georgia , Texas , New Mexico , and Maryland , with another likely win in Arizona later this year. This sudden surge in minority candidates is not an indicator of increased open mindedness, but of demographic change. While the national Democratic Party is only just approaching majority-minority status, in much of the nation it is already there.

Nonwhite Polarization

While the demographic trend of the Democratic Party seems clear enough – as does its leftward drift and increased embrace of minority candidates – it is still possible to argue that the nation's politics will not divide along racial lines. The most obvious alternative is that both parties will compete for minority votes and both will experience demographic change in an increasingly multiracial nation. Could this happen? Black voters seem least likely to change. They already routinely provide Democrats with 90 percent of their votes. They are the backbone of the party, with a former president, nearly 50 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and numerous mayors in major American cities among their ranks. Given the Democratic Party's steadfast commitment to black issues such as affirmative action and Black Lives Matter, few are likely to be won over by the occasional attempts at Republican outreach . Latinos also typically support Democrats in presidential elections by a 2-to-1 margin, but they have been a more serious target for Republicans, including President George W. Bush , his acolyte Karl Rove , authors of the GOP autopsy released after Mitt Romney's 2012 loss, and occasional writers in National Review . Some have observed that many Latinos value whiteness and are more likely to self-identify as white the longer they have been in the country. In fact, some Latinos are white , particularly those from Latin America's leadership class . Others have reported on substantial hostility that exists between Latinos and blacks that may make them more likely to see whites as natural allies. There are several problems with these arguments. The most important are persistent race-based IQ differences that will keep most mestizos (who are the bulk of Latino immigrants) trapped at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum regardless of their racial identification. Arguments that they will assimilate like their European predecessors fail to explain why racial hierarchies have persisted in their home nations for hundreds of years. These inequalities probably explain the high levels of Hispanic support for government programs that are likely to keep most of them tied to the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future. Although Asians also support Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin, they seem potentially more promising . Unlike America's black and Latino populations, East Asians (such as Japanese and Chinese) have IQs that may be slightly higher than that of white Americans on average. Moreover, affirmative action policies backed by Democrats typically work to their detriment . However, most Asian immigrants are not East Asians and their IQs (such as those of Indians or Pakistanis) are much lower . Finally, no matter what their nationality, Asians are generally unsympathetic to whites who want to restrict nonwhite immigration. Unsurprisingly, all of these reasons have contributed to Asians moving away from the Republican Party, not toward it. Some argue that Republicans have no choice but to accept demographic change and move left to gain minority support. The GOP may well move left in ways that are acceptable to its white working class base and help it with white moderates – such as protecting Social Security and Medicare. But it will never win a bidding war with Democrats for their base of minority voters, nor would the GOP base let it try.

White Polarization

White polarization is the mirror image of nonwhite polarization and its causes are similar. Numerous scholars have cited genetics as a basis for reciprocal altruism among closely-related kin and hostility toward outsiders among humans and in the animal kingdom in general. This ethnocentrism is instinctual, present among babies , and whites are not immune from its effects. Most are socialized to suppress their ethnocentric instincts, but they remain only a short distance beneath the surface. Academics sometimes argue that positive direct contact is a promising strategy for overcoming racial differences, but research has shown that the negative effects are more powerful – something a cursory glance at crime statistics would confirm. Rampant white flight and segregation in neighborhoods , schools , and personal relationships provide the most definitive evidence on the negative influence of direct contact. Its impact on voting is also well established, particularly for whites and blacks. The shift of white Southerners away from the Democratic Party after civil rights legislation was enacted in the 1960s was almost immediate and has remained strong ever since. White flight produced similar political advantages for Republicans in suburbs across the country during this period. Their advantage has softened since then, but primarily because the suburbs have become less white , not less segregated . White voting is similarly affected by proximity to Hispanics. White flight and segregation are a constant in heavily Latino areas in both liberal and conservative states. The resulting political backlash in places like California and Arizona has been well-documented and confirmed by academic research . Support for President Trump has also been shown to be highly correlated with white identity and opposition to immigration. These trends are expected to become stronger over time. Experimental research has shown that growing white awareness of demographic change makes them more conservative , less favorably disposed to minorities, and feel greater attachment to other whites. The effects are heightened the more whites think they are threatened . The associated ideological effects are just as important. The influence of ideology is obvious in socially conservative states like North Dakota and Kansas . However, the Democrats' growing leftward tilt has become an issue even in liberal states like those in New England, many of which now regularly elect Republicans as governors . In fact, liberal Massachusetts has had just one Democratic governor in the past quarter century. The power of leftist ideology to drive whites together may reach its zenith if Democrats resume their attack on segregation in neighborhoods and schools. De facto segregation has protected white liberals from the consequences of their voting decisions for years. If Democrats are returned to power, however, they appear ready to touch this electoral third rail .

International Lessons

Further evidence of racial polarization can be found by looking abroad. Ethnic conflict has been a constant in human relations – everywhere and throughout history . More recently, 64 percent of all civil wars since 1946 have divided along ethnic lines . Such conflicts are highly correlated with genetic diversity and ethnic polarization . Some of the worst examples, such as Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sudan, have included ethnic cleansing and genocide. Race-based identity politics are just a lower form of ethnic conflict. Like ethnic conflict more generally, the strength of such politics depends on the level of ethnic diversity and corresponding racial polarization. In homogenous societies, for example, politics tends to divide along class and cultural lines. As a society becomes more diverse, however, ethnicity begins to play a growing role . Politics and parties that are explicitly ethnically-based usually do not appear until much later, when a nation has become more diverse and has begun to suffer extreme racial polarization. Such politics have been shown to produce substantial ethnic favoritism . Their appearance is often a prelude to civil war or partition . The United States has not reached this stage, but its future can be seen in other nations that are further down the road. One example is Brazil. While the United States will not become majority-minority until 2045, Brazil reached that milestone in 2010 . For much of the 20 th Century, Brazil viewed itself as a harmonious racial democracy and a model for the rest of the world, but this image has been tarnished in recent years. The nation's changing demographics demonstrated their power with the election of Lula da Silva in 2002 and his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, in 2010. Support for these two presidents – both members of the leftist Workers Party – was concentrated in the largely black northern half of the country, while opposition was concentrated in the mostly white south . Their victories depended on the nation's changing demographics. Once elected, they rewarded their black supporters with substantial expansions of affirmative action and a new cash transfer system, called Bolsa Família, which disproportionately benefitted Afro-Brazilians. Since then, Brazil's fortunes have taken a turn for the worse . Rousseff was impeached after a massive corruption scandal in 2016. Crime has exploded . Black activists now deride the notion of " racial democracy " and have become more militant on racial issues. An explicitly black political party has also appeared. This has corresponded with a similar backlash in the white population. The leading candidate for the presidential election this year is Jair Bolsonaro, sometimes referred to as the Trump of the Tropics . A white separatist movement called the South is My Country is drawing substantial support. Brazilians are reportedly losing faith in democracy and becoming more receptive to military rule .

Changing Our Destiny

The preponderance of the evidence – domestic, international, historical, and scientific – suggests that American politics will continue to polarize along racial and ethnic lines. At least in the short term, Republicans will benefit as white voters flee from the other party. But will the GOP adequately capitalize on these gains?

Various elements of the GOP establishment , including the business elite and pro-immigration donors like the Koch brothers , continue to hold substantial power within the party. Reince Priebus probably echoed their views when he said , "I think post-Trump, the party basically returns to its traditional role and a traditional platform."

Such status quo thinking ignores too much. There are numerous signs that the party is changing. Trump's popularity within his own party is the second highest among all presidents since World War II, trailing only George W. Bush in the aftermath of 9/11. Congressional Never Trumpers like Bob Corker , Jeff Flake , and Mark Sanford have been defeated or stepped aside. Prominent columnists , analysts , and at least one former GOP leader are now declaring it Trump's party.

These changes are not solely about Trump, however. There were signs of change before his arrival. Eric Cantor's primary defeat in 2014 was widely attributed to softness on immigration, which met furious grassroots opposition . Moreover, if Trump's rise were merely a one-off event, we would not be seeing the simultaneous rise of nationalist movements in Europe, which is facing its own immigration crisis .

The more likely answer is that these changes reflect something more powerful than any individual, even the president of the United States. The same survival instinct that is present in all living creatures still burns brightly within the world's European peoples. Trump was not the cause, but a consequence – and we will not go gently into the night.

Patrick McDermott ( email him ) is a political analyst in Washington, DC.


Dale , June 30, 2018 at 4:15 am GMT

If the author was famous, he would be attacked relentlessly.

Cogent analysis of the current GOP.

The centralized state model is falling apart.

Jim Christian , June 30, 2018 at 10:39 am GMT

This ethnocentrism is instinctual, observable even among babies. Whites are not immune from its effects. Most are socialized to suppress their ethnocentric instincts, but they remain only a short distance beneath the surface.

Even the most vile race-virtuosos' ethnocentric instincts boil to the surface in the flight to "good schools" for their children. The "Good schools" rationale works for them. Gets them away from the city, away from those awful Blacks. It was always diversity for thee. The closest most liberals get to diversity is the Hispanic housekeeper. Because the Blacks, you know, they steal the liquor/silver/Waterford". Heard variations of this a million times..

mark green , June 30, 2018 at 11:52 am GMT
Brilliant synthesis. Excellent article. Patrick McDermott hits it out of the ballpark, noting correctly that ethnocentrism is "instinctual". So true. So obvious. And this suppressed truth is just the tip of the iceberg. America lives under 'intellectual occupation'.

But the hardening scientific facts involving race, kinship, and phenotype are testament to the hollowness of 'anti-racist' rhetoric and ideologies that dominate so much of the American landscape.

These liberal creeds pretend to repudiate (all) 'racism' and bigotry, but in political fact, they strategically target only white Americans. This makes these lofty 'values' not only disingenuous but unfair and destructive.

Highfalutin (but bogus) liberalism has come to play a diabolical role. It undermines white cohesion and white solidarity. Meanwhile, from high above, irreversible demographic changes are being orchestrated.

MacDermott correctly observes that the West's unsought ethno-racial transformation is what's behind the reinvigoration of white identity in Europe and America. This at least is good news.

Says MacDermott:

"Ethnic conflict has been a constant in human relations -- everywhere and throughout history. More recently, 64 percent of all civil wars since 1946 have divided along ethnic lines. Such conflicts are highly correlated with genetic diversity and ethnic polarization. Some of the worst examples, such as Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sudan, have included ethnic cleansing and genocide."

Very true. Very important. And while MacDermott avoids mentioning a more obvious example, the most persistent expression of this phenomena can be seen in Israel/Palestine, where allegedly 'Semitic' Jews are doing whatever it takes to keep their lesser (Semitic) cousins at arms length–in this case, in the caged ghettos of Gaza and the West Bank.

Undue and uncompromising Jewish influence in Zio-America is allowing this race-born outrage to continue. Sadly, Israeli savagery routinely receives Zio-Washington's unconditional blessing, trillion-dollar subsidy, and unflinching diplomatic cover.

But besides the disputed territory and Israel's untouchable political power, what nourishes the endless Israel/Palestine impasse?

Jewish 'exceptionalism' is one key motivator.

The Chosen people are convinced that they are born vastly superior to their Semitic cousins.

Thus, strict segregation is required for the assurance of 'Jewish (genetic) continuity'. This objective however requires steadfast cruelty since the natives are still restless and rebelling.

Supremacism means never having to say you're sorry. This is especially true since, ironically, peace between Jews and Arabs could potentially lead to increased Jewish 'outmarriage' in Israel and consequently, the gradual reduction in Israeli (Jewish) IQ and Jewish 'exceptionalism' (supremacy).

Over time, potential genetic intermingling would very possibly undermine Jewish magnificence and therefore, Jewish cohesion. This could then translate into a loss of Jewish solidarity and 'community'. It's possible.

This downturn could subsequently affect Jewish wealth and power, and that is certainly not an outcome that the Jewish community desires.

Leaders of the global Jewish community are smart enough to envision this scenario and to prevent it from happening. They use The Holocaust (and it's potential re-0currance) as an all-purpose excuse. But it's phony. Self-segregation is a sacred, ancient Jewish value. Thus the glamorization of interracial romance is directed only at the goyim, as is the message of Open Borders. Just turn on your TV. It's there constantly.

These 'liberal, democratic' messages however are never advocated in Israel, nor are they directed at young Jews via Israeli TV, news, entertainment or education.

You will never see glamorous depictions of Jewish/Arab miscegenation on Israeli television, even though black/white 'family formation' on Jewish-owned mass media in America is ubiquitous.

Hostile US elites (Jews) apparently want non-Jewish whites to become mixed, brown. This racial objective however is anathema to Jewish values. It's strictly for the goyim.

Meanwhile, whites in America are not permitted to think or hold values like Israeli Jews, or to even express similar preferences inside the civilization that they and their forefathers created. This speaks volumes about the lack of freedom in America. Yes, we live under intellectual occupation.

For many Israeli Jews (the dominant thinking goes) strict segregation–if not active warfare–is the only sure way to maintain 'hafrada' (separation) for Jews in Israel since they are surrounded by tens of millions of similar-looking but 'unexceptional' Arabs.

Unlike America, walls (and segregation) remain sacred in Israel. But not here.

It's racist!

Iberiano , June 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm GMT
In fact, some Latinos are white, particularly those from Latin America's leadership class

I think the reality is, Latinos/Hispanics simply form lines like any group would do. I am white, all my fellow Hispanic friends are white, and we consider ourselves essentially an ethnicity within Whiteness, just like Italians, or high-caste French Creoles, White Persians, Lebanese or Jordanians.

The easiest way to tell if an "ethnic" is conservative or republican (outside of obvious virtue signalers), is to ask yourself, " Is this person white ?". Other than famous actors and political types that have the luxury being "liberal" (e.g. Salma Hayek) every day Hispanics, Persians and Arabs that are white, act, do and think, like every day White Anglo-Saxons, Germanics and Nordics–for the most part (obviously IQ plays a part). Don't get me wrong, there is a difference in IQ and mindset in the particulars between a Norman and a (white-ish) Sicilian, some IQ, some cultural, but if and when a civil war comes–no one will have ANY problem knowing where they and others stand and belong.

SunBakedSuburb , June 30, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
Reince Priebus: "I think post-Trump, the party basically returns to its traditional role and traditional platform."

And that would be U.S. hegemony and market fundamentalism? Unlikely and unattractive. U.S. military dominance starves our society and enriches the national security state and the rogue regimes in Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Market fundamentalism does not take into account human frailty, and would produce widespread desperation.

What can be gleaned from Mr. McDermott's instructive article is that, like it or not, identity needs to be included in the political lexicon of working class and middle class whites. Elite whites continue to cede power to blacks and browns in politics and business as the slide into Idiocracy accelerates. This is an opportunity for disaffected whites from the Democratic Party and Republican Trump supporters to form a coalition.

densa , June 30, 2018 at 7:00 pm GMT

The political consequences of these changes will be profound and irreversible.

When Ted Kennedy was pushing the 1965 opening of our borders to atone for racism, he made repeated assurances that we would not end up where we ended up. He said the level of immigration would remain the same, the ethnic mix would not inundate America with immigrants from any particular place or nation, that the ethnic pattern of America would not be changed, and that we wouldn't have something crazy like a million immigrants a year, certainly not poor ones who would place a burden on citizens.

When Reagan's amnesty happened, again promises where made that we could and would keep our country. Now, it looks like Brazil is our future.

Elections are already being decided by racial votes of minorities, which aren't considered racist by that half of America that eagerly anticipates our demise. What a rude surprise they are in for when they discover they are still white and will be honorary deplorables once they no longer have political power.

But will the GOP adequately capitalize on these gains?

Ha, Derbyshire doesn't call it the Stupid Party for nothing.

Fidelios Automata , June 30, 2018 at 7:37 pm GMT
Regarding my home state of Arizona, that 66% figure is an interesting anomaly. Except for my fellow writers, most of the white folks I know are pretty conservative. Many secretly supported Trump or voted Libertarian in protest of the lousy mainstream choices. Perhaps this is a reflection of white flight from California.
obwandiyag , June 30, 2018 at 8:44 pm GMT
You dense "scientific" racists can't see the forest for the trees, as is always the case. The importance of this election has nothing to do with demographics. But you wouldn't know that because all you want to do is scream raceracerace all de liblong day.

No. The importance of this race is that Ocasio-Cortez is "a strikingly perfect candidate, both in policy positions and refusal to take corporate money. She fits the identity politics profile without once using identity politics virtue-signaling to cover for lousy policies. This is shattering to the Clintonista crowd, who are spinning like tops."

Grow up.

WorkingClass , June 30, 2018 at 10:46 pm GMT
Post Imperial America will balkanize. There is plenty of room for four or more new republics. At least one of them will be white.
Seamus Padraig , June 30, 2018 at 10:59 pm GMT
@Jim Christian

Exactly. Whenever liberals ask 'How are the schools?', what they really mean is, 'How black are the schools?' Their hypocrisy is nauseating.

Seamus Padraig , June 30, 2018 at 11:01 pm GMT

However, most Asian immigrants are not East Asians and their IQs (such as those of Indians or Pakistanis) are much lower.

Really? How come so many are doctors, scientists and computer programmers? Those aren't typically low-IQ professions. Is this just a case of aggressive brain-drain? Do all the stupid ones stay behind in India?

In homogenous societies, for example, politics tends to divide along class and cultural lines. As a society becomes more diverse, however, ethnicity begins to play a growing role.

Yup. That's probably why the Democratic Party traded class war for race war.

Reg Cæsar , July 1, 2018 at 12:44 am GMT

Really? How come so many are doctors, scientists and computer programmers?

The advance guard in the US was the professional elite. Not so in the UK. Subcontinentals are much closer, or even below, average there. Even here, motel owners may outnumber doctors, scientists, and computer programmers combined.

Is this just a case of aggressive brain-drain?

Yes.

And it's worse in Canada.

Do all the stupid ones stay behind in India?

There are a billion more people in India than in the US. Do the arithmetic.

George , July 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
Extremely low turnout led to Ocasio-Cortez Victory.

On Magical Thinking VS Sober Analysis of the Ocasio-Cortez Victory in NY

https://www.blackagendareport.com/magical-thinking-vs-sober-analysis-ocasio-cortez-victory-ny

obwandiyag , July 1, 2018 at 4:20 am GMT
OK. I'll make it simple for you because your understanding doesn't extend beyond simple.

Ocasio-Cortez is a very good candidate, and, unless she is co-opted–which, 99 out of a 100 (notice my use of "statistics," I mean damned lies, you statistics-worshipers) is the chance she will be–she is a hundred times better than Crowley the Clintonite hack. Racists are really stupid. They vote against their own interests, just like all "conservatives."

blank-misgivings , July 1, 2018 at 7:02 am GMT
The author throws around 'left' and 'right' as if they transparently applied in the case of ethnic politics. I would argue that it has been the economic 'right' that has relentlessly pursued diversity of populations – quite arguably for millennia, and certainly in the last 50 years. Some sane economic leftists realize this, although they are an endangered and shrinking group.

However if it is the right that is the main mover in favor of diversity (empire preferred to nation state for the easier control of labor), I'm not sure what solutions there are. Whites voting for the Republican Party is not a long time viable solution since the owners of that party have fundamentally different interests than the white working class (as leftists have correctly pointed out over and over).

Brabantian , Website July 1, 2018 at 11:28 am GMT
Quite a superbly-sourced and compellingly-argued article here from Patrick McDermott, extraordinarily well-done even by Unz standards

This article gives a very important snapshot of the USA political scene as a whole, one of the best I've read in some time

Thanks both to Mr McDermott and to Ron Unz for posting this, look forward to more from this author

jeppo , July 1, 2018 at 1:14 pm GMT
Ocasio's victory is a nightmare for the Democrats. The Leftist media is touting her as the future of the party, but her platform makes Obama look like a rightwing extremist.

- Federal Jobs Guarantee
- Medicare for All
- Tuition-free public college
- Reduce prisons by 50%
- Defund ICE

But the real poison pill is her unwavering support for the Palestinians. I'm not making a value judgment on this or any other of her policies, but if the GOP can tag the next Democratic presidential candidate with Ocasio's worldview, then expect a Trumpslide in 2020.

What do the (((brains))) and (((primary funders))) behind the Democratic party think of this rising star? Here are some choice quotes from NY Jewish Week:

To some, the stunning victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken critic of Israel, over 10-term Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens-Bronx), an Israel supporter, in Tuesday's Democratic primary is seen as another nail in the coffin of Democratic support for the Jewish state.

"If she maintains her anti-Israel stance, she will be a one-term wonder," predicted George Arzt, a New York political operative. "I don't think you can have someone with those views in New York City. If she moderates, she could win again. If she doesn't, there will be massive opposition to her -- maybe even a cross-over candidate from the Latino community with pro-Israel views."

Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran Democratic strategist, said he sees Ocasio-Cortez's overwhelming victory -- she won with 57.5 percent of the vote -- as "another step in the ongoing divorce proceedings between the pro-Israel community and the Democratic Party."

Jeff Wiesenfeld, a former aide to both Republican and Democratic elected officials, said he read Ocasio-Cortez's Twitter and Facebook postings and said she has voiced opinions that are "downright hostile to Israel."

After 60 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military in May while attempting to breach the fence along the Israel-Gaza border, Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter: "This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protestors. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can't be silent about this anymore."

"We have never stepped into a situation in New York City in which a member of Congress starts out hostile to us," he added. "This is a new frontier."

"While Jewish Democrats support much of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's domestic policy agenda, we disagree with her past statement regarding Israel, as well as her affiliation with the Democratic Socialists of America, which supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel," it added. "In the coming days and months, we hope to learn more about Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's views, but at the moment, her position on Israel is not in line with our values."

http://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/ocasio-cortezs-israel-views-seen-as-troubling/

What will Jewish Democrats do if the Ocasio/DSA platform becomes mainstream in the Democratic party? Join up with the anti-Trump neocons and vote for a third party? While the Republicans can win nationwide elections without Jewish money and votes, there's no evidence that the Democrats can, at least not yet.

Another factor in Ocasio's surprise victory, as so delicately pointed out by the noted political analyst Andrew Anglin, is that:

"Furthermore, people want to f*ck her."

No shit. Her good looks and likeable personality mean that she's likely in the media spotlight to stay, no matter how much the MSM (((gatekeepers))) might want to shield the general public from her, ahem, "problematic" views.

As an aside, I believe her nationwide appeal is enhanced by her complete lack of the godawful, ear-grating Nuyorican accent so commonplace among her co-ethnics. In fact she speaks with a general American accent with barely even a hint of New Yorkese. I don't know if this is part of a generalized homogenization of regional accents throughout the country, or if she affects this dialect for personal and/or political reasons. Either way, it only adds to her appeal.

If the Ocasio-Sanders wing of the Dems continues its electoral ascendancy, then Donald Trump will start looking more and more like the moderate adult in the room compared to the infantile, gibsmedat, tantrum-throwers on the far left. Which is terrible news for the Clintonite, corporate bloodsucker wing of the Dems, but fantastic news for the rest of us.

Gordo , July 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
@mark green

You are correct.

obwandiyag , July 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm GMT
If the Ocasio-Sanders wing of the Dems continues its electoral ascendancy, the same people who voted for Trump will vote for them. You have no understanding whatsoever about the mood of the current polity.
jeppo , July 1, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT
@obwandiyag

If the Ocasio-Sanders wing of the Dems continues its electoral ascendancy, the same people who voted for Trump will vote for them.

So what you're saying is that if there's one thing Trump supporters secretly want more than anything else, it's to abolish ICE. Yeah, no.

Reg Cæsar , July 1, 2018 at 10:20 pm GMT
@blank-misgivings

Leftism is concerned with power, period.

Economics is just a tool to that end. When identity looked to be more productive, they pivoted quite gracefully.

Welfare bureaucrats derive their power from the poor, not the working, and there are many more poor abroad than at home. Creating a welfare state thus creates a giant constituency for importing more poor, and poorer.

One of the credos of realism has been "There are no angels, so set the devils against one another." As pie-in-the-sky as economists can be, they're closer to the truth on this one than the pro-regulation forces, who assume, by definition, that the regulators will be angels.

Reg Cæsar , July 1, 2018 at 10:23 pm GMT
@jeppo

If the Ocasio-Sanders wing of the Dems continues its electoral ascendancy, the same people who voted for Trump will vote for them.

So what you're saying is that if there's one thing Trump supporters secretly want more than anything else, it's to abolish ICE. Yeah, no.

This might be true in the Bronx, but what about the other 3,030 or so counties in the US?

llloyd , Website July 2, 2018 at 3:55 am GMT
Americans, at least Unz reviewers, lump all Hispanic speakers into one category. Does Cortez even speak Spanish, except for her ethnic purposes? More important, a Puerto Rican origin is both Creole and Roman Catholic. That puts them in a category all their own. She has no love for Israel because her background did not come under the influence of the Christian Zionist Churches. Her black origins make her atavistically side with the Palestinians.
obwandiyag , July 2, 2018 at 4:08 am GMT
You have no clue about "Trump supporters." For your information, they will vote for anyone who shakes things up. Their second choice after Trump was Sanders. These are facts. Read 'em and weep.
Mishra , July 2, 2018 at 4:48 am GMT
@obwandiyag

The Establishment wants to pretend that these voters don't exist. Even though they tipped the election. Along with most people (even here) they want to keep everything in neat boxes labelled Right vs Left, Rep vs Dem, etc etc. Spares them the 'vexation of thinking'.

Mishra , July 2, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT

The Democratic Party IS Tipping!

Replace "The Democratic Party" with "America" and replace "IS Tipping!" with "HAS TIPPED" and you'll be much nearer the truth.

Ron Unz , July 2, 2018 at 5:19 am GMT
Actually, I have a quite contrary view of the political implications of these shifts in racial demographics. For those interested, here's a link to a long article I published a few years ago on this same exact topic:

http://www.unz.com/runz/immigration-republicans-and-the-end-of-white-america-singlepage/

[Jun 27, 2018] jack daniels

Notable quotes:
"... Today we see anti-racism being elevated into a quasi-religion that may be used to justify totalitarian policies. One benefit of this initiative is that it allows the elite to preserve the gap in material wealth between themselves and the victim class. Ending racism is less expensive than ending inequality! ..."
Jun 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

says: June 5, 2018 at 6:32 pm GMT 300 Words @John Baker How are they 'checked?'

Numerous sources give very high figures for Jews and these have tended to be memory-holed and maligned as you know what.

Consequently sources which report a low number of jews (do you know of any?) from the period are at least as suspect, and ones from a later period and embraced by Jewish scholars more so.

And one must remember that apart from the many name changes by Jews in the Old Bolshevik era (lots of name changes amongst Israel's 'founders' too) they made substantial effort to hide their jewishness, as have later sources.

One might consider the attempted Bokshevik coup in Germany a year after the Russian one.

Even wikipedia has to report that this 'Spartacus uprising' was led almost wholly by Jews. What would they have done had they won? Might the conflation of anti-nationalist communist violence and Jewish Supremacy have been what led in part to Hitler and his racial nationalists? There was also a coup in Hungary led by Bela Kun. I agree with you that the threat of Communism played a role in the rise of militant nationalism and its anti-Semitic aspect. The role of Jews in the leadership of every Communist uprising is crisply documented by Winston Churchill in his 1920 article http://www.fpp.co.uk/bookchapters/WSC/WSCwrote1920.html Paul Johnson in Modern Times claims that Jews did not make up a large percentage of party members but that is less impressive than their domination of the top ranks. Germany in the 20s and 30s had an abundance of motives to support a strong nationalist leader since the terms of the Versailles Treaty were unjust and unendurable, and the solution seemed to involve at least the willingness to use force to remove the burden. The democratic parties were insufficiently decisive and would likely have succumbed to Communist agitation or at best preserved a very unpleasant status quo. The weakness of Communism is that it reduces everything to economics and the material dimension. It demands the right to dictate without addressing the spiritual dimension of life. Hitler, by contrast, appealed to national pride and national unity, in addition to the national need to escape from poverty.

Today we see anti-racism being elevated into a quasi-religion that may be used to justify totalitarian policies. One benefit of this initiative is that it allows the elite to preserve the gap in material wealth between themselves and the victim class. Ending racism is less expensive than ending inequality!

[Jun 27, 2018] The mechanics of identity wedge in politics

Jun 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

anon [317] Disclaimer , June 5, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Rational

responding to PG's comments and the comments of Rational
Zionist, among them, being many NY Intellectuals, invented mugged reality (Neoconism) , but party slithering is a another name for divide and conquer.

Fudmier's example as to how to control the vote:
You present an idea to 6 people (there are seven votes including yours, you are the one); virtually everyone is indifferent or against your idea. Before the vote, how can you make the outcome favorable to your side? Divide the opinions on a related subject so that the people must vote for your idea if they take a side on the related subject. I am always either a Democrat or a Republican, cannot vote for anything the other party presents, no matter how good it is. So make the idea Republican or Democratic.

them me Total vote for against my idea
no division 1 2 3 4 5 6 ME 7 Me 6 I lose
divide by party D R D R D R ME 7 Me+3 3 I win

As the simple analysis suggests: it is easy to win a vote when the idea is Glued to the two AAs (glue, attached, or associated). The unpopular idea Glued and attached or associated with the political party issue splits the vote (such activity divides and weakens the political power inherent in the voting power of the masses). For example, if we make the vote to turn off all of the drinking water. the only vote will be mine, but if we say turn off the drinking water to all but those who are green, we divide the vote. and control the outcome.

This brings us to the democratic dilemma: should the non green people be included in vote on that issue? In fact, it is exactly this problem that those who wrote the constitution intended to establish.

The aggressive foreign policies and national security positions mentioned by PG have been attached to the standard Jewish line; in other words the duty of a Jew to recognize him/herself as a Jew and to vote as a member of the clan has been glued to the AAs. It is nearly impossible to vote for Jewish interest and not vote to demolish Palestinian homes.

I am hoping this list can develop ways to analyse current events into a set of fair play rules, reading, learning and analyzing books, journals and events and writing about them is not enough; some kind of action is needed to bring into reality the findings of these readings, learning and analysis produce. The best way to offset misleading, false or invented propaganda is to force it to into a rule based debunking process. Simple rules that everyone can learn, understand and adopt.

Capitalist Russia and its resources represent a major competitor to the resources and schemes of the capitalist neocon led west. Hating Russia is like being a democrat or a republican,it keeps the pharaoh options open.

[Jun 27, 2018] How Cynical Is the Democratic Party's Support for Identity Politics (Plus a Note on the Ocasio-Crowley Contest)

DemoRats use identity politics to achieve their goals. And if it does not suit their goals it is thrown in the garbage can as used napkin.
Also it is stupid to view candidates from the prism of identity politics: "In a mature society, it would not matter if someone was black, white, gay, Jewish, young, old, whatever but what policies they bring to the party. This article, going out of its way to label Nixon as LGBT and Sanders as Jewish, really only means that they are letting the other side set the rules and that is never a winning position. Unfortunately we do not live in a mature society."
Notable quotes:
"... Albright: "Younger women, Hillary Clinton will always be there for you" plus that other thing she said. ..."
Jun 26, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QRimyfmz0MA

Albright: "Younger women, Hillary Clinton will always be there for you" plus that other thing she said.

How cynical is the Democratic Party's support for identity politics? To this observer, it seems impossible not to notice that those in control of the Democratic Party care about "identity politics" -- about supporting more women, more people of color, more LGBTQ candidates, etc. -- only when it suits them. Which means, if you take this view, that their vocal support for the underlying principles of "identity politics" is both cynical and insincere.

As I said, this has been apparent for some time. I've never seen it documented so well in one place, however, until this recent piece by Glenn Greenwald.

For example, Hillary Clinton supporters in 2016 not only encouraged a vote for Clinton because men and women had a duty to support her as a woman, yet they attacked support for Sanders as specifically misogynist:

The 2016 presidential election was the peak, at least thus far, for the tactics of identity politics in U.S. elections. In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton's potential status as the first female candidate was frequently used not only to inspire her supporters but also to shame and malign those who supported other candidates, particularly Bernie Sanders.

In February 2016 -- at the height of the Clinton-Sanders battle -- former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright introduced Hillary Clinton at a New Hampshire rally by predicting a grim afterlife for female supporters of Sanders, while Clinton and Cory Booker cheered: "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other!" she announced.

Though Albright apologized in the New York Times for her insensitive phrasing after a backlash ensued, she did reaffirm her central point: "When women are empowered to make decisions, society benefits. They will raise issues, pass bills and put money into projects that men might overlook or oppose."

At roughly the same time, Clinton supporter Gloria Steinem said female supporters of Sanders were motivated by a primitive impulse to follow "the boys," who, she claimed, were behind Sanders. Just this week, the Clinton loyalist and Salon writer Amanda Marcotte said Trump won "because some dudes had mommy issues," then clarified that she was referring to left-wing misogynists who did not support Clinton: "I also have those moments where I'm like, 'Maybe we need to run Bland White Guy 2020 to appease the fake socialists and jackass mansplainers.'"

Greenwald notes in passing that no one was making the case for supporting Sanders because he would be the first Jewish president, and he doesn't expect that case to be made in 2020 should Sanders run again.

He concludes from this that "despite the inconsistencies, one of the dominant themes that emerged in Democratic Party discourse from the 2016 election is that it is critically important to support female candidates and candidates of color, and that a failure or refusal to support such candidates when they present a credible campaign is suggestive evidence of underlying bigotry."

The Past as Prologue: Cynthia Nixon

Apparently, however, Democratic Party interest in electing strong progressive women (Hillary Clinton includes herself on that list) has dissipated in the smoke of the last election. As Greenwald notes, "Over and over, establishment Democrats and key party structures have united behind straight, white male candidates (including ones tainted by corruption), working to defeat their credible and progressive Democratic opponents who are women, LGBT people, and/or people of color. Clinton herself has led the way."

The article is replete with examples, from the Brad Ashford–Kara Eastman battle in Nebraska, to the Bob Menendez–Michael Starr Hopkins–Lisa McCormick three-way contest in New Jersey, to the Ben Cardin–Chelsea Manning primary in Maryland. In all cases, the Party backed the white male candidate (or in Menendez's case, the whiter male candidate) against the woman, the person of color, and the LGBTQ candidate. Not even the smoke of 2016's identity fire remains.

Which brings us to the 2018 candidacies of Cynthia Nixon and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

Let's start with Cynthia Nixon, running against corrupt , anti-progressive NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo sides with Republicans to defeat progressive measures, rules with an iron hand, is white and male. Yet he's also supported and endorsed by almost every national Democrat who matters:

In New York state, Cynthia Nixon is attempting to become the first female governor, as well as the first openly LGBT governor, in the state's history. She's running against a dynastic politician-incumbent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whom the New York Times denounced this year for being "tainted" by multiple corruption scandals.

But virtually the entire Democratic establishment has united behind the white male dynastic prince, Cuomo, over his female, LGBT challenger. That includes Clinton herself, who enthusiastically endorsed Cuomo last month, as well as Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand , who -- despite starting a political action committee with the explicit purpose of supporting women running for office -- also endorsed Cuomo over Nixon in March. [emphasis mine]

To make the main point again: How cynical and insincere is the Democratic Party's support for identity politics? Very.

A Local Race with National Consequences: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs. Joe Crowley

This cynical drama is also playing out in the race between corrupt Joe Crowley , the likely next Democratic leader of the House (if he survives this election) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The same dynamic is now driving the Democratic Party primary campaign in New York's 14th Congressional District, a district that is composed of 70 percent nonwhite voters. The nine-term Democratic incumbent, Joe Crowley, is a classic dynastic machine politician . His challenger, a 28-year-old Latina woman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has generated nationwide excitement for her campaign after her inspiring introduction video went viral . At a fundraising event, Crowley accused his opponent of playing identity politics, saying she was trying to make the campaign "about race."

Despite all that, virtually the entire Democratic establishment has united behind the white male incumbent, and virtually none is supporting the woman of color who is challenging him. Yesterday, the very same Gillibrand who has a PAC to support female candidates and who endorsed Cuomo over Nixon announced that she was supporting Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez. [emphasis added]

Note that these are not low-profile, low-consequence races. Both are positions of enormous power -- in Nixon's case, due to the office; in Crowley's case, due to his position as the Dauphin to Nancy Pelosi's soon-to-step-down monarch.

These are races with exponentially greater consequences than usuals. And where is the Democratic Party in this? With the (corrupt) white male and against the woman, as always these days.

"Identity Politics" Is Not a Cookie-Cutter Solution to Electoral Choices

I'd like to make two additional points. First, by any intelligent standard, candidates "identities" should only be one factor only in considering support for them. Only the right wing and 2016 Clinton advocates like Madeleine Albright, quoted above, make the most simplistic argument about "identity" support -- and even then, the simplistic argument seemed to apply only to support for Clinton herself and never to other women.

For example, would even Clinton supporters have supported Carly Fiorina against a male Democrat for president? Obviously not. And Clinton herself, a former New York senator, did not support Zephyr Teachout in 2014 when Teachout ran against Andrew Cuomo for governor . Nor did then-Democratic primary candidate Hillary Clinton campaign for Zephyr Teachout in her 2016 race for the the NY-19 House seat .

Ideological concerns also drive decisions like these, as in fact they should. Fiorina would likely be too far right for Clinton to support, and Teachout too far left. This is a fair basis on which to decide. It was also a fair basis on which to decide support for Clinton as well.

The Ocasio-Crowley Battle Is a Very High-Leverage Fight

A second point: I recently wrote about the importance of progressive involving themselves heavily in high-leverage races -- like the Bernie Sanders 2016 race, for example -- where the payoff would have been huge relative to the effort. (You can read that piece and its argument here: " Supporting Aggressive Progressives for Very High-Leverage Offices ".)

The Ocasio-Crowley contest is similarly high-leverage -- first, because he's perceived as vulnerable and acting like he agrees , and second because it would, to use a chess metaphor, eliminate one of the most powerful (and corrupt) anti-progressive players from House leadership in a single move.

Again, Crowley is widely seen as the next Democratic Speaker of the House. He would be worse by far than Nancy Pelosi, and he's dangerous. He has blackmailed, as I see it, almost all of his colleagues into supporting him by the implicit threat of, as Speaker, denying them committee assignments and delaying or thwarting their legislation. He also controls funding as Speaker via the leadership PAC and the DCCC. Even Mark Pocan, co-chair of the CPC and normally a reliable progressive voice and vote, is reportedly whipping support for Crowley among his colleagues.

Crowley plays for keeps. Taking him off the board entirely, removing him from the House for the next two years, would produce a benefit to progressives far in excess of the effort involved.

Progressives, were they truly smart, would have nationalize this race from the beginning and worked tirelessly to win it. The payoff from a win like this is huge. Larry Coffield , June 26, 2018 at 5:27 am

I think identity politics has always served as a diversion for elites to play within the neoliberal bandwidth of decreasing public spending. Fake austerity and an unwillingness to use conjured money for public QE are necessary for pursuing neoliberal privatization of public enterprises. Therefore Bernie and his MMT infrastructure are anathema to corporate democrats and their Wall St. benefactors.

Moral Monday represents what I deem as people over profit. I would rather be a spoiler than enable corporate sociopaths to.expand mass incarceration, end welfare as we know it, consider the killing of a half-million Iraqi children an acceptable cost, or oversee the first inverted debt jubilee in 2008 to forgive the liabilities of fraudsters by pauperizing debtors.

[Jun 05, 2018] The importance of identity wedge in two party voting

Jun 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

anon [317] Disclaimer , June 5, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Rational

responding to PG's comments and the comments of Rational Zionist, among them, being many NY Intellectuals, invented mugged reality (Neoconism), but party slithering is a another name for divide and conquer.

Fudmier's example as to how to control the vote:

You present an idea to 6 people (there are seven votes including yours, you are the one); virtually everyone is indifferent or against your idea. Before the vote, how can you make the outcome favorable to your side? Divide the opinions on a related subject so that the people must vote for your idea if they take a side on the related subject. I am always either a Democrat or a Republican, cannot vote for anything the other party presents, no matter how good it is. So make the idea Republican or Democratic.

Here is a simple example:

no division     1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Total votes 7. Voted for me 1 (myself only)                   I lose
divide by party D R D R D R R Total votes 7. Voted for me (3 republican votes and myself) 4 I win

As the simple analysis suggests: it is easy to win a vote when the idea is Glued to the two AAs (glue, attached, or associated). The unpopular idea Glued and attached or associated with the political party issue splits the vote (such activity divides and weakens the political power inherent in the voting power of the masses). For example, if we make the vote to turn off all of the drinking water. the only vote will be mine, but if we say turn off the drinking water to all but those who are green, we divide the vote. and control the outcome.

This brings us to the democratic dilemma: should the non green people be included in vote on that issue? In fact, it is exactly this problem that those who wrote the constitution intended to establish.

The aggressive foreign policies and national security positions mentioned by PG have been attached to the standard Jewish line; in other words the duty of a Jew to recognize him/herself as a Jew and to vote as a member of the clan has been glued to the AAs. It is nearly impossible to vote for Jewish interest and not vote to demolish Palestinian homes.

I am hoping this list can develop ways to analyze current events into a set of fair play rules, reading, learning and analyzing books, journals and events and writing about them is not enough; some kind of action is needed to bring into reality the findings of these readings, learning and analysis produce. The best way to offset misleading, false or invented propaganda is to force it to into a rule based debunking process. Simple rules that everyone can learn, understand and adopt.

Capitalist Russia and its resources represent a major competitor to the resources and schemes of the capitalist neocon led West. Hating Russia is like being a democrat or a republican, it keeps the pharaoh options open.

[Apr 29, 2018] Immigration and identity politics

Apr 29, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 05:41

If you are saying that their expertise lies elsewhere, that is surely self-evident?
Crazymoomin , 24 Apr 2018 05:37

Working-class white people may claim to be against identity politics, but they actually crave identity politics.

I think they probably see it more of a "if you can't beat them, join them" scenario. They see the way the wind is blowing and decide if they want representation, they have to play the game, even if they don't really like the rules.

Ron Jackson -> CharlesBradlaugh , 24 Apr 2018 05:30
No sloth will make you live in poverty, unless you are actually the animal the sloth.
StevoT -> cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 05:28
The detail. They don't know the detail. They don't have the expertise. Which is what this article is about.

They don't know what they're talking about, even if they do know what they want.

cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 05:22
.... but see my previous post.

They know enough about the EU to know that it isn't one of their patrons and sponsors. They also know that Westminster have been systematically misrepresenting the EU for their own purposes for decades, and they can use the same approach.

What more is required?

CharlesBradlaugh -> Ron Jackson , 24 Apr 2018 05:15
are we supposed to be impressed by your middle income? Poverty is not caused by sloth.
CharlesBradlaugh -> Ron Jackson , 24 Apr 2018 05:12
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn't abide by our community standards . Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs .
Ron Jackson -> CharlesBradlaugh , 24 Apr 2018 05:08
Not a fool and I don't hate anyone at 55 I have 1.2M in investments, I make 165k a year and pay 40k+ a year in taxes. I to come across people who live off of we everyday and expect to free load. I am not a blowhard just an engineer who pays for sloth.
KeyboardChimp , 24 Apr 2018 05:07
Non expert berating non experts. The Michael Massing paradox.
CharlesBradlaugh -> Ron Jackson , 24 Apr 2018 04:57
I've met many fools like you in my over 50 years on the planet, blowhards parading their ignorance as a badge of pride, thinking that their hatred of anyone not exactly like them is normal, mistaking what some cretin says on the far right radio for fact.

You people would be comical if not for the toxicity that your stupidity engenders.

Monkeybiz -> SteveofCaley , 24 Apr 2018 04:51
It's a play on the motto "One country under God". Rather clever, I thought.
Monkeybiz -> Andrew Nichols , 24 Apr 2018 04:50
Yes, there is a deep lack of context and hence dilution of meaning as a result
Monkeybiz -> Navarth , 24 Apr 2018 04:48
Al Jazeera tries to do a better job, at least providing a spectrum of opinion and a lot of depth in quite a few issues, something most other networks fail to do these days.
StevoT -> cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 04:48
Don't think I am confusing anything.

My point was about expertise. Brexiteers have goals about which I agree with you.

My point is that they don't know about the subject, the EU, which they are using to achieve their goals.

Monkeybiz -> breitling1884 , 24 Apr 2018 04:47
Really? Were they repeated?
cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 04:37
Don't fall into the associated trap either, of the false equation between STATED and ACTUAL goals.

Fox and Hunt are fully aware that to actually admit their actual goal, would be (probably) just about the only thing which would provoke an electoral backlash which would sweep the Conservatives from office. The NHS is proverbially "the nearest thing the English have, to a religion" and is a profoundly dangerous subject for debate.

Fox and Hunt may be weaving an incomprehensible web of sophistry and misdirection, but no part of it is accidental.

StevoT -> cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 04:31
Don't disagree with this. Doesn't mean they know what they are talking about.
cynical_bystander -> StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 04:12
Please, please don't make the unfounded assumption that people like Fox, Johnson, Cameron et al are as stupid as they sometimes appear.

Fox and Hunt, in particular, know exactly what they are engaged in - a hard-right coup designed to destroy government control over the NHS and route its enormous cash flows into the pockets of their private, mostly American sponsors. It isn't necessary to look far, to discover their connections and patronage from this source.

Johnson is consumed by ambition, as was Cameron before him; like Cameron, he makes much of his self-presumed fitness for the role, whilst producing no supporting evidence of any description.

Brexit, as defined by its advocates, CANNOT be discussed precisely because no rational debate exists. It hinges upon the Conservative Party's only fear, that of disunity leading to Opposition. They see that Labour are 50-odd seats short of a majority, and that's ALL they see.

cynical_bystander -> aurelian , 24 Apr 2018 04:06
What in God's green world are you talking about? Did you read that before pressing "Post"? It's obvious that you have no knowledge whatsoever of the subject.

The "race riots" of the 1940s and 1950s were essentially about employment protection (the first, regarding the importation of Yemeni seamen into the North-East of England). The mostly Pakistani influx into the North-West of England was an attempt to cut labour costs and prop up a dying, obsolete industry, mortally wounded by the loss of its business model in the aftermath of Empire; an industry whose very bricks and mortar are long since gone, but the imported labour and their descendants remain... the influx of Caribbean labour into London and the South-East was focussed around the railways and Underground, to bolster the local labour force which had little interest in dead-end shift-work jobs in the last days of steam traction and the increasingly run-down Underground.

Labour, in those days, was strongly anti-immigration precisely because it saw no value in it, to their unionised, heavy-industry voter base.

Regarding the ideological, anti-British, anti-democratic nature of Labour's conversion to mass immigration, you need only read the writings and speeches of prominent figures of the day such as Roy Hattersley and Harriet Harman, who say exactly this, quite clearly and in considerable detail. Their ideological heirs, figures like Diane Abbot (who is stridently anti-white and anti-British), Andrew Neather and Hazel Blears, can speak for themselves.

sgwnmr -> SteveofCaley , 24 Apr 2018 03:50
I guess you're of the "when I'm doubt talk gibberish" school of argument capitulation.
StevoT , 24 Apr 2018 03:17
I was recently struck by this part of the Guardian obituary of Lady Farrington of Ribbleton:

' she possessed the important defining characteristic that, above others, wins admiration across all the red leather benches in the House of Lords: she knew what she was talking about'

Too often these days we are governed by people who don't know what they are talking about. Never has this been truer than the likes of Fox, Davis, Johnson, and other Brexiteers.

But this doesn't seem to matter much anymore. At times it seems that anyone can make generised assertions about something, without having to back them up with evidence, and then wave away questions about their veracity.

Opinion now trumps evidence regularly, even on the BBC where Brexit ideology is often now given a free pass. The problem for those of us who value expertise is that with the likes of Trump, and some EU Leavers, we are up against a bigotry which is evangelical in nature. A gospel that cannot be questioned, a creed that allows no other thinking.

SteveofCaley -> sgwnmr , 24 Apr 2018 02:37
The best you can do is complain about "this?" This WHAT? Try a noun. You're being an embarrassment to troglodytes everywhere. Don't just point and leap up and down. Your forefathers died in bringing you a language. Be an expressive hominid and name the thing that hurts.
gilstra , 24 Apr 2018 02:29
It seems at the moment the Guardian also suffers from a glut of experts without expertise. Not a day goes by that my jaw doesn't drop at some inane claim made by what seems to be a retinue of contributors who have neither good writing skills nor a particularly wide look on things. An example today: "Unlike Hillary Clinton, I never wanted to be someone's wife". How extraordinary. Who says she ever 'wanted to be someone's wife'? Maybe she fell in love with someone all those years ago and they decided to get married? Who knows. But sweeping statements like that do not endear you to quite a few of your once very loyal readers. It's annoying.
aurelian -> cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 02:03
I think this posits an overriding explanation for people's actions that doesn't exist. Even the idea that immigration is a new liberal plot. Take the wind rush generation of immigrants while there was a Tory government at the time I think the idea this was an attempt to undermine white working class gains is provably nonsensical
cynical_bystander , 24 Apr 2018 01:21
The problem with this article, and the numerous other similar pieces which appear in the various editions of the Guardian on a "regular-and-often" basis, is that it completely avoids a very basic point, because it has no answer to it.

It is this.

The white British (and by extension, Western) populations never wanted mass immigration because they knew from the outset, that its purpose was to undermine the social and political gains they had wrested from the political and financial elite after 1945. They cared not at all for the fratricidal conflicts between alien religions and cultures, of which they knew little and regarded what they did know as unacceptable.

The US achieved a huge economic boom without it. Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the USA were popular destinations for the British population whose goal and mantra was "no return to the thirties" and who emigrated in large numbers.

White semi-skilled and unskilled (and increasingly, lower middle class) populations everywhere reject, and have always rejected third world mass immigration (and more recently, in some areas, mass emigration from the former Soviet Union) for the simple, and sufficient reason that they have no possible reason or incentive to support or embrace it. It offers them nothing, and its impact on their lives is wholly negative in practical terms - which is how a social group which lives with limited or no margins between income and outgoings, necessarily
perceives life.

Identity politics has no roots amongst them, because they correctly perceive that whatever answer it might produce, there is no possible outcome in which the preferred answer will be a semi-skilled, white family man. They inevitably pick up a certain level of the constant blare of "racist bigot, homophobe, Islsmophobia" from its sheer inescapability, but they aren't COMPLETELY stupid.

RalphDemming , 24 Apr 2018 01:00
Dumb and dumber writers...

[Apr 24, 2018] Class and how they use words to hide reality

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... For example, when a Republican talks about "freedom" they don't mean "freedom from want". They mean "freedom from government oppression", but only government oppression. ..."
"... Democrats act the same way about different things. When a Democrat says "diversity", they only mean diversity of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Diversity of ideas? Diversity of class? Not so much. When a Democrat says "privilege" it refers to "white" and "male". Privilege of wealth? (i.e. like the dictionary definition) That generally gets forgotten. ..."
"... -- Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW) ..."
"... @thanatokephaloides ..."
"... -- Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW) ..."
"... @longtalldrink ..."
"... @longtalldrink ..."
"... @Lily O Lady ..."
"... @Lily O Lady ..."
"... @longtalldrink ..."
"... @lizzyh7 ..."
"... @dkmich ..."
Apr 24, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 11:45pm

I've come to realize that there's a lot of confusion out there due to people using words with very specific definitions.

For example, when a Republican talks about "freedom" they don't mean "freedom from want". They mean "freedom from government oppression", but only government oppression.

Private oppression? Republicans will either deny it exists, or justify it. When a Republican is "pro-life" it only refers to birth. Because those very same pro-life people are generally pro-war and pro-death penalty.

Democrats act the same way about different things. When a Democrat says "diversity", they only mean diversity of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Diversity of ideas? Diversity of class? Not so much. When a Democrat says "privilege" it refers to "white" and "male". Privilege of wealth? (i.e. like the dictionary definition) That generally gets forgotten.

And then there is the bipartisan misuse of words, which revolves around war and wealth.
When they say "humanitarian war" they mean, um, some contradictory concepts that are meaningless, but are designed to make you feel a certain way.
When they say "socialism" they really mean "state oppression" regardless of the economic system.
As for the many version of socialism with minimal or non-existent central governments? Or when socialist programs work? No one talks about them.

Let's not forget substituting or mixing up "middle class" for "working class".
"Working class" now equals "poor", which isn't right.
They use "working class" as a smear too.
When you say "working class" some people automatically insert certain words in front of it, as if it's generally understood.

When many hear discussion of outreach to "working class" voters, they silently add the words "white" and "male" and all too often imagine them working on a factory floor or in construction. They shouldn't. According to another analysis by CAP from late last year, just under 6 in 10 members of the working class are white, and the group is almost half female (46 percent).

The topic of the needs and interests of the working class is usually race and gender neutral. Only the dishonest or indoctrinated can't wrap their minds around that fact.This is important because working class values don't require a race or gender lens.

a new report released today by the Center for American Progress makes a convincing argument, using extensive polling data, that this divide does not need to exist. As it turns out, in many cases, voters -- both college educated and working class, and of all races -- are in favor of an economic agenda that would offer them broader protections whether it comes to work, sickness or retirement.
"The polling shows that workers across race support similar views on economic policy issues," said David Madland, the co-author of the report, entitled "The Working-Class Push for Progressive Economic Policies." "They support a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, and more spending on healthcare and retirement. There is broad support among workers for progressive economic policy."

This shows that it's possible to make economic issues front and center in a campaign platform in a way that doesn't just talk to working class whites and dismisses the concerns of female and minority voters. It also shows that the oft-discussed dilemma among Democrats -- whether to prioritize college educated voters or working class ones -- may be a false choice.

Propaganda is all about false choices. To accomplish this, the media has created a world in which the working class exist only in the margins .

With the working class largely unrepresented in the media, or represented only in supporting roles, is it any wonder that people begin to identify in ways other than their class? Which is exactly what the ruling class wants .

I can't believe I used to fall for this nonsense! It takes a stupendous level of cognitive dissonance to simultaneously celebrate the fortunes of someone from a specific identity while looking past the vast sea of people from said identity who are stuck in gut-wrenching poverty. We pop champagnes for the neo-gentry while disregarding our own tribulations. It's the most stunning form of logical jujitsu establishment shills have successfully conditioned us to accept; instead of gauging the health of the economy and the vitality of our nation based on the collective whole, we have been hoodwinked to accept the elevation of a few as success for us all.
Diversity has become a scam and nothing more than a corporate bamboozle and a federated scheme that is used to hide the true nature of crony capitalism. We have become a Potemkin society where tokens are put on the stage to represent equality while the vast majority of Americans are enslaved by diminishing wages or kneecapped into dependency. The whole of our politics has been turned into an identity-driven hustle. On both sides of the aisle and at every corner of the social divide are grievance whisperers and demagogues who keep spewing fuel on the fire of tribalism. They use our pains and suffering to make millions only to turn their backs on us the minute they attain riches and status.

It's only when you see an article written by the ruling elite, or one that identifies with the ruling elite, that you realize just how out-of-touch they can be. The rich really are different - they are sociopaths. They've totally and completely bought into their own righteousness, merit and virtue .

Class ascendance led me to become what Susan Jacoby classifies in her recent New York Times Op-Ed "Stop Apologizing for Being Elite" as an "elite": a vague description of a group of people who have received advanced degrees. Jacoby urges elites to reject the shame that they have supposedly recently developed, a shame that somehow stems from failing to stop the working class from embracing Trumpism. Jacoby laments that, following the 2016 election, these elites no longer take pride in their wealth, their education, their social status, and posits that if only elites embraced their upward mobility, the working class would have something to aspire to and thus discard their fondness for Trump and his promises to save them.

That level of condescension just blows my mind. It occurred to me some time ago that I have much more in common with a working class slob in France, or Mexico, or Brazil, or Russia, than I do with the wealthy elite in my own country. Don't think that the wealthy haven't figured that out too.

Pricknick on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:03am
Condescension.

That is the only word you need pay attention to.
I am inferior therefore expendable.
How the lofty will fail. They will succumb to those who are lessor in their minds.
Nice post gjohn.

Wink on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 4:11pm
And posted as a pod,

sort of, at... Patreon.com/C99
@Pricknick

That is the only word you need pay attention to.
I am inferior therefore expendable.
How the lofty will fail. They will succumb to those who are lessor in their minds.
Nice post gjohn.

thanatokephaloides on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:13am
the working class and the employing class have nothing in common

It occurred to me some time ago that I have much more in common with a working class slob in France, or Mexico, or Brazil, or Russia, than a do with the wealthy elite in my own country.
Don't think that the wealthy haven't figured that out too.

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.
There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among
millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing
class, have all the good things of life.

-- Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW)
source

QMS on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 8:17pm
over generalized

@thanatokephaloides I have been a worker and an employer for most of my career. I associate with many of the same ilk. None of us working / employer types can afford to hire the millions of under employed. Maybe a few here and there. We are not wealthy, nor are we taking advantage of the poor. Try to put this lofty idealism into perspective.

It occurred to me some time ago that I have much more in common with a working class slob in France, or Mexico, or Brazil, or Russia, than a do with the wealthy elite in my own country.
Don't think that the wealthy haven't figured that out too.

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.
There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among
millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing
class, have all the good things of life.

-- Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers Of The World (IWW)
source

earthling1 on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:18am
Their heads will look real fine

on a pike.

Meteor Man on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:30am
The Working-Class Push for Progressive Economic Policies

Somebody at CAP may be out of a job. I tried to find the report and came up empty. Can you provide the link? Thx.

The Aspie Corner on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 7:56am
But 'Murica is a classless society..../s

My ass. Class was a huge factor in 2016 (And still is) and working class issues were utterly ignored.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-jjrSWCgJus?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

longtalldrink on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 2:25pm
And let us not forget Occupy Wallstreet

was the continuation of the Poor People's Campaign. We are all still in dire straights.

Lily O Lady on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:09am
I up-voted you but

@longtalldrink @longtalldrink
that's " dire ." Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

was the continuation of the Poor People's Campaign. We are all still in dire straights.

thanatokephaloides on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 1:33pm
dyer

@Lily O Lady

I up-voted you but that's "dire." Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

A "dyer" is one who applies dyes.

"Dire" is a synonym for desperate. And it applies to our situation.

#6 #6
that's " dire ." Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

longtalldrink on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 2:21pm
Ugh

@Lily O Lady I saw that after I posted it and knew the grammar police would get me...yikes.

#6 #6
that's " dire ." Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

lizzyh7 on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 5:40pm
I just assumed it was

@longtalldrink a play on Dyer Straights...!

#6.1 I saw that after I posted it and knew the grammar police would get me...yikes.

longtalldrink on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 8:36pm
Actually

@lizzyh7 they were one of my favorite groups...so maybe subconsciously, this is what I was doing?

#6.1.2 a play on Dyer Straights...!

dkmich on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:37pm
So pay more taxes if you make more than 250K, BUT

pay $125K per kid for college if you earn more than 125K. That makes zero sense. A parent has no legal obligation to a child after age 18, but the 18 year old must include parental income if they apply for PELL. If they are included in their parents family, then the family must be legally obligated to pay for college. 18 can legally die, go to war, be incarcerated, and contractually bound, but they can't have a drink or be legally entitled to the same rights and benefits as everyone else.

Since the college-educated express less support at any price, it reeks of pettiness and tit for tat. "I paid for mine, you pay for yours." It is no wonder there is so much resentment at all levels and an economic coalition can't be formed. Somebody is always measuring who mom loves best. At no time did Bernie say a word about means testing a GD thing. It is why he was able to transcend labels.

thanatokephaloides on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 1:42pm
paid for

@dkmich

Since the college-educated express less support at any price, it reeks of pettiness and tit for tat. "I paid for mine, you pay for yours."

Especially when one considers the chances of that being true are really quite small.

Contrary to the Randian beLIEf, they didn't build what they have all by themselves. Society carried quite a bit of the freight here.

pay $125K per kid for college if you earn more than 125K. That makes zero sense. A parent has no legal obligation to a child after age 18, but the 18 year old must include parental income if they apply for PELL. If they are included in their parents family, then the family must be legally obligated to pay for college. 18 can legally die, go to war, be incarcerated, and contractually bound, but they can't have a drink or be legally entitled to the same rights and benefits as everyone else.

Since the college-educated express less support at any price, it reeks of pettiness and tit for tat. "I paid for mine, you pay for yours." It is no wonder there is so much resentment at all levels and an economic coalition can't be formed. Somebody is always measuring who mom loves best. At no time did Bernie say a word about means testing a GD thing. It is why he was able to transcend labels.

Snode on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 2:01pm
Thomas Edsall has an article

That starts out on disparities in housing, but rounds abouts to the "Elite Class" and the urban gentrification by corporatist democrats. It points out how the democratic party caters to this elite wing, and how the NIMBY-ism of the elites blocks affordable housing laws. It ends up with some observations:

"Taking it a step further, a Democratic Party based on urban cosmopolitan business liberalism runs the risk not only of leading to the continued marginalization of the minority poor, but also -- as the policies of the Trump administration demonstrate -- to the continued neglect of the white working-class electorate that put Trump in the White House."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/opinion/democrats-gentrification-citi...

Lenzabi on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 2:48pm
We Can't

We really can't afford the wealthy parasite class anymore nor should we suffer their think tanks that make folks worship them and their lifestyles of indulgence and greed!

[Apr 22, 2018] The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite

Highly recommended!
The quotes are from A Conversation on Race, by Paul Craig Roberts - The Unz Review
Notable quotes:
"... The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers. ..."
"... Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 2:43 am GMT

PCR's latest is really good. I love it when he gets to ripping, and doesn't stop for 2000+ words or so. It reads a lot better than Toynbee, fersher.

The working class, designated by Hillary Clinton as "the Trump deplorables," is now the victimizer, not the victim. Marxism has been stood on its head.

The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers.

The ruling elite favors a "conversation on race," because the ruling elite know it can only result in accusations that will further divide society. Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history.

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT

Just a bit more real truth from PCR. Carry on

All of America, indeed of the entire West, lives in The Matrix, a concocted [and false] reality. Western peoples are so propagandized, so brainwashed, that they have no understanding that their disunity was created in order to make them impotent in the face of a rapacious ruling class, a class whose arrogance and hubris has the world on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

History as it actually happened is disappearing as those who tell the truth are dismissed as misogynists, racists, homophobes, Putin agents, terrorist sympathizers, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists. Liberals who complained mightily of McCarthyism now practice it ten-fold.

The United States with its brainwashed and incompetent population -- indeed, the entirety of the Western populations are incompetent -- and with its absence of intelligent leadership has no chance against Russia and China, two massive countries arising from their overthrow of police states as the West descends into a gestapo state. The West is over and done with. Nothing remains of the West but the lies used to control the people. All hope is elsewhere.

[Mar 29, 2018] Cultural Marxism and identity politics

Mar 29, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Raoul Duke -> milgram , 28 Mar 2018 08:47

It has nothing to do with marxism. I think "cultural marxism" is used in the same context.

It's basically just a label used by right-wingers to describe all the identity politics etc that faux lefties like the neoliberal democrats engage in to distract their voters from looking at actual leftist economic policies. So instead of trying to narrow the gaps between economic classes it's focuses on giving all identities, cultures and subcultures equal worth.

If that makes sense.. My vocabulary kind of lacked the words I was looking for to try to give a good description just now.. (English being my 2nd language an all)

[Mar 27, 2018] The New York Times procures salacious details of "gray-zone sex" by Eric London

Notable quotes:
"... Business Insider ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | www.wsws.org

On February 21, the New York Times published a notice calling on college students to describe and document any sexual encounter "that may not be viewed as sexual assault but which constitutes something murkier than a bad date." The notice incldues a submission form where students can accuse individuals of having engaged in something the Times calls "gray-zone sex." The Times asks its young tipsters to include names, email addresses, phone numbers and colleges, plus text message records and photographs documenting the encounters.

The Times ' announcement, written by gender editor Jessica Bennett and Daniel Jones, reads in its entirety:

As stories of sexual misconduct continue to dominate the news, a debate has erupted over a particular kind of encounter, one that may not be viewed as sexual assault but which constitutes something murkier than a bad date.

We've seen it play out on a public stage, from the Aziz Ansari incident to The New Yorker's "Cat Person" story. So-called "gray-zone sex" has prompted impassioned conversations about -- and personal reflection on -- what constitutes consent and how we signal our desire or apprehension in the moment. This debate is especially vibrant on college campuses, where for years students and administrators have grappled with the issue.

We want to hear how you handle consent for sexual intimacy in relationships and encounters. Do you have a particular experience you find yourself thinking back to? What was said, texted or hinted at, through words or physical cues, that moved the encounter forward -- or stopped it? How did it make you feel at the time, and how do you think about it now?

The February 21 solicitation links to an article Bennett wrote on December 16, 2017 titled, "When Saying 'Yes' Is Easier Than Saying 'No,'" which sheds further light on what the Times means when it asks "what constitutes consent?" The two articles together show the provocative and witch-hunting character of the Times ' efforts to compile a database of sexual harassment allegations on college campuses across the country.

"For years," Bennett begins in the December article, "my female friends and I have spoken, with knowing nods, about a sexual interaction we call 'the place of no return.' It's a kind of sexual nuance that most women instinctively understand: the situation you thought you wanted, or maybe you actually never wanted, but somehow here you are and it's happening and you desperately want out, but you know that at this point exiting the situation would be more difficult than simply lying there and waiting for it to be over. In other words, saying yes when we really mean no."

Bennett provides two examples, one from her personal life and another from a short story published late last year in the New Yorker titled "Cat person." In both cases, the woman is interested in the man, they court one another, and they both agree to have sex. In the New Yorker story, which is also linked in the February 21 announcement, the protagonist is physically unsatisfied by her partner, who she complains is "heavy" and "bad in bed." Later, the protagonist tells all her friends a version of this encounter, "though," the author explains, "not quite the true one."

Bennett says "there are other names for this kind of sex: gray-zone sex, in reference to that murky gray area of consent; begrudgingly consensual sex, because, you know, you don't really want to do it but it's probably easier to just get it over with; lukewarm sex, because you're kind of 'meh' about it; and, of course, bad sex, where the 'bad' refers not to the perceived pleasure of it, but to the way you feel in the aftermath Sometimes 'yes' means 'no,' simply because it is easier to go through with it than explain our way out of a situation."

"Consent" is a legal term that marks the line between noncriminal and criminal conduct. Sex without consent can, and should, lead to the filing of a complaint followed by the initiation of a criminal investigation, prosecution and, if a jury is persuaded by the evidence, conviction. It is a basic legal tenet that the accused cannot be punished by the state for acts that are not proscribed by law, and in the American system, conduct that falls in a "gray zone" by its very nature does not meet the threshold for conviction: guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt."

But the Times 's call for young people to submit reports of "gray-zone sex" is aimed at creating a parallel system, outside the framework of the law, in which the accused have no right to privacy or to due process. As law professor Catharine MacKinnon wrote in a Times column on February 4, "#MeToo has done what the law could not."

Playing the role of prosecutors in the court of public opinion, the gender editor and her cohorts at the New York Times are creating a massive database that it can dig through to ruin the careers and lives of students and professors based on unproved accusations of sexual conduct that, in any event, is not illegal.

The aim of this reactionary campaign is both political and pecuniary.

First, the Times hopes to create a political and cultural climate in which a broad array of consensual conduct is deemed punishable, even if it does not violate any legal statute.

The Times 's appeal for accusations comes after a number of spreadsheets have surfaced where students and faculty can anonymously submit accusations of harassment or "creepy behavior" on the part of male collegues or teachers. The submissions will involve a massive invasion of privacy. Individuals, without their knowledge or consent, may be placed in a situation where their most intimate behavior is being secretly documented and forwarded to the New York Times . Texts and even photographs will be examined and leered over by the gender editor and her colleagues. It is not difficult to imagine the abuses of privacy that will flow from the Times 's efforts to procure salacious material.

There are countless legal issues involved. There are many states that outlaw the transmission of sexually explicit and lewd material over the Internet. Will the individuals who foolishly transmit the material requested by the Times be opening themselves up to prosecution? If the Times 's editors discover that one or another submission describes sexual behavior that occurred between minors, will they inform the police that they have evidence of a violation of age-of-consent laws?

If the Times receives a submission that describes a consensual sexual encounter between a student and an older faculty member or administrator, will it decide that it must inform the institution of a possible violation of institutional regulations? And what happens if and when prosecutors, having initiated investigations into "gray-zone sex," obtain supboenas, demanding that the Times turn over its files? Who can doubt that the Times will comply with court orders, regardless of the consequences for those who are caught up in the escalating witch hunt?

Second, the call for "gray-zone sex" stories is a shameless effort to make money. In early February, the Times announced a 46 percent increase in digital subscriptions over the past year, and its stock price has increased 40 percent since October, the month it published the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Reuters wrote, "Subscriptions in the quarter also got a boost from the newspaper's coverage of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment story, helping the company post the highest-ever annual subscription revenue of $1 billion." It was also in October 2017 that the Times announced the position of "gender editor," at which point Bennett declared that gender "needs to exist throughout every section of the paper."

However, the newspaper has had trouble attracting younger readers who are more likely to turn to social media and independent websites for news. In 2017, the Times launched its own Discover section on Snapchat "with the aim of capturing younger demographics," Business Insider wrote. The Times 's campaign to broaden the #MeToo campaign to include "gray-zone sex" stories, with a focus on college campuses, is a part of its filthy business strategy.

[Mar 02, 2018] Neocon schumer plays identity politics

Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , March 2, 2018 at 2:59 am GMT

Don't worry about republicans ..democrats are ruining themselves all alone .every time the deplorables see something like this they will double down on anything but a Dem.
Regardless of one's view on blacks or whites this is a major Stupid for a politician.

Chuck Schumer votes against South Carolina federal judge nominee because he's white

https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/chuck-schumer-votes-against-s-c-judicial-nominee-because-he/article_8b9f1890-1d6b-11e8-8533-0f7cc33319a9.html

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected President Donald Trump's nominee for a long-vacant South Carolina federal judgeship not because of his qualifications but because of his race.
The decision drew the quick ire of South Carolina's two U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, a former federal prosecutor.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday he would not support Greenville attorney Marvin Quattlebaum for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court in South Carolina

Voting for Quattlebaum, he said, would result in having a white man replace two African-American nominees from the state put forth by former President Barack Obama.

Schumer said he would not be a part of the Trump administration's pattern of nominating white men.

"The nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump's selections for the federal judiciary," Schumer said.

"It's long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents," he continued. "Having a diversity of views and experience on the federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice."

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate's sole black Republican, pushed back on Schumer's rationale and urged other Senate Democrats to instead address diversity issues by starting with their offices.

"Perhaps Senate Democrats should be more worried about the lack of diversity on their own staffs than attacking an extremely well-qualified judicial nominee from the great state of South Carolina," Scott tweeted Thursday morning.

[Feb 08, 2018] We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus

Notable quotes:
"... We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 6:57 pm

We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input.

Through critical thinking, we can overcome these emotional impulses, but only with effort, and a pre-existing skepticism of all information sources. And even still, I have no doubt that all of us who are aware of the propaganda still accept some falsehoods as true.

It could be that having former Intelligence Agency Directors as "news" presenters, and Goldman Sachs alum and Military/Industrial complex CEOs running important government agencies makes clear to some the reality that we live in an oligarchy with near-tyrannical powers. But most people seem too busy surviving and/or being diverted by the circus to notice the depths of the propaganda.

[Feb 03, 2018] Kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as real or true, specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not staged. Kayfabe became a code word for maintaining this reality for the general public.

Feb 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

ruffhouse Feb 3, 2018 4:31 PM Permalink

Post-American Politics Is Kayfabe.

KAYFABE: kayfabe /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true," specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature of any kind.

Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this "reality" within the direct or indirect presence of the general public.

http://www.barnhardt.biz/2016/10/08/post-american-politics-is-kayfabe-the-word-is-kayfabe/

[Feb 03, 2018] But What If He is Not an Idiot by John Atcheson

Notable quotes:
"... Trump inherited great wealth. He learned one big lesson in life early on. Hire competent people and they will save your ass when you make a blunder. Trump's one skill is as a promoter of Trump. ..."
Feb 03, 2018 | www.commondreams.org

36 Comments

Trump could be playing us all. And not considering that is, well, idiotic.

Turns out, the first word a lot of people think of when it comes to President Donald Trump is this one: idiot .

The White House's handling of the Comey firing looks a lot like a clip from The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight . The Press Secretary hiding in the bushes, Trump sending virtually his entire staff under the bus with his various and rapidly shifting versions of his reasons for the firing, and his unhinged Twitter rants at the press for covering the fiasco as a fiasco.

Once again, pundits are talking about impulse control, the ADD Presidency, rank amateurism in the Oval Office, threats to Democracy -- all the stuff that they talked about in the campaign. The stuff that was supposed to doom his bid for the presidency to failure.

"It's worth considering what we are not talking about as we watch this political pornography play out."

All of this is grim stuff. We haven't seen a threat to democracy as serious as this since Watergate, so I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't be addressing it.

But it's worth considering what we are not talking about as we watch this political pornography play out and also, how does the focus on Russia undercut the Democratic Party? In other words, what if this is exactly what Trump intended when he fired Comey? It's worth remembering Trump's mentor was Roy Cohn, who was a master at controlling the narrative and one of his favorite techniques was to change the subject with an in-your-face outrage of one kind or another.

Let's examine what we're not talking about, and then what the effect of the whole Russian narrative is having on the Democratic Party.

What We Aren't Talking About

Shortly before Trump tossed in the Comey Molotov Cocktail into the national living room, here's what was dominating the news:

But none of that is being discussed much any longer. And if you ran as a populist, but all your policies are benefitting the top 1%, that's exactly what you'd hope for. Yes, the few Congressional members who are brave enough to hold town meetings are still getting mugged by outraged constituents, but these meetings are not getting the kind of coverage they would have pre-Comey. And that means the Health Care Bill isn't getting the kind of serious examination it would have if the media weren't doing all Comey, all the time. Again, exactly what you'd want if you knew the guts of the legislation were so bad, that if it got out there, even the Trump bobble heads would be pissed off. So folks aren't talking about the fact that it was rushed to the floor before getting scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), before we knew what its effects were and what its ultimate cost could be, before people caught on to the fact that the state waiver provision stuck in the revised version of the bill turned it from merely a cruel piece of legislation to the cruelest piece in modern history.

Or take the budget "proposal," which was getting panned by the media and even the few Republicans left in the Senate who actually are fiscal conservatives. Hell, even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took issue with some of the cuts. This reprise of "trickle down" and "supply side" chicanery was being almost universally ridiculed by the press and economists, and it was heavily influenced -- if not outsourced to -- the Heritage Foundation, an outfit funded by the likes of the Koch Brothers. Here again, the last thing Trump wants after running as a populist and a fiscal conservative is to get widespread coverage of just how much this plutocrat's budget resembles the stuff he railed against in his campaign.

And speaking of budgets, the media once again ignored the sanest budget proposal in Washington, The Congressional Progressive Caucus's Better Off Budget , which cuts the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years -- Trump's budget would have increased it by at least $1.4 trillion over that time period, by the way -- while creating 8.8 million new jobs. The Better Off Budget uses policies that are wildly popular with the majority of Americans to accomplish this.

Now, it must be said that the press always ignores the CPC's budget proposals, but maybe Trump was taking no chances -- after all, if anyone held them up side-by-side, Trump and the Republicans would have been unmasked as the charlatans they are.

But there's no danger of that when it's all Comey, all the time.

Much is made of the fact that Trump's popularity among those who voted for him hasn't budged, despite the fact that he's screwing them left and right with his policies. Well, these kinds of maneuvers may explain why. Look back. When the Russian stuff was first heating up big time, we suddenly just had to bomb Syria. Wagging the dog is a time-honored way to change the subject. So is firing a controversial senior public servant.

Comey, the Russians, and the Establishment Arm of the Democratic Party

If Trump isn't an idiot, then here's where his tactics are brilliant. The neoliberal elitists who control the Democratic Party have been trying to keep the focus on the Russian intervention in our election as the reason Hillary Clinton lost. The progressives in the Party have been attacking the Party's estrangement from the people and its rejection of the New Deal policies as the reason. In short, there's a battle on for the heart and soul of the Party.

Firing Comey, brings the whole Russian thing to the fore, and works to sidetrack the real debate the Democratic Party needs to have about its future.

"Firing Comey, brings the whole Russian thing to the fore, and works to sidetrack the real debate the Democratic Party needs to have about its future."

Two things were working to undermine the establishment's hold on the Party until Comey's firing. First, Sanders continued to poll as the most popular politician in America. Second, people were beginning to realize that it was the content of Secretary Clinton's emails that hurt her, not the emails per se . And that content revealed the soft underbelly of the Democratic Party. To wit: the neoliberal belief in small government, the power and goodness of the market, free trade, deregulation, and fiscal austerity was simply too close to the Republican dogma to generate enough passion among progressives to get a good turnout, and Democrats need a good turnout to win elections.

But now it's all Comey all the time, and the Democratic establishment is taking full advantage of that to deflect attention from the real reason they're losing at all levels of government. It appears they'd rather risk losing elections than embrace a truly progressive agenda, and Trump just reinforced their self-serving narrative.

Yeah. What if he's not an idiot?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

John Atcheson John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise , and he has just completed a book on the 2016 elections titled, WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track , available from Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @john_atcheson


notwistalemon May '17

Quote from your article:

"But now it's all Comey all the time, and the Democratic establishment is taking full advantage of that to deflect attention from the real reason they're losing at all levels of government. It appears they'd rather risk losing elections than embrace a truly progressive agenda, and Trump just reinforced their self-serving narrative."

In my opinion you are right on the mark; especially with your last paragraph. Practically all the ultra rich in the world live in the same "gated community". Their goal is to control the world's resources and somehow survive the coming mass die-off due to severe climate disruption. To them their party never ends!

drone1066 May '17
It's possible he's not stupid AND he has zero impulse control. That seems most likely. He's good at subverting the few things he does think out.

But Democrats have quintupled down on Russia. For them, it's a battle for existence. They were completely exposed, and it's going to take a lot of "Russia!" to keep that conversation about their profound corruption from taking place.

And Atcheson is also right that this party much prefers losing than giving up its donorship buffet. That's why they do nothing to correct the course to get more votes. They're relying completely on their corporate media allies to keep the illusion going. So far it's working, to the great shame of rank and file Democrats.

SkepticTank May '17
drone1066 The D-Party would rather stumble back to electoral victory on the anti-Trump effect than offer policy that might clash with the wishes of their corporate donors.

Case in point: Single Payer now back-burnered as a distraction from anti-trump hysteria.

Sad to see so many otherwise intelligent commenters here falling for the usual D-Party parlor tricks.

erisx May '17
Whether Trump's just lucky or know how to work a room is unimportant. Results matter, and the result is that the important stuff's not being discussed, and the Greatest Heist In The World continues. Lest we forget, that Heist is NOT just about the USA. There's a reason they call it 'globalization.'
natureboy May '17
Excellent assessment.

Corporate bribes, big salaries, perks and tv star jobs will have to be torn from Neoliberal Democrats' cold dead hands.

And Don, Rupert and the rest of Mammon's soldiers will soon have to deal with an Artificial Intelligence that learns in one day what it took humans 40,000 years to learn. Interesting times.

Direct Democracy

ontheres May '17
Anyone who carefully followed the primaries knows that the democratic machine used all kinds of corrupt methods to defeat Bernie Sanders. And, anyone who follows the general election knows that the election is easily rigged - especially computer voting that leaves no paper trail and cannot be audited. The hypocrisy of Russians hacking our elections when they are hacked by our own politicians, and Russians interfering with our elections when our corporate elite have no problem interfering with elections in other countries all makes me ill. Don't know how many other voters out there are like me, but sure would like to hear from them.
Somehow almost none of this get mentioned in any press, progressive or otherwise.
BWilliamson May '17
bjoldlygo Trump can't control what he himself thinks. He's been a promoter of the Trump name for 40-50 years. That is a reflex with him. That is the extent of his thinking. There are many others around him, supporting him. Praising his genius, as this article is inclined towards, is their means of exploiting his great weakness.
BWilliamson May '17
wolfess There is nothing behind the scenes. Everything is happening center stage. If you spend your time trying to see behind the scenes you're going to miss the whole show.
Olhippy May '17
ontheres No, the seething undercurrent of the discontented is rarely reported on in the "news". Only when it explodes as in Missouri riots or Occupy Wall Street takeovers, does it get coverage which is put down by government forces, either civilian or feds. The Democratic primaries were changed, back in the 70's I believe, after anti-war candidate McCarthy got the nomination nod. That's when the super delegates came about, so they had more control of things. Expect the GOP too, to change things to keep future Trumps' from getting the nod.
Wereflea May '17 1
I see Atcheson's point but I think he needs to remember that Trump is a Prince of inherited wealth. Trump may be an idiot (he really did seem more intelligent before he got elected and then we had a good look at him and listened to his sometimes unintelligible speech patterns) but he has always been in a position where he delegated authority to people who got paid to be smarter than he was, so his 'idiocy' didn't show as much.

Trump paid high priced lawyers to arrange his deals. He paid expensive consultants and investment managers and on and on and all of those people were exceptionally intelligent. He paid someone to ghost write his book for him. Trump makes the same mistakes as he was always wont to do but back then they were always covered and massaged for him by his staff! After all... he was the Prince!

The Oval Office is not quite the same as a business conference with his lawyers, assistants, bankers and etc. Thus we see Trump blurting out statements that his advisors pull him back from as soon as they get the chance . Being president means everything you say gets publicized and despite all his billions that was not the case for the Prince back when he was just a wheeler and dealer.

Trump runs without a script too often but who in his entourage will dare tell the Prince that when he speaks (without their permission first) he ends up sounding like an idiot! Trump may be feeling constrained by his need to be less reckless and impulsive.

Trump unfiltered? Yeah well maybe he really is an idiot too!

Trumps just wanna have fun!

Lrx May '17 1
Olhippy I think you need to go back and review the history of Democratic primaries. Until 1972 the candidates were largely chosen in smoke-filled back rooms. George McGovern was instrumental in largely turning the Democratic primaries over to the voters. And that is how he got the nomination. Unfortunately he only won a single state but he was the people's choice to run. I wouldn't be concerned about the superdelegates. They always go along with the candidate who got the most pledged delegates. It is unlikely they would ever do otherwise. Unless the people chose a candidate who was really off the charts like Trump. Without superdelegates the Republicans were unable to stop Trump once the RNC backed him. Given what happened to the Republicans a case can be made for the superdelegates. Parties can choose their candidates any way they want. They don't have to let the people vote. Both parties now do and for the first time that turned into a complete disaster.
Godless May '17
The Comey firing also distracted from the Kushner family peddling visas for real estate deals in China; the Pence-Koback Commission to make voter cross-checking a federal law; and Sessions reinvigorating the war on drugs and legal marijuana to strike more minority voters from the rolls. El Presidente Naranja Mentiroso only cares about playing to his base and his base loves watching Democratic heads explode. As long as his base is happy, and they are happy with his performance, the Reptilians in Congress will be afraid to move against him. I thoroughly believe that the voter suppression moves will win the Reptilians the elections in 2018 and 2020. With their control of gerrymandering for another decade and the paid-to-lose Democrats only concerned about donor money, the Reptilians have clear sailing to gain 38 governorships and the ability to rewrite the constitution in their twisted image.
skiendhiu May '17
Wereflea I agree with you on your points of Trump having smart lawyers, assistants,bankers etc. around him doing the "smart" work, I am sure he allso used other tactics, of itimidation of one kind or another , taking it to the courts, threats of financial ruin, he allso wasnt kidding when he said he "knew' the system and how it worked, ..or rather how to work it, but he didnt do that singlehanded either, and i am sure there are more than one or two politicians at different levels from municipalitys on up, in his pocket and or good graces.

But to think him not an idiot is getting to be a bit of a stretch, does he really believe that he actually came up with the phrase "prime the pump"? I knew he was an idiot years before he made fun of the disabled reporter, but that single act confirmed it for me.

Yeah "prime the pump" what is he going to lay claim to next? "four score and seven years ago" " E=mc2" or how about.."and Trump said...let there be light"... I 'll tell you who else the idiots are...and that is any one taking this guy seriouslly any longer at least in a presidentiall sense,... that is just ...idiotic in the extreme.

formerly May '17
What If He's Not an Idiot?
Anyways, most of the American people are idiots .... the dark state and the 0.1% mostly aren't idiots -- just psychopaths.
Michael_Wilk May '17
I think it's more likely that the Democrats are even more moronic than is Drumpf, which is why, as usual, they are serving only to strengthen the GOPhers while pretending they're defenders of the public. Why do you think that hundred or so Democrats are signed onto John Conyers' single-payer bill now that Drumpf is in the Oval office and the Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, when they could have done so when Obama was the chief executive and their party controlled Congress including a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, but instead passed a bill that was modeled on the Heritage Foundation's plan? It's all so much political theater designed to distract the public from the last great plundering of the nation before it collapses in on itself.
cassandra May '17
Lrx The Republicans used rule-changing, altho not superdelegates, to derail Ron Paul. There is never just one way to subvert truth.
cassandra May '17
ontheres I'm with you. The whole Russian thing is ridiculous. And they've never been accused of actually hacking voting machines, just the DNC emails which showed how slimy the DNC is. I have read that Georgia believed someone tried to hack their voting machines and they hired a private firm to investigate. What they found was hacking was attempted the the Dept of Homeland Security.

The simple fact that, after losing in 2000 by voting manipulation and probably via voting machines in 2004, the Dems took over the House in 2007 and 2 years later the Presidency and the Senate, they never, to my knowledge, introduced any legislation to require paper trails in federal elections. As far as I'm concerned that said all one needs to know about the Dems. It would have been a simple one page piece of legislation, Ok, maybe 2 pages.

ToniWintroub May '17
Wereflea Factor in his mafia connections here and abroad. To roll around in that slime at the high level he's in requires cunning to kiss up to the really rich guys who can hurt him and whom, actually, he can hurt. Then he's learned how to survive while he manipulates. Idiot? Define the term.

Cunning. Sociopathic. Narcissistic needing his constant narcissistic supply (adorers). Blackmailer and probably blackmailed. I gotta get Barrett's biography of this POS.

Wereflea May '17
ToniWintroub I wore out years ago but it just goes on and on! Lol

Actually at this point in time I am very much engaged in this garbage since Trump is stunningly entertaining as a rightwing boob out of his element and unraveling as we speak. Trump's adventures in incompetency fascinate me. It is just week after week in a steady progression of mistakes, attempted corrections, attempts at re-correcting those corrections that make them even worse and so forth. It would make for an interesting TV show (sort of like the 'apprentice got himself fired') except that this gross and often crude person can trigger a nuclear war on a whim which puts a damper on the pleasures of watching him deconstruct in front of our eyes.

Nevertheless, it is without doubt the most unexpected presidency of my life. Watergate was a comeuppance but Trump is bizzaro world in action.

Btw... Trump inherited great wealth. He learned one big lesson in life early on. Hire competent people and they will save your ass when you make a blunder. Trump's one skill is as a promoter of Trump. He was never a big brain and up until recently, he never pretended to be.

He is rich and loves being the center of attention. However his being rich is often at the expense of others. You assume that because Trump has long had shady connections that he must be an intellect to survive the association. Not really. Trump makes sure that he is profitable for them and they have no problem with that. It isn't genius on his part. It is always having his projects go way over budget. He guarantees them the cream and they 'have an arrangement'.

Prior to becoming president, Trump's associates, advisors, lawyers and accountants kept Trump making money and that made them money.

Trump is truly like the medieval Prince who lives in a sumptuous palace but who needs his Grand Vizier to actually run things in the country. Keep your eye on Kushner who has become the architect of oligarchy by being the real deal maker (he has the intellect) that Trump only promotes (he has the ego and the big mouth)!

[Jan 13, 2018] And by voting against its own interests, the white working class isn t just making itself poorer, it s literally killing itself

Notable quotes:
"... The central fact of US political economy, the source of our exceptionalism, is that lower-income whites vote for politicians who redistribute income upward and weaken the safety net because they think the welfare state is for nonwhites. ..."
"... And by voting against its own interests, the white working class isn't just making itself poorer, it's literally killing itself. ..."
"... With some slight variations, Krugman was essentially re-stating the thesis of my 2004 book, What's the Matter With Kansas?, in which I declared on the very first page that working people "getting their fundamental interests wrong" by voting for conservatives was "the bedrock of our civic order; it is the foundation on which all else rests". ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

On New Year's Day, the economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman issued a series of tweets in which he proclaimed as follows:

The central fact of US political economy, the source of our exceptionalism, is that lower-income whites vote for politicians who redistribute income upward and weaken the safety net because they think the welfare state is for nonwhites.

and then, a few minutes later:

And by voting against its own interests, the white working class isn't just making itself poorer, it's literally killing itself.

Was I psyched to see this! With some slight variations, Krugman was essentially re-stating the thesis of my 2004 book, What's the Matter With Kansas?, in which I declared on the very first page that working people "getting their fundamental interests wrong" by voting for conservatives was "the bedrock of our civic order; it is the foundation on which all else rests".

... ... ...

Let me be more explicit. We have just come through an election in which underestimating working-class conservatism in northern states proved catastrophic for Democrats. Did the pundits' repeated insistence that white working-class voters in the north were reliable Democrats play any part in this underestimation? Did the message Krugman and his colleagues hammered home for years help to distract their followers from the basic strategy of Trump_vs_deep_state?

I ask because getting that point wrong was kind of a big deal in 2016. It was a blunder from which it will take the Democratic party years to recover. And we need to get to the bottom of it.

Thomas Frank is a Guardian columnist

[Jan 09, 2018] Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility

Notable quotes:
"... Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility. This is why 'experts' such as Boot, Kristol, Weinstein, Cohen, Stephens, Glasser, Podhoretz, Dubowitz, etc., are not only never stepping down from their appointed roles as high media priests–they're actually failing their way into positions of tenure and (undue) respectability. ..."
"... Under any other circumstance, their bulletproof status would defy logic. But because of Israel's unique place in American life, this makes perfect–though astonishing–sense. This above list of scoundrels may resemble the guest list of a Jewish wedding, but this ongoing affair will produce no honeymoon. These operatives function as soft double agents. Their devious mission is to justify US war(s) of aggression that benefit Israel. ..."
"... More subversion and more conflict. This explains why Pres. Trump has reversed course. He's caved. Once elected, Trump decided to would be suicide to try to frustrate the Israeli Lobby. So he cucked his Presidency and dumped several major campaign pledges. ..."
"... Candidate Trump also stated: "I don't want your [Jewish] money" to an auditorium full of wealthy Jews. Well, that's changed too. Pres. Trump is now surrounded by wealthy and powerful Israeli-firsters now, including mega-billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who ended up feeding the Trump campaign untold millions. Sadly, Trump has totally rolled over for the Israelis. ..."
"... Regarding Israel, Washington will foot their war bill, supply the arms, lend diplomatic cover and even wage war on their behalf. No country in the world receives this kind of treatment. And no country in the world deserves it. ..."
"... Ironically, US security would be improved if we simply minded our own business and did nothing in the Middle East besides pursue normal and peaceful trade policies. But that's not to be. ..."
"... America's 'special relationship' with you-know-who is the quintessential red line that no establishment figure will cross. And those who do cross that line tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This phenomena has not gone unnoticed. ..."
"... When you control the media, you control the message. That message is that America just has to keep busting up nations for the glory of Apartheid Israel. ..."
"... Much is said about "we dumb Americans." We are not all that dumb – but we are 100% misinformed. Propaganda works. It is a fact that the human mind is susceptible to repeated lies. (It is also true, that people hate being lied too.) ..."
"... The whole US media scene can be summed up as "don't believe their pack of lies. Believe my pack of lies"! ..."
Jan 09, 2018 | www.unz.com
Mark Green , January 9, 2018 at 10:57 am GMT
Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility. This is why 'experts' such as Boot, Kristol, Weinstein, Cohen, Stephens, Glasser, Podhoretz, Dubowitz, etc., are not only never stepping down from their appointed roles as high media priests–they're actually failing their way into positions of tenure and (undue) respectability.

Under any other circumstance, their bulletproof status would defy logic. But because of Israel's unique place in American life, this makes perfect–though astonishing–sense. This above list of scoundrels may resemble the guest list of a Jewish wedding, but this ongoing affair will produce no honeymoon. These operatives function as soft double agents. Their devious mission is to justify US war(s) of aggression that benefit Israel.

Being a successful neocon doesn't require being right. Not at all. It's all about sending the right message. Over and over. Evidence be damned. The neocon mission is not about journalism. It's about advancing the cause: Mideast disruption and a secure Jewish state.

More importantly, Washington's impenetrable array of Zio-centric PACs, money-handlers, bundlers, fund-raisers, and billionaires want these crypto-Israeli pundits right where they are–on TV or in the your local newspaper–telling Americans how to feel and what to think. And Big Media–which happens to be in bed with these same powerful forces–needs these Zions in place to not only justify the latest Mideast confrontation, but even ones being planned. It's one big happy effort at group-think, mass deception, and military conquest. Unfortunately, it's not being presented that way.

So what lies ahead?

More subversion and more conflict. This explains why Pres. Trump has reversed course. He's caved. Once elected, Trump decided to would be suicide to try to frustrate the Israeli Lobby. So he cucked his Presidency and dumped several major campaign pledges.

The first to go was his pledge to normalize US-Russian relations ('make peace' with Russia) and after that 2) avoid unnecessary wars abroad. That's was a huge reversal. But Trump did it and few pundits have scolded him for it. The fix is in.

Candidate Trump also stated: "I don't want your [Jewish] money" to an auditorium full of wealthy Jews. Well, that's changed too. Pres. Trump is now surrounded by wealthy and powerful Israeli-firsters now, including mega-billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who ended up feeding the Trump campaign untold millions. Sadly, Trump has totally rolled over for the Israelis.

So Trump (the President) now sees things differently. Very differently. When it comes to the Middle East, Trump has been Hillary-ized. This means there's no light between what Israel desires and what Washington is willing to deliver. The hyper-wealthy, super cohesive, extraordinarily well-positioned and diabolically cleaver Israeli lobby has Trump over a barrel. Shocking, yes. But true.

So watch Israel's roughshod expansion continue, along with the typically meek and accommodating responses from Washington.

Regarding Israel, Washington will foot their war bill, supply the arms, lend diplomatic cover and even wage war on their behalf. No country in the world receives this kind of treatment. And no country in the world deserves it.

What's worse, our 'independent' MSM will be there to sanitize Washington's pro-Israel shenanigans and basically cheer the whole bloody process on. This is where the Zio-punditry of Kristol, Cohen, Stephens, Dubowitz, and Co. come in. They soothe the nervous nellies as they gently justify the death and destruction that come with these military strikes. Media tactics include:

Don't count enemy war dead. Don't count civilian war dead. Don't count displaced refugees. Don't connect Europe's immigration crisis to Zio-Washington's destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

At the same time: Always praise Israeli 'restraint'. Always refer to Israel as a 'democracy'. Sneer and jeer the 'terrorist' Republic of Iran. Treat every Mideast warlord or rebellion as if it threatens the sanctity of Disneyland or even the next Superbowl. Oh my!

It's a slick, highly-coordinated, and very manipulative affair. But the magic is working. Americans are being fooled.

Ironically, US security would be improved if we simply minded our own business and did nothing in the Middle East besides pursue normal and peaceful trade policies. But that's not to be.

The reason for this phenomena is that Washington's major PACs, syndicates, heavy hitters, influence peddlers, oligarchs, and Big Money handlers (and who also have their clutches on our corrupt MSM) want more Mideast disruption.

Why? Israeli 'security'. Israeli 'survival'. Considering Israel's extraordinary military power, this might seem silly. But this is what the entrenched Israeli lobby desires. And both Parties are listening. To make matters worse, how one 'thinks' and 'talks' about Israel has unacknowledged limitations and restrictions in Big Washington as well as Big Media.

Diversity of opinion stops at Israel's doorstep. Like it or not, Zionist Israel is the Third Rail of American discourse. Watch what you say. Even the typically rancorous disputes between Democrats and Republicans gets warm and fuzzy when Israel's 'special place' in American life is raised. America's 'special relationship' with you-know-who is the quintessential red line that no establishment figure will cross. And those who do cross that line tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This phenomena has not gone unnoticed.

So America is stuck with pro-Israel speech codes and a militantly pro-Zionist foreign policy that has caused immense cost, dislocation, suffering and destruction. It's been designed that way. And 'outsider' Trump is stuck with it. Few dare examine it.

Here's the short list of Israel's primary Enemies. Significantly, these are the countries that also get the worst press in American media:

N. Korea is even a player here. Iran and N. Korea have allegedly shared nuclear technology. This infuriates nuclear Israel.

So the Israel angle in this picture is huge. Overwhelmingly so. This is where the oligarchs, media lords, and corrupt journalists come together.

Thus, Israel's tenured Hasbara brigade in US media will remain firmly in place.

Buck Turgidson , January 9, 2018 at 11:12 am GMT
The local DC 'conservative' radio station has Bolton as a guest all the time. Same old neocon crap that we don't want any more. Bolton had his day 15 years ago and he sucked then; yet, they keep bringing him on, slobbering all over him ("Ambassador Bolton"), and letting him blather about blowing up everyone. I still see a lot of online comments about how people would love to have John Bolton as our ambassador to the UN. Good grief wise up people.
wayfarer , January 9, 2018 at 11:56 am GMT

" Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. " – Buddha

"Israel Lobby Refuses to Register as a Foreign Agent! "

Tom Welsh , January 9, 2018 at 12:08 pm GMT
'Stephens' article, entitled Finding the Way Forward on Iran sparkles with throwaway gems like "Tehran's hyperaggressive foreign policy in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal" and "Real democracies don't live in fear of their own people" and even "it's not too soon to start rethinking the way we think about Iran." Or try "A better way of describing Iran's dictatorship is as a kleptotheocracy, driven by impulses that are by turns doctrinal and venal."'

Hmmmmm . I can immediately think of another nation to which those strictures are far more applicable.

"Hyperaggressive foreign policy"
"Kleptocracy"

Sounds more like the USA, doesn't it?

As for "Real democracies don't live in fear of their own people", that's a real home run.

1. The USA is not, never has been, never will be, and was never meant to be "a real democracy". (Except by unrealistic visionaries like Jefferson).

2. The USA has been, for some decades, a plutocracy – as comprehensively proved by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page. https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

3. "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty". – Thomas Jefferson

No prizes for guessing which of Jefferson's alternatives prevails today.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/14/why-is-department-homeland-security-buying-so-many-bullets.html

Greg Bacon , Website January 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
When you control the media, you control the message. That message is that America just has to keep busting up nations for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

From an April 2003 Haaretz article:

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible.

This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/white-man-s-burden-1.14110

If this insanity keeps up, America will either be destroyed by financial collapse from waging all these wars or we'll stumble into WW III and the last thing we'll see is a mushroom cloud.

Former Brit PM Tony Blair at the Chilcot inquiry:

What role did Israel play in the run-up to the Iraq war?

"As I recall that discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us, whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this."

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/02/iraq-war-israel-bush-saddam

annamaria , January 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
@Mark James

"Whether print, air, or both the Neocons want to be players. They have the friends in high –media– places to do it." – They, neocons, are devoid of dignity. This explains why none of them feels any responsibility for the mass slaughter in the Middle East -- picture Madeleine Albright near thousands of tiny corpses of Iraqi children or the piggish Kristol next to the bloody bags with shredded Syrian children. They are psychopaths, the profiteering psychopaths. There is no other way to deal with neo/ziocons but through long-term incarceration.

DESERT FOX , January 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm GMT
Those Zionist neocons are just a few of the cabal that destroyed the WTC and got away with it and every thinking American knows it.

Zionists are Satanists and are going to destroy America, please read THE PROTOCOLS OF ZION.

Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm GMT
My fine tuning of this excellent article begins, and perhaps ends, with this quote: "The fact is that Iran is being targeted because Israel sees it as its prime enemy in the region and has corrupted many "opinion makers" in the U.S., to include Stephens, to hammer home that point."

The 'corruption' is not recent and is not about any one issue or series of issues. It springs from Deep Culture. It is part of the WASP worldview.

WASP culture is the direct product of Anglo-Saxon Puritanism, which was a Judaizing heresy. Judaizing heresy always produces culture and politics that are pro-Jewish, pro-Semitic.

At least by the beginning of the Victorian era, virtually 100% of British Empire Elites were hardcore pro-Semitic. Most were pro-Jewish, but a large and growing minority were pro-Arabic and pro-Islamic.

The Saudis are Arabic. The Iranians are NOT Arabic; Iranians are Indo-European.

Siding with both wings of Semitic culture – Jewish and Arabic/Islamic – against an Indo-European people is exactly what WASP cultural Elites will do. It is roughly analogous to Oliver Cromwell allying with Jews to wage war against the vast majority of natives of the British Isles.

JoaoAlfaiate , January 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm GMT
Excellent piece. I'd just like to add that Stephens' op-ed in the NYT ought to be view like Judith Miller's misleading articles about aluminum-tubes-for-nuclear-centrifuges which appeared in the Times during the run up to the Iraq war: Preparation of the Times' readership for yet another war in the middle east, this time against Iran.
Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX

No, Saudis destroyed the World Trade Center.

But the Israelis do see the Saudis as their Middle Eastern BFF, and the US is also tightly allied with the Saudis.

Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm GMT
@Bill Jones

You cannot separate that 'error' from the fact that such an act fit perfectly with WASP culture as the product of Judaizing heresy.

That is exactly what WASP culture would do.

Tammy , January 9, 2018 at 3:22 pm GMT
@MEexpert

MEexpert says, "Look again. His has a typical Jewish face.

The score is still 6 to 1. John Bolton may bot be Jewish but he is a venom spewing neocon."

Finally someone with the courage of Justin Raimondo has guts to call spade a spade. He has taken the courage to move from the FAKE NEWS:

Why the Korean 'Crisis' Is Completely Phony

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/01/08/korean-crisis-completely-phony/

Ron Unz is another courageous man. I wish and pray to God, that people like Ron Unz, Philip M. Giraldi, Paul Craig Roberts, Saker and their likes to move away from FAKE NEWS too, and tell us the TRUTH.

Evil can be fought only with TRUTH ..

Your idea about an article on political Islam by either Ron Unz or Philip M. Giraldi is an excellent idea, and I am willing to help provided we keep away from sectarianism and stick to TRUTH. The war the First Caliph abu Bakr which he fought with Yemen's Muslims within six months of Prophet's demise is very important to show how the rights given by Prophet Mohammad (saws) were taken away as soon as his demise. Our aim should be to shine the light on the Prophet. This is what Yemen's war did, just to start with:

1. Prophet did away with excommuniting someone from the fold as he saw a very powerful tool in the hands of Rabbis and Preacher. Who gave them the right to remove someone from Synagogue or Church.

2. So abu Bakr came up with much stronger tool, he called all the Yemeni Muslims en masses as apostate.

3. Brought back the slavery.

4. Claimed that he the Caliph abu Bakr was appointed by Will of Allah through predestination.

5. Thus, the ideology of ISIS calling everyone kafir, kafir, kafir .. and chopping their heads.

6. Used Islam as a disguise to bring other countries in to the fold for power and mammon (money), thus bring Islam by Sword.

The list is extensive and I can go on and on. The divide / confuse / rule was used against the Muslims.

The objective of the article should be to bring TRUTH about the Prophet.

for-the-record , January 9, 2018 at 3:26 pm GMT
@Tammy

Anyone who thinks Trump is a fool is an imbecile himself/herself.

Thanks for the compliment!

sarz , January 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm GMT
@Mark Green

Don't lose heart, Mark Green. There is a very good chance that Trump is actually with you, and that he's winning. He cannot afford to be straight at all. His strategy is to take up highly charged strands of the dominant discourse and to short circuit them. A strong play of a weak hand. He's run with the demands of Adelson, Netanyahu and Kushner regarding Jerusalem and other maximal Israeli demands. It's all in response to the worst Jews. The result is that Shias are united with Sunnis, Hamas with PLO, Iran with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The whole world against America, Israel and some specks of guano. The Iran caper is the same. The Pakistan caper even better. Trump gives the military a free hand to show what they can do in Afghanistan. Then he blows his twitter top to insult Pakistan so there will no longer be a land route. He's doing his damndest and always failing. What a clueless asshole. Yet every failure is undoing the empire, and leading to a one-state resolution in Palestine.

That's just the foreign policy part.

By the time he's finished there will be no Democrat party left as we know it, and the GOP will be transformed as well.
There will be no more Fed. No more debt based currency. A paid off national debt.
And there will be single payer medical coverage.
God willing.

Achmed E. Newman , Website January 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm GMT
That was a great summary of our foreign policy situation, Mr. Giraldi. You have a lot of guts to write out all the truth that you see, as you have in all of the articles of yours I've read on unz.

I really liked this line, too:

To be sure, Iran is a very corrupt place run by people who should not be running a hot dog stand, but the same applies to the United States and Israel .

I have one question for you, Phil, and this is not hypothetical or snarky – just looking for your opinion: What do you think the neocons' attitude about the Orient is? I realize that China is on the road to kicking our ass economically , but that's the "war" we need to fight, not a military war. Then, there's N. Korea, which, in my opinion, is none of our business. Rest of the question – Trump seems to get sucked into the standard invade-the-world mode in the Far East also – do you think that is neocon-inspired, and, since that part of the world is no threat to Israel, if so, why? Would they possibly be masking their intentions by expanding the range of their invade-the-world program?

DaveE , January 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm GMT
Another fine essay, Mr. Giraldi. Thanks once again.

This morning we find a very unusual Op Ed in the JYT by David Brooks, "The Decline of Anti-Trump_vs_deep_state".

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/opinion/anti-trump-opposition.html

I don't usually read that filthy rag other than to skim the headlines, but this was just so bizarre, I couldn't resist. Brooks seems to admit that they (Jewish neocons/Bolsheviks) are losing the battle to take down Trump. He openly criticizes the media for being so obvious and self-discrediting.

Is this a total retreat for the neocons / Bolsheviks? Or is Brooks merely rallying the troops? Or simply a desperate attempt to regain credibility by telling the truth, for a change?

Or maybe he is preemptively refuting Mr. Giraldi's premise in this piece, a semi-novel tactic one might call Jewish Preemptive Vengeance getting even BEFORE the fact?

Anyway, it was downright WEIRD.

DESERT FOX , January 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT

@Jake

Do some research, Israel and the U.S. deep state blew up 7 buildings at the WTC on 911 and blew up a section of the pentagram, the Saudis were the patsys , and as corrupt and evil as the Saudis are they had on part in it.

The Zionist neocons did 911 to set the Mideast wars in motion, do some research, hell every thinking American knows Israel did it.

c matt , January 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm GMT
@wayfarer

Considering what an absolute stranglehold they have over American politics, they may have an argument.

Art , January 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm GMT
Mr. Giraldi has gone after the real power center in America – the Jew controlled US media. Much is said about "we dumb Americans." We are not all that dumb – but we are 100% misinformed. Propaganda works. It is a fact that the human mind is susceptible to repeated lies. (It is also true, that people hate being lied too.)

Much is said about "Christian Zionists." Why is it, that NO Christian broadcast media tells the truth about Palestinian suffering? Of course, it is because of Jew media control. If Christian stations were to tell the truth, there would be a lot less Christian Zionists – they would be a small segment of Christianity.

Thanks to Mr. Giraldi and others on the internet – more and more people are listening and learning and getting mad. A base is building. Truth will out!

Think Peace -- Art

Joe Hide , January 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm GMT
The more the psychotic control freaks publically expose themselves, what with social media, the internet, and disenchanted leakers in their own group the more of humanity wakes up to a great sense of absolute disgust in them. We, humanity, are gradually winning and the disgusting pyschopaths are losing.
Michael Kenny , January 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
Does Mr Giraldi really expect us to believe that the US internet is any better than the media outlets he criticizes? The whole US media scene can be summed up as "don't believe their pack of lies. Believe my pack of lies"!

[Dec 31, 2017] Truth-Killing as a Meta-Issue

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. ..."
May 05, 2017 | nationalinterest.org
One of the best summary observations in this regard is from Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein , who writes on business and financial matters but whose conclusions could apply as well to Trump's handling of a wide range of foreign and domestic matters: " What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. What he says bears no relationship to any consistent political or policy ideology or world-view. What he says is also likely to bear no relationship to what his top advisers or appointees have said or believe, making them unreliable interlocutors even if they agreed among themselves, which they don't. This lack of clear policy is compounded by the fact that the president, despite his boasts to the contrary, knows very little about the topics at hand and isn't particularly interested in learning. In other words, he's still making it up as he goes along."

Many elements of dismay can follow from the fact of having this kind of president. We are apt to get a better idea of which specific things are most worthy of dismay as the rest of this presidency unfolds. I suggest, however, that a prime, overarching reason to worry is Trump's utter disregard for the truth. Not just a disregard, actually, but a determination to crush the truth and to instill falsehood in the minds of as many people as possible. The Post 's fact checker, Glenn Kessler , summarizes the situation by noting that "the pace and volume of the president's misstatements" are so great that he and other fact checkers "cannot possibly keep up."

Kessler also observes how Trump's handling of falsehoods is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the garden variety of lying in which many politicians indulge: "Many will drop a false claim after it has been deemed false. But Trump just repeats the claim over and over." It is a technique reminiscent of the Big Lie that totalitarian regimes have used, in which the repetition and brazenness of a lie help lead to its acceptance.

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth-factual reality -- is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

[Dec 29, 2017] As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."

Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate and corporate media scapegoating Putin's trolls are information operations to keep the little people misinformed. The Ukraine Putsch and the MH-17 shoot down were handled poorly by Russia. They've come back in Syria. Russian intelligence wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't surveilling the West. ..."
"... What got western oligarchs upset is the disclosure of the truth; the system is rigged. Obama voters in mid-America voted for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton's loss triggered a witch hunt rather than addressing the root causes of her defeat. A group of oligarchs want the upstart NY casino boss gone. The only question is what will be the collateral damage from the mob war. ..."
"... As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." His error here was saying Americans were the target and not the global population as well, but at least as far as America goes I think its pretty much a thumbs up. Mission Accomplished. ..."
"... Media and social media tycoons - all could be taken down very fast if they did not toe the CIA line, though for most, it seems their work with CIA is voluntary and enthusiastic. ..."
"... I guess you don't get that rich by having ethics or scruples. ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

VietnamVet , Dec 26, 2017 3:40:43 PM | 30

Russiagate and corporate media scapegoating Putin's trolls are information operations to keep the little people misinformed. The Ukraine Putsch and the MH-17 shoot down were handled poorly by Russia. They've come back in Syria. Russian intelligence wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't surveilling the West.

Victoria Nuland's EU rant was released. Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

What got western oligarchs upset is the disclosure of the truth; the system is rigged. Obama voters in mid-America voted for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton's loss triggered a witch hunt rather than addressing the root causes of her defeat. A group of oligarchs want the upstart NY casino boss gone. The only question is what will be the collateral damage from the mob war.

NemesisCalling , Dec 26, 2017 4:39:00 PM | 36 karlof1 , Dec 26, 2017 4:42:57 PM | 37
Name of Me | Dec 26, 2017 12:13:28 PM | 2

The US Government was controlling media well before the CIA's creation. Please take a little time to learn about George Seldes whose 1929 book You Can't Print That!: The Truth Behind the News, 1918–1928 is vastly informative with original copies easy to find under $15, or even online through this link . Indeed, numerous works of his are digitized. I.F. Stone followed in Seldes's footsteps, and the website with his collected writings is here . Perhaps one of the least known episodes of US Government media manipulation was related to the atomic bomb crimes, an event nearly 100% airbrushed from history books, and of course the ongoing attempt to cover up one of the biggest crimes of all time.

My mention of media manipulation by the US Government wouldn't be complete without including the 100% blackout that was to apply to the discussions in Philadelphia that led to the 1787 Constitution -- the document that elevated the "natural aristocracy" into the catbird seat ensuring their control of the federal government until it's overthrown via revolution.

Fortunately, Madison and others kept copious notes that were eventually published long after the fate of Commoners was sealed, so we know that Aristocracy viewed its contemporary deplorables no differently than how HRC and today's 1% view them/us.

Pft , Dec 26, 2017 7:09:07 PM | 43
Americans and much of the rest of the world are the target of an immense psyop . Propaganda techniques going back to Bernay and WWI have been expanded on and perfected. Infiltration and control is lot limited to the print media and TV news stations but also , hollywood movies/TV shows , academia (history, economics, etc) , book publishing, blogs and social media. The last few bastions of truth will be eliminated with the end of net neutrality.

As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." His error here was saying Americans were the target and not the global population as well, but at least as far as America goes I think its pretty much a thumbs up. Mission Accomplished.

Peter AU 1 , Dec 26, 2017 7:58:27 PM | 49
"We do not know what the billionaires get for their service. The CIA surely has many ways to let them gain information on their competition or to influence business regulations in foreign countries. One hand will wash the other."

Something I have often thought about. Media and social media tycoons - all could be taken down very fast if they did not toe the CIA line, though for most, it seems their work with CIA is voluntary and enthusiastic.

I guess you don't get that rich by having ethics or scruples.

[Dec 22, 2017] Beyond Cynicism America Fumbles Towards Kafka s Castle by James Howard Kunstler

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... With the election of 2016, symptoms of the long emergency seeped into the political system. Disinformation rules. There is no coherent consensus about what is happening and no coherent proposals to do anything about it. The two parties are mired in paralysis and dysfunction and the public's trust in them is at epic lows. Donald Trump is viewed as a sort of pirate president, a freebooting freak elected by accident, "a disrupter" of the status quo at best and at worst a dangerous incompetent playing with nuclear fire. A state of war exists between the White House, the permanent D.C. bureaucracy, and the traditional news media. Authentic leadership is otherwise AWOL. Institutions falter. The FBI and the CIA behave like enemies of the people. ..."
"... They chatter about electric driverless car fleets, home delivery drone services, and as-yet-undeveloped modes of energy production to replace problematic fossil fuels, while ignoring the self-evident resource and capital constraints now upon us and even the laws of physics -- especially entropy , the second law of thermodynamics. Their main mental block is their belief in infinite industrial growth on a finite planet, an idea so powerfully foolish that it obviates their standing as technocrats. ..."
"... The universities beget a class of what Nassim Taleb prankishly called "intellectuals-yet-idiots," hierophants trafficking in fads and falsehoods, conveyed in esoteric jargon larded with psychobabble in support of a therapeutic crypto-gnostic crusade bent on transforming human nature to fit the wished-for utopian template of a world where anything goes. In fact, they have only produced a new intellectual despotism worthy of Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. ..."
"... Until fairly recently, the Democratic Party did not roll that way. It was right-wing Republicans who tried to ban books, censor pop music, and stifle free expression. If anything, Democrats strenuously defended the First Amendment, including the principle that unpopular and discomforting ideas had to be tolerated in order to protect all speech. Back in in 1977 the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march for their cause (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43). ..."
"... This is the recipe for what we call identity politics, the main thrust of which these days, the quest for "social justice," is to present a suit against white male privilege and, shall we say, the horse it rode in on: western civ. A peculiar feature of the social justice agenda is the wish to erect strict boundaries around racial identities while erasing behavioral boundaries, sexual boundaries, and ethical boundaries. Since so much of this thought-monster is actually promulgated by white college professors and administrators, and white political activists, against people like themselves, the motives in this concerted campaign might appear puzzling to the casual observer. ..."
"... The evolving matrix of rackets that prompted the 2008 debacle has only grown more elaborate and craven as the old economy of stuff dies and is replaced by a financialized economy of swindles and frauds . Almost nothing in America's financial life is on the level anymore, from the mendacious "guidance" statements of the Federal Reserve, to the official economic statistics of the federal agencies, to the manipulation of all markets, to the shenanigans on the fiscal side, to the pervasive accounting fraud that underlies it all. Ironically, the systematic chiseling of the foundering middle class is most visible in the rackets that medicine and education have become -- two activities that were formerly dedicated to doing no harm and seeking the truth ! ..."
"... Um, forgotten by Kunstler is the fact that 1965 was also the year when the USA reopened its doors to low-skilled immigrants from the Third World – who very quickly became competitors with black Americans. And then the Boom ended, and corporate American, influenced by thinking such as that displayed in Lewis Powell's (in)famous 1971 memorandum, decided to claw back the gains made by the working and middle classes in the previous 3 decades. ..."
"... "Wow – is there ever negative!" ..."
"... You also misrepresent reality to your readers. No, the black underclass is not larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated now than in the 1960's, when cities across the country burned and machine guns were stationed on the Capitol steps. The "racial divide" is not "starker now than ever"; that's just preposterous to anyone who was alive then. And nobody I've ever known felt "shame" over the "outcome of the civil rights campaign". I know nobody who seeks to "punish and humiliate" the 'privileged'. ..."
"... My impression is that what Kunstler is doing here is diagnosing the long crisis of a decadent liberal post-modernity, and his stance is not that of either of the warring sides within our divorced-from-reality political establishment, neither that of the 'right' or 'left.' Which is why, logically, he published it here. National Review would never have accepted this piece ..."
"... "Globalization has acted, meanwhile, as a great leveler. It destroyed what was left of the working class -- the lower-middle class -- which included a great many white Americans who used to be able to support a family with simple labor." ..."
"... Young black people are told by their elders how lucky they are to grow up today because things are much better than when grandpa was our age and we all know this history.\ ..."
"... It's clear that this part of the article was written from absolute ignorance of the actual black experience with no interest in even looking up some facts. Hell, Obama even gave a speech at Howard telling graduates how lucky they were to be young and black Today compared to even when he was their age in the 80's! ..."
"... E.g. Germany. Germany is anything but perfect and its recent government has screwed up with its immigration policies. But Germany has a high standard of living, an educated work force (including unions and skilled crafts-people), a more rational distribution of wealth and high quality universal health care that costs 47% less per capita than in the U.S. and with no intrinsic need to maraud around the planet wasting gobs of taxpayer money playing Global Cop. ..."
"... The larger subtext is that the U.S. house of cards was planned out and constructed as deliberately as the German model was. Only the objective was not to maximize the health and happiness of the citizenry, but to line the pockets of the parasitic Elites. (E.g., note that Mitch McConnell has been a government employee for 50 years but somehow acquired a net worth of over $10 Million.) ..."
Dec 12, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

On America's 'long emergency' of recession, globalization, and identity politics.

Can a people recover from an excursion into unreality? The USA's sojourn into an alternative universe of the mind accelerated sharply after Wall Street nearly detonated the global financial system in 2008. That debacle was only one manifestation of an array of accumulating threats to the postmodern order, which include the burdens of empire, onerous debt, population overshoot, fracturing globalism, worries about energy, disruptive technologies, ecological havoc, and the specter of climate change.

A sense of gathering crisis, which I call the long emergency , persists. It is systemic and existential. It calls into question our ability to carry on "normal" life much farther into this century, and all the anxiety that attends it is hard for the public to process. It manifested itself first in finance because that was the most abstract and fragile of all the major activities we depend on for daily life, and therefore the one most easily tampered with and shoved into criticality by a cadre of irresponsible opportunists on Wall Street. Indeed, a lot of households were permanently wrecked after the so-called Great Financial Crisis of 2008, despite official trumpet blasts heralding "recovery" and the dishonestly engineered pump-up of capital markets since then.

With the election of 2016, symptoms of the long emergency seeped into the political system. Disinformation rules. There is no coherent consensus about what is happening and no coherent proposals to do anything about it. The two parties are mired in paralysis and dysfunction and the public's trust in them is at epic lows. Donald Trump is viewed as a sort of pirate president, a freebooting freak elected by accident, "a disrupter" of the status quo at best and at worst a dangerous incompetent playing with nuclear fire. A state of war exists between the White House, the permanent D.C. bureaucracy, and the traditional news media. Authentic leadership is otherwise AWOL. Institutions falter. The FBI and the CIA behave like enemies of the people.

Bad ideas flourish in this nutrient medium of unresolved crisis. Lately, they actually dominate the scene on every side. A species of wishful thinking that resembles a primitive cargo cult grips the technocratic class, awaiting magical rescue remedies that promise to extend the regime of Happy Motoring, consumerism, and suburbia that makes up the armature of "normal" life in the USA. They chatter about electric driverless car fleets, home delivery drone services, and as-yet-undeveloped modes of energy production to replace problematic fossil fuels, while ignoring the self-evident resource and capital constraints now upon us and even the laws of physics -- especially entropy , the second law of thermodynamics. Their main mental block is their belief in infinite industrial growth on a finite planet, an idea so powerfully foolish that it obviates their standing as technocrats.

The non-technocratic cohort of the thinking class squanders its waking hours on a quixotic campaign to destroy the remnant of an American common culture and, by extension, a reviled Western civilization they blame for the failure in our time to establish a utopia on earth. By the logic of the day, "inclusion" and "diversity" are achieved by forbidding the transmission of ideas, shutting down debate, and creating new racially segregated college dorms. Sexuality is declared to not be biologically determined, yet so-called cis-gendered persons (whose gender identity corresponds with their sex as detected at birth) are vilified by dint of not being "other-gendered" -- thereby thwarting the pursuit of happiness of persons self-identified as other-gendered. Casuistry anyone?

The universities beget a class of what Nassim Taleb prankishly called "intellectuals-yet-idiots," hierophants trafficking in fads and falsehoods, conveyed in esoteric jargon larded with psychobabble in support of a therapeutic crypto-gnostic crusade bent on transforming human nature to fit the wished-for utopian template of a world where anything goes. In fact, they have only produced a new intellectual despotism worthy of Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.

In case you haven't been paying attention to the hijinks on campus -- the attacks on reason, fairness, and common decency, the kangaroo courts, diversity tribunals, assaults on public speech and speakers themselves -- here is the key take-away: it's not about ideas or ideologies anymore; it's purely about the pleasures of coercion, of pushing other people around. Coercion is fun and exciting! In fact, it's intoxicating, and rewarded with brownie points and career advancement. It's rather perverse that this passion for tyranny is suddenly so popular on the liberal left.

Until fairly recently, the Democratic Party did not roll that way. It was right-wing Republicans who tried to ban books, censor pop music, and stifle free expression. If anything, Democrats strenuously defended the First Amendment, including the principle that unpopular and discomforting ideas had to be tolerated in order to protect all speech. Back in in 1977 the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march for their cause (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43).

The new and false idea that something labeled "hate speech" -- labeled by whom? -- is equivalent to violence floated out of the graduate schools on a toxic cloud of intellectual hysteria concocted in the laboratory of so-called "post-structuralist" philosophy, where sundry body parts of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, and Gilles Deleuze were sewn onto a brain comprised of one-third each Thomas Hobbes, Saul Alinsky, and Tupac Shakur to create a perfect Frankenstein monster of thought. It all boiled down to the proposition that the will to power negated all other human drives and values, in particular the search for truth. Under this scheme, all human relations were reduced to a dramatis personae of the oppressed and their oppressors, the former generally "people of color" and women, all subjugated by whites, mostly males. Tactical moves in politics among these self-described "oppressed" and "marginalized" are based on the credo that the ends justify the means (the Alinsky model).

This is the recipe for what we call identity politics, the main thrust of which these days, the quest for "social justice," is to present a suit against white male privilege and, shall we say, the horse it rode in on: western civ. A peculiar feature of the social justice agenda is the wish to erect strict boundaries around racial identities while erasing behavioral boundaries, sexual boundaries, and ethical boundaries. Since so much of this thought-monster is actually promulgated by white college professors and administrators, and white political activists, against people like themselves, the motives in this concerted campaign might appear puzzling to the casual observer.

I would account for it as the psychological displacement among this political cohort of their shame, disappointment, and despair over the outcome of the civil rights campaign that started in the 1960s and formed the core of progressive ideology. It did not bring about the hoped-for utopia. The racial divide in America is starker now than ever, even after two terms of a black president. Today, there is more grievance and resentment, and less hope for a better future, than when Martin Luther King made the case for progress on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. The recent flash points of racial conflict -- Ferguson, the Dallas police ambush, the Charleston church massacre, et cetera -- don't have to be rehearsed in detail here to make the point that there is a great deal of ill feeling throughout the land, and quite a bit of acting out on both sides.

The black underclass is larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated than it was in the 1960s. My theory, for what it's worth, is that the civil rights legislation of 1964 and '65, which removed legal barriers to full participation in national life, induced considerable anxiety among black citizens over the new disposition of things, for one reason or another. And that is exactly why a black separatism movement arose as an alternative at the time, led initially by such charismatic figures as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. Some of that was arguably a product of the same youthful energy that drove the rest of the Sixties counterculture: adolescent rebellion. But the residue of the "Black Power" movement is still present in the widespread ambivalence about making covenant with a common culture, and it has only been exacerbated by a now long-running "multiculturalism and diversity" crusade that effectively nullifies the concept of a national common culture.

What follows from these dynamics is the deflection of all ideas that don't feed a narrative of power relations between oppressors and victims, with the self-identified victims ever more eager to exercise their power to coerce, punish, and humiliate their self-identified oppressors, the "privileged," who condescend to be abused to a shockingly masochistic degree. Nobody stands up to this organized ceremonial nonsense. The punishments are too severe, including the loss of livelihood, status, and reputation, especially in the university. Once branded a "racist," you're done. And venturing to join the oft-called-for "honest conversation about race" is certain to invite that fate.

Globalization has acted, meanwhile, as a great leveler. It destroyed what was left of the working class -- the lower-middle class -- which included a great many white Americans who used to be able to support a family with simple labor. Hung out to dry economically, this class of whites fell into many of the same behaviors as the poor blacks before them: absent fathers, out-of-wedlock births, drug abuse. Then the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 wiped up the floor with the middle-middle class above them, foreclosing on their homes and futures, and in their desperation many of these people became Trump voters -- though I doubt that Trump himself truly understood how this all worked exactly. However, he did see that the white middle class had come to identify as yet another victim group, allowing him to pose as their champion.

The evolving matrix of rackets that prompted the 2008 debacle has only grown more elaborate and craven as the old economy of stuff dies and is replaced by a financialized economy of swindles and frauds . Almost nothing in America's financial life is on the level anymore, from the mendacious "guidance" statements of the Federal Reserve, to the official economic statistics of the federal agencies, to the manipulation of all markets, to the shenanigans on the fiscal side, to the pervasive accounting fraud that underlies it all. Ironically, the systematic chiseling of the foundering middle class is most visible in the rackets that medicine and education have become -- two activities that were formerly dedicated to doing no harm and seeking the truth !

Life in this milieu of immersive dishonesty drives citizens beyond cynicism to an even more desperate state of mind. The suffering public ends up having no idea what is really going on, what is actually happening. The toolkit of the Enlightenment -- reason, empiricism -- doesn't work very well in this socioeconomic hall of mirrors, so all that baggage is discarded for the idea that reality is just a social construct, just whatever story you feel like telling about it. On the right, Karl Rove expressed this point of view some years ago when he bragged, of the Bush II White House, that "we make our own reality." The left says nearly the same thing in the post-structuralist malarkey of academia: "you make your own reality." In the end, both sides are left with a lot of bad feelings and the belief that only raw power has meaning.

Erasing psychological boundaries is a dangerous thing. When the rackets finally come to grief -- as they must because their operations don't add up -- and the reckoning with true price discovery commences at the macro scale, the American people will find themselves in even more distress than they've endured so far. This will be the moment when either nobody has any money, or there is plenty of worthless money for everyone. Either way, the functional bankruptcy of the nation will be complete, and nothing will work anymore, including getting enough to eat. That is exactly the moment when Americans on all sides will beg someone to step up and push them around to get their world working again. And even that may not avail.

James Howard Kunstler's many books include The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation , and the World Made by Hand novel series. He blogs on Mondays and Fridays at Kunstler.com .

Whine Merchant December 20, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Wow – is there ever negative!
Celery , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:33 pm
I think I need to go listen to an old-fashioned Christmas song now.

The ability to be financially, or at least resource, sustaining is the goal of many I know since we share a lack of confidence in any of our institutions. We can only hope that God might look down with compassion on us, but He's not in the practical plan of how to feed and sustain ourselves when things play out to their inevitable end. Having come from a better time, we joke about our dystopian preparations, self-conscious about our "overreaction," but preparing all the same.

Merry Christmas!

Fran Macadam , says: December 20, 2017 at 11:55 pm
Look at it this way: Germany had to be leveled and its citizens reduced to abject penury, before Volkswagen could become the world's biggest car company, and autobahns built throughout the world. It will be darkest before the dawn, and hopefully, that light that comes after, won't be the miniature sunrise of a nuclear conflagration.
KD , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:02 am
Eat, Drink, and be Merry, you can charge it on your credit card!
Rock Stehdy , says: December 21, 2017 at 6:38 am
Hard words, but true. Kunstler is always worth reading for his common-sense wisdom.
Helmut , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:04 am
An excellent summary and bleak reminder of what our so-called civilization has become. How do we extricate ourselves from this strange death spiral?
I have long suspected that we humans are creatures of our own personal/group/tribal/national/global fables and mythologies. We are compelled by our genes, marrow, and blood to tell ourselves stories of our purpose and who we are. It is time for new mythologies and stories of "who we are". This bizarre hyper-techno all-for-profit world needs a new story.
Liam , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:38 am
"The black underclass is larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated than it was in the 1960s. My theory, for what it's worth, is that the civil rights legislation of 1964 and '65, which removed legal barriers to full participation in national life, induced considerable anxiety among black citizens over the new disposition of things, for one reason or another."

Um, forgotten by Kunstler is the fact that 1965 was also the year when the USA reopened its doors to low-skilled immigrants from the Third World – who very quickly became competitors with black Americans. And then the Boom ended, and corporate American, influenced by thinking such as that displayed in Lewis Powell's (in)famous 1971 memorandum, decided to claw back the gains made by the working and middle classes in the previous 3 decades.

Peter , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:34 am
I have some faith that the American people can recover from an excursion into unreality. I base it on my own survival to the end of this silly rant.
SteveM , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:08 am
Re: Whine Merchant, "Wow – is there ever negative!"

Can't argue with the facts

P.S. Merry Christmas.

Dave Wright , says: December 21, 2017 at 9:22 am
Hey Jim, I know you love to blame Wall Street and the Republicans for the GFC. I remember back in '08 you were urging Democrats to blame it all on Republicans to help Obama win. But I have news for you. It wasn't Wall Street that caused the GFC. The crisis actually had its roots in the Clinton Administration's use of the Community Reinvestment Act to pressure banks to relax mortgage underwriting standards. This was done at the behest of left wing activists who claimed (without evidence, of course) that the standards discriminated against minorities. The result was an effective repeal of all underwriting standards and an explosion of real estate speculation with borrowed money. Speculation with borrowed money never ends well.

I have to laugh, too, when you say that it's perverse that the passion for tyranny is popular on the left. Have you ever heard of the French Revolution? How about the USSR? Communist China? North Korea? Et cetera.

Leftism is leftism. Call it Marxism, Communism, socialism, liberalism, progressivism, or what have you. The ideology is the same. Only the tactics and methods change. Destroy the evil institutions of marriage, family, and religion, and Man's innate goodness will shine forth, and the glorious Godless utopia will naturally result.

Of course, the father of lies is ultimately behind it all. "He was a liar and a murderer from the beginning."

When man turns his back on God, nothing good happens. That's the most fundamental problem in Western society today. Not to say that there aren't other issues, but until we return to God, there's not much hope for improvement.

NoahK , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:15 am
It's like somebody just got a bunch of right-wing talking points and mashed them together into one incohesive whole. This is just lazy.
Andrew Imlay , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:36 am
Hmm. I just wandered over here by accident. Being a construction contractor, I don't know enough about globalization, academia, or finance to evaluate your assertions about those realms. But being in a biracial family, and having lived, worked, and worshiped equally in white and black communities, I can evaluate your statements about social justice, race, and civil rights. Long story short, you pick out fringe liberal ideas, misrepresent them as mainstream among liberals, and shoot them down. Casuistry, anyone?

You also misrepresent reality to your readers. No, the black underclass is not larger, more dysfunctional, and more alienated now than in the 1960's, when cities across the country burned and machine guns were stationed on the Capitol steps. The "racial divide" is not "starker now than ever"; that's just preposterous to anyone who was alive then. And nobody I've ever known felt "shame" over the "outcome of the civil rights campaign". I know nobody who seeks to "punish and humiliate" the 'privileged'.

I get that this column is a quick toss-off before the holiday, and that your strength is supposed to be in your presentation, not your ideas. For me, it's a helpful way to rehearse debunking common tropes that I'll encounter elsewhere.

But, really, your readers deserve better, and so do the people you misrepresent. We need bad liberal ideas to be critiqued while they're still on the fringe. But by calling fringe ideas mainstream, you discredit yourself, misinform your readers, and contribute to stereotypes both of liberals and of conservatives. I'm looking for serious conservative critiques that help me take a second look at familiar ideas. I won't be back.

peter in boston , says: December 21, 2017 at 10:48 am
Love Kunstler -- and love reading him here -- but he needs a strong editor to get him to turn a formless harangue into clear essay.
Someone in the crowd , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:07 am
I disagree, NoahK, that the whole is incohesive, and I also disagree that these are right-wing talking points.

The theme of this piece is the long crisis in the US, its nature and causes. At no point does this essay, despite it stream of consciousness style, veer away from that theme. Hence it is cohesive.

As for the right wing charge, though it is true, to be sure, that Kunstler's position is in many respects classically conservative -- he believes for example that there should be a national consensus on certain fundamentals, such as whether or not there are two sexes (for the most part), or, instead, an infinite variety of sexes chosen day by day at whim -- you must have noticed that he condemned both the voluntarism of Karl Rove AND the voluntarism of the post-structuralist crowd.

My impression is that what Kunstler is doing here is diagnosing the long crisis of a decadent liberal post-modernity, and his stance is not that of either of the warring sides within our divorced-from-reality political establishment, neither that of the 'right' or 'left.' Which is why, logically, he published it here. National Review would never have accepted this piece. QED.

Jon , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:10 am
This malaise is rooted in human consciousness that when reflecting on itself celebrating its capacity for apperception suffers from the tension that such an inquiry, such an inward glance produces. In a word, the capacity for the human being to be aware of his or herself as an intelligent being capable of reflecting on aspects of reality through the artful manipulation of symbols engenders this tension, this angst.

Some will attempt to extinguish this inner tension through intoxication while others through the thrill of war, and it has been played out since the dawn of man and well documented when the written word emerged.

The malaise which Mr. Kunstler addresses as the problem of our times is rooted in our existence from time immemorial. But the problem is not only existential but ontological. It is rooted in our being as self-aware creatures. Thus no solution avails itself as humanity in and of itself is the problem. Each side (both right and left) seeks its own anodyne whether through profligacy or intolerance, and each side mans the barricades to clash experiencing the adrenaline rush that arises from the perpetual call to arms.

Joe the Plutocrat , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:27 am
"Globalization has acted, meanwhile, as a great leveler. It destroyed what was left of the working class -- the lower-middle class -- which included a great many white Americans who used to be able to support a family with simple labor."

And to whom do we hand the tab for this? Globalization is a word. It is a concept, a talking point. Globalization is oligarchy by another name. Unfortunately, under-educated, deplorable, Americans; regardless of party affiliation/ideology have embraced. And the most ironic part?

Russia and China (the eventual surviving oligarchies) will eventually have to duke it out to decide which superpower gets to make the USA it's b*tch (excuse prison reference, but that's where we're headed folks).

And one more irony. Only in American, could Christianity, which was grew from concepts like compassion, generosity, humility, and benevolence; be re-branded and 'weaponized' to further greed, bigotry, misogyny, intolerance, and violence/war. Americans fiddled (over same sex marriage, abortion, who has to bake wedding cakes, and who gets to use which public restroom), while the oligarchs burned the last resources (natural, financial, and even legal).

The scientist 880 , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:48 am
"Today, there is more grievance and resentment, and less hope for a better future, than when Martin Luther King made the case for progress on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963."

Spoken like a white guy who has zero contact with black people. I mean, even a little bit of research and familiarity would give lie to the idea that blacks are more pessimistic about life today than in the 1960's.

Black millenials are the most optimistic group of Americans about the future. Anyone who has spent any significant time around older black people will notice that you don't hear the rose colored memories of the past. Black people don't miss the 1980's, much less the 1950's. Young black people are told by their elders how lucky they are to grow up today because things are much better than when grandpa was our age and we all know this history.\

It's clear that this part of the article was written from absolute ignorance of the actual black experience with no interest in even looking up some facts. Hell, Obama even gave a speech at Howard telling graduates how lucky they were to be young and black Today compared to even when he was their age in the 80's!

Here is the direct quote;

"In my inaugural address, I remarked that just 60 years earlier, my father might not have been served in a D.C. restaurant -- at least not certain of them. There were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Very few black judges. Shoot, as Larry Wilmore pointed out last week, a lot of folks didn't even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback. Today, former Bull Michael Jordan isn't just the greatest basketball player of all time -- he owns the team. (Laughter.) When I was graduating, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T. (Laughter.) Rap and hip hop were counterculture, underground. Now, Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night, and Beyoncé runs the world. (Laughter.) We're no longer only entertainers, we're producers, studio executives. No longer small business owners -- we're CEOs, we're mayors, representatives, Presidents of the United States. (Applause.)

I am not saying gaps do not persist. Obviously, they do. Racism persists. Inequality persists. Don't worry -- I'm going to get to that. But I wanted to start, Class of 2016, by opening your eyes to the moment that you are in. If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn't know ahead of time who you were going to be -- what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you'd be rich or poor, gay or straight, what faith you'd be born into -- you wouldn't choose 100 years ago. You wouldn't choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies. You'd choose right now. If you had to choose a time to be, in the words of Lorraine Hansberry, "young, gifted, and black" in America, you would choose right now. (Applause.)"

https://www.politico.com/story/2016/05/obamas-howard-commencement-transcript-222931

https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58cf1d9ae4b0ec9d29dcf283/amp

Adam , says: December 21, 2017 at 11:57 am
I love reading about how the Community Reinvestment Act was the catalyst of all that is wrong in the world. As someone in the industry the issue was actually twofold. The Commodities Futures Modernization Act turned the mortgage securities market into a casino with the underlying actual debt instruments multiplied through the use of additional debt instruments tied to the performance but with no actual underlying value. These securities were then sold around the world essentially infecting the entire market. In order that feed the beast, these NON GOVERNMENT loans had their underwriting standards lowered to rediculous levels. If you run out of qualified customers, just lower the qualifications. Government loans such as FHA, VA, and USDA were avoided because it was easier to qualify people with the new stuff. And get paid. The short version is all of the incentives that were in place at the time, starting with the Futures Act, directly led to the actions that culminated in the Crash. So yes, it was the government, just a different piece of legislation.
SteveM , says: December 21, 2017 at 12:29 pm
Kunstler itemizing the social and economic pathologies in the United States is not enough. Because there are other models that demonstrate it didn't have to be this way.

E.g. Germany. Germany is anything but perfect and its recent government has screwed up with its immigration policies. But Germany has a high standard of living, an educated work force (including unions and skilled crafts-people), a more rational distribution of wealth and high quality universal health care that costs 47% less per capita than in the U.S. and with no intrinsic need to maraud around the planet wasting gobs of taxpayer money playing Global Cop.

The larger subtext is that the U.S. house of cards was planned out and constructed as deliberately as the German model was. Only the objective was not to maximize the health and happiness of the citizenry, but to line the pockets of the parasitic Elites. (E.g., note that Mitch McConnell has been a government employee for 50 years but somehow acquired a net worth of over $10 Million.)

P.S. About the notionally high U.S. GDP. Factor out the TRILLIONS inexplicably hoovered up by the pathological health care system, the metastasized and sanctified National Security State (with its Global Cop shenanigans) and the cronied-up Ponzi scheme of electron-churn financialization ginned up by Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Banksters, and then see how much GDP that reflects the actual wealth of the middle class is left over.

One Guy , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:10 pm
Right-Wing Dittoheads and Fox Watchers love to blame the Community Reinvestment Act. It allows them to blame both poor black people AND the government. The truth is that many parties were to blame.
LouB , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm
One of the things I love about this rag is that almost all of the comments are included. You may be sure that similar commenting privilege doesn't exist most anywhere else.

Any disfavor regarding the supposed bleakness with the weak hearted souls aside, Mr K's broadside seems pretty spot on to me.

tzx4 , says: December 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm
I think the author overlooks the fact that government over the past 30 to 40 years has been tilting the playing field ever more towards the uppermost classes and against the middle class. The evisceration of the middle class is plain to see.

If the the common man had more money and security, lots of our current intrasocial conflicts would be far less intense.

Jeeves , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:09 pm
Andrew Imlay: You provide a thoughtful corrective to one of Kunstler's more hyperbolic claims. And you should know that his jeremiad doesn't represent usual fare at TAC. So do come back.

Whether or not every one of Kunstler's assertions can withstand a rigorous fact-check, he is a formidable rhetorician. A generous serving of Weltschmerz is just what the season calls for.

Wezz , says: December 21, 2017 at 2:44 pm
America is stupefied from propaganda on steroids for, largely from the right wing, 25? years of Limbaugh, Fox, etc etc etc Clinton hate x 10, "weapons of mass destruction", "they hate us because we are free", birtherism, death panels, Jade Helm, pedophile pizza, and more Clinton hate porn.

Americans have been taught to worship the wealthy regardless of how they got there. Americans have been taught they are "Exceptional" (better, smarter, more godly than every one else) in spite of outward appearances. Americans are under educated and encouraged to make decisions based on emotion from constant barrage of extra loud advertising from birth selling illusion.

Americans brain chemistry is most likely as messed up as the rest of their bodies from junk or molested food. Are they even capable of normal thought?

Donald Trump has convinced at least a third of Americans that only he, Fox, Breitbart and one or two other sources are telling the Truth, every one else is lying and that he is their friend.

Is it possible we are just plane doomed and there's no way out?

John Blade Wiederspan , says: December 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm
I loathe the cotton candy clown and his Quislings; however, I must admit, his presence as President of the United States has forced everyone (left, right, religious, non-religious) to look behind the curtain. He has done more to dis-spell the idealism of both liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, rich and poor, than any other elected official in history. The sheer amount of mind-numbing absurdity resulting from a publicity stunt that got out of control ..I am 70 and I have seen a lot. This is beyond anything I could ever imagine. America is not going to improve or even remain the same. It is in a 4 year march into worse, three years to go.
EarlyBird , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:23 pm
Sheesh. Should I shoot myself now, or wait until I get home?
dvxprime , says: December 21, 2017 at 5:46 pm
Mr. Kuntzler has an honest and fairly accurate assessment of the situation. And as usual, the liberal audience that TAC is trying so hard to reach, is tossing out their usual talking points whilst being in denial of the situation.

The Holy Bible teaches us that repentance is the first crucial step on the path towards salvation. Until the progressives, from their alleged "elite" down the rank and file at Kos, HuffPo, whatever, take a good, long, hard look at the current national dumpster fire and start claiming some responsibility, America has no chance of solving problems or fixing anything.

Slooch , says: December 21, 2017 at 7:03 pm
Kunstler must have had a good time writing this, and I had a good time reading it. Skewed perspective, wild overstatement, and obsessive cherry-picking of the rare checkable facts are mixed with a little eye of newt and toe of frog and smothered in a oar and roll of rhetoric that was thrilling to be immersed in. Good work!
jp , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm
aah, same old Kunstler, slightly retailored for the Trump years.

for those of you familiar with him, remember his "peak oil" mania from the late 00s and early 2010s? every blog post was about it. every new year was going to be IT: the long emergency would start, people would be Mad Maxing over oil supplies cos prices at the pump would be $10 a gallon or somesuch.

in this new rant, i did a control-F for "peak oil" and hey, not a mention. I guess even cranks like Kunstler know when to give a tired horse a rest.

c.meyer , says: December 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm
So what else is new. Too 'clever', overwritten, no new ideas. Can't anyone move beyond clichés?
Active investor , says: December 22, 2017 at 12:35 am
Kunstler once again waxes eloquent on the American body politic. Every word rings true, except when it doesn't. At times poetic, at other times paranoid, Kunstler does us a great service by pointing a finger at the deepest pain points in America, any one of which could be the geyser that brings on catastrophic failure.

However, as has been pointed out, he definitely does not hang out with black people. For example, the statement:

But the residue of the "Black Power" movement is still present in the widespread ambivalence about making covenant with a common culture, and it has only been exacerbated by a now long-running "multiculturalism and diversity" crusade that effectively nullifies the concept of a national common culture.

The notion of a 'national common culture' is interesting but pretty much a fantasy that never existed, save colonial times.

Yet Kunstler's voice is one that must be heard, even if he is mostly tuning in to the widespread radicalism on both ends of the spectrum, albeit in relatively small numbers. Let's face it, people are in the streets marching, yelling, and hating and mass murders keep happening, with the regularity of Old Faithful. And he makes a good point about academia loosing touch with reality much of the time. He's spot on about the false expectations of what technology can do for the economy, which is inflated with fiat currency and God knows how many charlatans and hucksters. And yes, the white working class is feeling increasingly like a 'victim group.'

While Kunstler may be more a poet than a lawyer, more songwriter than historian, my gut feeling is that America had better take notice of him, as The American ship of state is being swept by a ferocious tide and the helmsman is high on Fentanyl (made in China).

JonF , says: December 22, 2017 at 9:52 am
Re: The crisis actually had its roots in the Clinton Administration's use of the Community Reinvestment Act

Here we go again with this rotting zombie which rises from its grave no matter how many times it has been debunked by statisticians and reputable economists (and no, not just those on the left– the ranks include Bruce Bartlett for example, a solid Reaganist). To reiterate again : the CRA played no role in the mortgage boom and bust. Among other facts in the way of that hypothesis is the fact that riskiest loans were being made by non-bank lenders (Countrywide) who were not covered by the CRA which only applied to actual banks– and the banks did not really get into the game full tilt, lowering their lending standards, until late in the game, c. 2005, in response to their loss of business to the non-bank lenders. Ditto for the GSEs, which did not lower their standards until 2005 and even then relied on wall Street to vet the subprime loans they were buying.

To be sure, blaming Wall Street for everything is also wrong-headed, though wall Street certainly did some stupid, greedy and shady things (No, I am not letting them off the hook!) But the cast of miscreants is numbered in the millions and it stretches around the planet. Everyone (for example) who got into the get-rich-quick Ponzi scheme of house flipping, especially if they lied about their income to do so. And everyone who took out a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) and foolishly charged it up on a consumption binge. And shall we talk about the mortgage brokers who coached people into lying, the loan officers who steered customers into the riskiest (and highest earning) loans they could, the sellers who asked palace-prices for crackerbox hovels, the appraisers who rubber-stamped such prices, the regulators who turned a blind eye to all the fraud and malfeasance, the ratings agencies who handed out AAA ratings to securities full of junk, the politicians who rejoiced over the apparent "Bush Boom" well, I could continue, but you get the picture.

We have met the enemy and he was us.

kevin on the left , says: December 22, 2017 at 10:49 am
"The Holy Bible teaches us that repentance is the first crucial step on the path towards salvation. Until the progressives, from their alleged "elite" down the rank and file at Kos, HuffPo, whatever, take a good, long, hard look at the current national dumpster fire and start claiming some responsibility, America has no chance of solving problems or fixing anything."

Pretty sure that calling other people to repent of their sin of disagreeing with you is not quite what the Holy Bible intended.

[Dec 17, 2017] Identity politic is and attempt to swipe under the carpet contradictions based on money and economics power issues and replace them with something else like race, gender, age, etc.

Dec 17, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

JBird , December 16, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Yes, it can be used for that , but often the goal is to channel, and contain the thinking from or to whatever, not degrade. Using modern neoliberal economics as an example. The older 19th and early 20th century mainstream political economy were deeper, more comprehensive, and often better at explaining economics. It was also called political economy, and not just economics for that reason.

There was a real financed campaign to narrow the focus on what we call economics today. Part of that effort was to label people very narrowly as just economic beings, which is what libertarianism is, and to label economic thought outside of it as socialism/communism, which is Stalinism, which is the gulag, which is bad thought. The economists studying this were just as intelligent, thoughtful, and incisive, but the idea, the worm of people=money=economics created a thought stop, or an an un-acknowledgment of anything else, the inability to even see anything else.

I sometimes think some are against the masses getting any higher education because one is exposed to other ways of thinking, and believing. A student might never change their beliefs, but the mind is expanded for considering the possibilities and at looking at where others are coming from. Those mindworms are also more obvious, and less useful.

So you could be ninety year blockhead, but if you are willing to listen, to think on what you are exposed to in college, your mind is expanded and strengthen. Which is perhaps the main goal of a liberal arts education. Even a very hard college education will still have some of the same effect.

Plenue , December 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm

"The economists studying this were just as intelligent, thoughtful, and incisive, but the idea, the worm of people=money=economics created a thought stop, or an an un-acknowledgment of anything else, the inability to even see anything else."

So would you say identity politics is the same thing in reverse? Intelligent people looking at issues from every perspective but that of money and economics?

JBird , December 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm

Yes, as it is used now. It can be very important, but what I have against identity politics as it is done today is that it is the first and last answer to everything. Many people can see, they just think one's identity is paramount. MLK said it best when he talked about being judged for the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Please keep in mind that the identity being used could anything. Your sex, gender, orientation, age, class, religion, anything.

Today it's skin color, tomorrow?

[Dec 03, 2017] Another Democratic party betrayal of their former voters. but what you can expect from the party of Bill Clinton?

Highly recommended!
Dec 03, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

SpringTexan , December 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

And I feel like the Democrats get so distracted. They have been talking about sexual harassment and stuff instead of the TAX BILL. It is so damn easy to get them to take their eyes off the ball! and get played again and again. . . and TRAGIC given the consequences . . .

Big River Bandido , December 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

It's the perfect "distraction". Allows them to engage in virtue-signaling and "fighting for average Americans". It's all phony, they always "lose" in the end getting exactly what they wanted in the first place, while not actually having to cast a vote for it.

Kabuki theater in every respect.

jrs , December 2, 2017 at 3:18 pm

It's all related, less safety net and more inequality means more desperation to take a job, *ANY* job, means more women putting up with sexual harassment (and workplace bullying and horrible and illegal workplace conditions etc.) as the price of a paycheck.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Horrible Toomey's re-election was a parallel to the Clinton/Trump fiasco. The Democrats put up a corporate shill, Katie McGinty that no-one trusted.

"Former lobbyist Katie McGinty has spent three decades in politics getting rich off the companies she regulated and subsidized. Now this master of the revolving-door wants Pennsylvania voters to give her another perch in government: U.S. Senator." Washington Examiner.

She was a Clintonite through and through, that everyone, much like $Hillary, could see through.

Expat , December 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

To paraphrase the Beatles, you say you want a revolution but you don't really mean it. You want more of the same because it makes you feel good to keep voting for your Senator or your Congressman. The others are corrupt and evil, but your guys are good. If only the others were like your guys. News flash: they are all your guys.

America is doomed. And so much the better. Despite all America has done for the world, it has also been a brutal despot. America created consumerism, super-sizing and the Kardashians. These are all unforgivable sins. America is probably the most persistently violent country in the world both domestically and internationally. No other country has invaded or occupied so much of the world, unless you count the known world in which case Macedonia wins.

This tax plan is what Americans want because they are pretty ignorant and stupid. They are incapable of understanding basic math so they can't work out the details. They believe that any tax cut is inherently good and all government is bad so that is also all that matters. They honestly think they or their kids will one day be rich so they don't want to hurt rich people. They also believe that millionaires got their money honestly and through hard work because that is what they learned from their parents.

Just send a blank check to Goldman Sachs. Keep a bit to buy a gun which you can use to either shoot up a McDonalds or blow your own brains out.

And some people still ask me why I left and don't want to come back. LOL

tony , December 2, 2017 at 9:30 am

Macedonia of today is not the same are that conquered the world. They stole the name from Greeks.

That being said, the US is ripe for a change. Every policy the current rulers enact seems to make things better. However, I suspect a revolution would kill majority of the population since it would disrupt the all important supply chains, so it does not seem viable.

However, a military takeover could be viable. If they are willing to wipe out the most predatory portions of the ruling class, they could fix the healthcare system, install a high-employment policy and take out the banks and even the military contractors. Which could make them very popular.

False Solace , December 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm

> a military takeover could be viable

Yeah, right. Have you seen our generals? They're just more of the same leeches we have everywhere else in the 0.01%. Have you seen any of the other military dictatorships around the world, like actually existing ones? They're all brilliantly corrupt and total failures when it comes to running any sort of economy. Not to mention the total loss of civil rights. Americans have this idiotic love of their military thanks to decades of effective propaganda and think the rule of pampered generals would somehow be better than the right to vote. Bleh.

Allegorio , December 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

This is a military dictatorship. The fourth and sixth amendments have been de facto repealed. Trump cared about one thing and one thing only, namely to repeal the estate tax. He is the ultimate con man and this was his biggest con. It is truly amazing how he accomplished this. He has saved his family a billion $$$. He will now turn over governing to the generals and Goldman Sachs. He may even retire. Truly amazing. One has to admire the sheer perversity of it all. When will the American electorate get tired of being conned? The fact is they have nothing but admiration for Trump. We live in a criminal culture, winner take all. America loves its winners.

John Wright , December 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

There is an old 2003 David Brooks column in which he mentions that

"The Democrats couldn't even persuade people to oppose the repeal of the estate tax, which is explicitly for the mega-upper class. Al Gore, who ran a populist campaign, couldn't even win the votes of white males who didn't go to college, whose incomes have stagnated over the past decades and who were the explicit targets of his campaign. Why don't more Americans want to distribute more wealth down to people like themselves?"

Then Brooks goes on to explain

"The most telling polling result from the 2000 election was from a Time magazine survey that asked people if they are in the top 1 percent of earners. Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. So right away you have 39 percent of Americans who thought that when Mr. Gore savaged a plan that favored the top 1 percent, he was taking a direct shot at them."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/12/opinion/the-triumph-of-hope-over-self-interest.html

The Republicans have conditioned people to believe government services (except for defense/military) are run poorly and need to be "run like a business" for a profit.

The problem is that not all government services CAN be profitable (homeless care, mental health care for the poor, EPA enforcement, OSHA enforcement). And when attempts are made to privatize some government operations such as incarceration, the result is that the private company tries to maximize profits by pushing for laws to incarcerate ever more people.

The history of the USA as viewed by outsiders, maybe 50 years hence, will be that of a resource consuming nation that spent a vast fortune on military hardware and military adventures when it had little to fear due to geography, a nation that touted an independent press that was anything but, a nation that created a large media/entertainment industry which helped to keep citizens in line, a nation that fostered an overly large (by 2 or 3 times per Paul Whooley) parasitical financial industry that did not perform its prime capital allocation task competently as it veered from bubble to bubble and a nation that managed to spend great sums on medical care without covering all citizens.

But the USA does have a lot of guns and a lot of frustrated people.

Maybe Kevlar vests will be the fashion of the future?

Steve , December 2, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the great link on how sadly uninformed average Americans are! I've been looking for it for a while and great comment!

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , December 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

The provision to do away with the estate tax, if not immediately, in the current versions (House and Senate) is great news for the 1%, and bad for the rest of us.

And if more people are not against that (thanks for quoting the NYTImes article), it's the failure of the rest of the media for not focusing more on it, but wasting time and energy on fashion, sports, entertainment, etc.

Vatch , December 2, 2017 at 7:24 pm

he provision to do away with the estate tax . . . is great news for the 1%

I think it's even a little more extreme than that. The data is a few years old, but it is only the top 0.6% who are affected by estate taxes in the United States. See the data at these web sites:

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-historical-table-17

https://www.irs.gov/statistics/soi-tax-stats-estate-tax-statistics-year-of-death-table-1

Sydney Conner , December 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the succinct, accurate eloquent description of our nightmare reality.

DHG , December 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

https://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/the-dark-rigidity-of-fundamentalist-rural-america-a-view-from-the-inside/

JTMcPhee , December 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

The military adventures were largely in support of what Smedley Butler so accurately called the Great "Racket" of Monroe Doctrine colonialism and rapacious extractive "capitalism" aka "looting."

For those who haven't encountered Maj. Gen. Butler's take on his 33 years of serving the Oligokleptocracy, here's a link: https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

A smart and honest fellow, who even declined as a "war hero" to serve as the oligarchs' figurehead in an earlier and clumsier plot to get rid of the trappings and regulation of "democracy:" The Business Plot, https://jtoddring.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/smedley-butler-and-the-business-plot/

It took longer and costed the rich a bit more to buy up all the bits of government, but the way they've done will likely be more compendious and lasting. Barring some "intervening event(s)".

Jonathan Holland Becnel , December 2, 2017 at 11:51 am

Doomed?

Project Much?

While Republicans show their true colors, im out there seeing a resurgence of civil society. And im starting to reach Hard core Tea Party types. Jobs, Manufacturing, Actual Policy.

IOW The Revolution Is Nigh.

2018 will be a Fn watershed.

[Oct 27, 2017] Censorship in a new clothing

Notable quotes:
"... "[T]he majority of students had no idea that algorithms were filtering the news content they saw on Facebook and Google. When asked if Facebook shows every news item, posted by organizations or people, in a users' newsfeed, only 24 percent of those surveyed were aware that Facebook prioritizes certain posts and hides others. Similarly, only a quarter of respondents said Google search results would be different for two different people entering the same search terms at the same time" ..."
Oct 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Our Famously Free Press

"Platforms are not strategies, and they won't save news" [Mary Hamilton, Medium ]. "Seriously. If someone else's algorithm change could kill your traffic and/or your business model, then you're already dead."

"Building trust online by partnering with the International Fact Checking Network" [ Google ]. Google (and Facebook) have more money than God. How come they have to outsource this stuff? Nevertheless: "Today we're announcing a new partnership with the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at The Poynter Institute. As a nonpartisan organization, IFCN is committed to promoting excellence in fact checking and building a community of fact checkers around the world. IFCN has developed a widely accepted Code of Principles for fact check organizations. Signatories range from the Associated Press to the Washington Post, PolitiFact and Factcheck.org, to Correctiv (Germany), Aos Fatos (Brazil), and Africa Check."

"[T]he majority of students had no idea that algorithms were filtering the news content they saw on Facebook and Google. When asked if Facebook shows every news item, posted by organizations or people, in a users' newsfeed, only 24 percent of those surveyed were aware that Facebook prioritizes certain posts and hides others. Similarly, only a quarter of respondents said Google search results would be different for two different people entering the same search terms at the same time" [ The Atlantic ].

[Oct 22, 2017] John Brennan's Police State USA

Notable quotes:
"... Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers. ..."
"... Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer. ..."
"... The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway. ..."
"... No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way ..."
"... " ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people." ..."
"... All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests. ..."
"... A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops. ..."
"... The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter. ..."
"... "The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result " ..."
"... But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world. ..."
"... I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter! ..."
"... Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them. ..."
"... The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself. ..."
"... Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so. ..."
"... Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. ..."
"... That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era. ..."
"... The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it. ..."
"... [The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank. ..."
"... Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran. ..."
"... Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington. ..."
"... Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say. ..."
"... Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse. ..."
"... Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.) ..."
"... Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress? ..."
"... Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies. ..."
Oct 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Fran Macadam , October 20, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT

A credible reading of the diverse facts, Mike.
Kirk Elarbee , October 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm GMT
Sadly, Brennan's propaganda coup only works on what the Bell Curve crowd up there would call the dumbest and most technologically helpless 1.2σ. Here is how people with half a brain interpret the latest CIA whoppers.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/everyone-hacked-everyone-hacked-everyone-spy-spin-fuels-anti-kaspersky-campaign.html

utu , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:18 am GMT
Again Mike Whitney does not get it. Though in the first part of the article I thought he would. He was almost getting there. The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Convincing Americans in Russia's influence or Russia collusion with Trump was only a tool that would create pressure on Trump that together with the fear of paralysis of his administration and impeachment would push Trump into the corner from which the only thing he could do was to worsen relations with Russia. What American people believe or not is really secondary. With firing of Gen. Flynn Trump acted exactly as they wanted him to act. This was the beginning of downward slope.

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration. Trump can concentrate on Iran in which he will be supported by all sides and factions including the media. Even Larry David will approve not only the zionist harpies like Pam Geller, Rita Katz and Ilana Mercer.

Pamela Geller: Thank You, Larry David

http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2017/10/19/pamela-geller-thank-larry-david/

anon , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:54 am GMT
OK.

The only part that is absurd is that Russia posed a bona fide threat to the US. I'm fine with the idea that he ruined Brennen's plans in Syria. But thats just ego we shouldn't have been there anyway.

No one really cares about Ukraine. And the European/Russian trade zone? No one cares. The Eurozone has its hands full with Greece and the rest of the old EU. I have a feeling they have already gone way too far and are more likely to shrink than expand in any meaningful way

The one thing I am not positive about. If the elite really believe that Russia is a threat, then Americans have done psych ops on themselves.

The US was only interested in Ukraine because it was there. Next in line on a map. The rather shocking disinterest in investing money -- on both sides -- is inexplicable if it was really important. Most of it would be a waste -- but still. The US stupidly spent $5 billion on something -- getting duped by politicians and got theoretical regime change, but it was hell to pry even $1 billion for real economic aid.

ThereisaGod , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:37 am GMT
" ..factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people."

All the more powerfully put because of its recognisably comical. understatement. Thank you Mr Whitney. Brilliant article that would be all over the mainstream media were the US MSM an instrument of American rather than globalist interests.

jilles dykstra , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:46 am GMT
I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA, 1492 to the Present. A sad story, how the USA always was a police state, where the two percent rich manipulated the 98% poor, to stay rich. When there were insurrections federal troops restored order. Also FDR put down strikes with troops.
Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT
@jilles dykstra

You should be aware that Zinn's book is not, IMO, an honest attempt at writing history. It is conscious propaganda intended to make Americans believe exactly what you are taking from it.

DESERT FOX , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm GMT
The elephant in the room is Israel and the neocons , this is the force that controls America and Americas foreign policy , Brennan and the 17 intel agencies are puppets of the mossad and Israel, that is the brutal fact of the matter.

Until that fact changes Americans will continue to fight and die for Israel.

TG , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:03 pm GMT
"The absence of evidence suggests that Russia hacking narrative is a sloppy and unprofessional disinformation campaign that was hastily slapped together by over confident Intelligence officials who believed that saturating the public airwaves with one absurd story after another would achieve the desired result "

But it DID achieve the desired result! Trump folded under the pressure, and went full out neoliberal. Starting with his missile attack on Syria, he is now OK with spending trillions fighting pointless endless foreign wars on the other side of the world.

I think maybe half the US population does believe the Russian hacking thing, but that's not really the issue. I think that the pre-Syrian attack media blitz was more a statement of brute power to Trump: WE are in charge here, and WE can take you down and impeach you, and facts don't matter!

Sometimes propaganda is about persuading people. And sometimes, I think, it is about intimidating them.

Anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm GMT
Whitney is another author who declares the "Russians did it" narrative a psyop. He then devotes entire columns to the psyop, "naww Russia didn't do it". There could be plenty to write about – recent laws that do undercut liberty, but no, the Washington Post needs fake opposition to its fake news so you have guys like Whitney in the less-mainstream fake news media.

So Brennan wanted revenge? Well that's simple enough to understand, without being too stupid. But Whitney's whopper of a lie is what you're supposed to unquestionably believe. The US has "rival political parties". Did you miss it?

Jake , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT
The US is doing nothing more than acting as the British Empire 2.0. WASP culture was born of a Judaizing heresy: Anglo-Saxon Puritanism. That meant that the WASP Elites of every are pro-Jewish, especially in order to wage war, physical and/or cultural, against the vast majority of white Christians they rule.

By the early 19th century, The Brit Empire's Elites also had a strong, and growing, dose of pro-Arabic/pro-Islamic philoSemitism. Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

So, by the time of Victoria's high reign, the Brit WASP Elites were a strange brew of hardcoree pro-Jewish and hardcore pro-Arabic/islamic. The US foreign policy of today is an attempt to put those two together and force it on everyone and make it work.

The Brit secret service, in effect, created and trained not merely the CIA but also the Mossad and Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Presidency. All four are defined by endless lies, endless acts of utterly amoral savagery. All 4 are at least as bad as the KGB ever was, and that means as bad as Hell itself.

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

Fair enough. I didn't know that about the foreword. If accurate, that's a reasonable approach for a book.

Here's the problem.

Back when O. Cromwell was the dictator of England, he retained an artist to paint him. The custom of the time was for artists to "clean up" their subjects, in a primitive form of photoshopping.

OC being a religious fanatic, he informed the artist he wished to be portrayed as God had made him, "warts and all." (Ollie had a bunch of unattractive facial warts.) Or the artist wouldn't be paid.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/nov/08/cromwell-portraitist-samuel-cooper-exhibition

Traditional triumphalist American narrative history, as taught in schools up through the 60s or so, portrayed America as "wart-free." Since then, with Zinn's book playing a major role, it has increasingly been portrayed as "warts-only," which is of course at least equally flawed. I would say more so.

All I am asking is that American (and other) history be written "warts and all." The triumphalist version is true, largely, and so is the Zinn version. Gone With the Wind and Roots both portray certain aspects of the pre-war south fairly accurately..

America has been, and is, both evil and good. As is/was true of every human institution and government in history. Personally, I believe America, net/net, has been one of the greatest forces for human good ever. But nobody will realize that if only the negative side of American history is taught.

Wally , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Hasbarist 'Kenny', you said:

"There must be something really dirty in Russigate that hasn't yet come out to generate this level of panic."

You continue to claim what you cannot prove.

But then you are a Jews First Zionist.

Russia-Gate Jumps the Shark
Russia-gate has jumped the shark with laughable new claims about a tiny number of "Russia-linked" social media ads, but the US mainstream media is determined to keep a straight face

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/10/robert-parry/jumping-the-shark/

Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?

https://theintercept.com/2017/09/28/yet-another-major-russia-story-falls-apart-is-skepticism-permissible-yet/

+ review of other frauds

Logan , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:20 pm GMT
@Jake

Most of that group became ardently pro-Sunni, and most of the pro-Sunni ones eventually coalescing around promotion of the House of Saud, which means being pro-Wahhabi and permanently desirous of killing or enslaving virtually all Shiite Mohammedans.

Thanks for the laugh. During the 19th century, the Sauds were toothless, dirt-poor hicks from the deep desert of zero importance on the world stage.

The Brits were not Saudi proponents, in fact promoting the Husseins of Hejaz, the guys Lawrence of Arabia worked with. The Husseins, the Sharifs of Mecca and rulers of Hejaz, were the hereditary enemies of the Sauds of Nejd.

After WWI, the Brits installed Husseins as rulers of both Transjordan and Iraq, which with the Hejaz meant the Sauds were pretty much surrounded. The Sauds conquered the Hejaz in 1924, despite lukewarm British support for the Hejaz.

Nobody in the world cared much about the Saudis one way or another until massive oil fields were discovered, by Americans not Brits, starting in 1938. There was no reason they should. Prior to that Saudi prominence in world affairs was about equal to that of Chad today, and for much the same reason. Chad (and Saudi Arabia) had nothing anybody else wanted.

Grandpa Charlie , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

'Putin stopped talking about the "Lisbon to Vladivostok" free trade area long ago" -- Michael Kenney

Putin was simply trying to sell Russia's application for EU membership with the catch-phrase "Lisbon to Vladivostok". He continued that until the issue was triply mooted (1) by implosion of EU growth and boosterism, (2) by NATO's aggressive stance, in effect taken by NATO in Ukraine events and in the Baltics, and, (3) Russia's alliance with China.

It is surely still true that Russians think of themselves, categorically, as Europeans. OTOH, we can easily imagine that Russians in Vladivostok look at things differently than do Russians in St. Petersburg. Then again, Vladivostok only goes back about a century and a half.

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm GMT
@utu

Anyway, the mission was accomplished and the relations with Russia are worse now than during Obama administration.

I generally agree with your comment, but that part strikes me as a bit of an exaggeration. While relations with Russia certainly haven't improved, how have they really worsened? The second round of sanctions that Trump reluctantly approved have yet to be implemented by Europe, which was the goal. And apart from that, what of substance has changed?

Seamus Padraig , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm GMT
@Grandpa Charlie

That pre-9/11 "cooperation" nearly destroyed Russia. Nobody in Russia (except, perhaps, for Pussy Riot) wants a return to the Yeltsin era.

Ludwig Watzal , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT
It's not surprising that 57 percent of the American people believe in Russian meddling. Didn't two-thirds of the same crowd believe that Saddam was behind 9/11, too? The American public is being brainwashed 24 hours a day all year long.

The CIA is the world largest criminal and terrorist organization. With Brennan the worst has come to the worst. The whole Russian meddling affair was initiated by the Obama/Clinton gang in cooperation with 95 percent of the media. Nothing will come out of it.

This disinformation campaign might be the prelude to an upcoming war.
Right now, the US is run by jerks and idiots. Watch the video.

anonymous , Disclaimer Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT
Only dumb people does not know that TRUMP IS NETANYAHU'S PUPPET.

The fifth column zionist jews are running the albino stooge and foreign policy in the Middle East to expand Israel's interest against American interest that is TREASON. One of these FIFTH COLUMNISTS is Jared Kushner. He should be arrested.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/donald-trumps-likudist-campaign-against-iran/5614264

[The key figures who had primary influence on both Trump's and Bush's Iran policies held views close to those of Israel's right-wing Likud Party. The main conduit for the Likudist line in the Trump White House is Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, primary foreign policy advisor, and longtime friend and supporter of Netanyahu. Kushner's parents are also long-time supporters of Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank.

Another figure to whom the Trump White House has turned is John Bolton, undersecretary of state and a key policymaker on Iran in the Bush administration. Although Bolton was not appointed Trump's secretary of state, as he'd hoped, he suddenly reemerged as a player on Iran policy thanks to his relationship with Kushner. Politico reports that Bolton met with Kushner a few days before the final policy statement was released and urged a complete withdrawal from the deal in favor of his own plan for containing Iran.

Bolton spoke with Trump by phone on Thursday about the paragraph in the deal that vowed it would be "terminated" if there was any renegotiation, according to Politico. He was calling Trump from Las Vegas, where he'd been meeting with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the third major figure behind Trump's shift towards Israeli issues. Adelson is a Likud supporter who has long been a close friend of Netanyahu's and has used his Israeli tabloid newspaper Israel Hayomto support Netanyahu's campaigns. He was Trump's main campaign contributor in 2016, donating $100 million. Adelson's real interest has been in supporting Israel's interests in Washington -- especially with regard to Iran.]

Miro23 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm GMT
A great article with some excellent points:

Putin's dream of Greater Europe is the death knell for the unipolar world order. It means the economic center of the world will shift to Central Asia where abundant resources and cheap labor of the east will be linked to the technological advances and the Capital the of the west eliminating the need to trade in dollars or recycle profits into US debt. The US economy will slip into irreversible decline, and the global hegemon will steadily lose its grip on power. That's why it is imperative for the US prevail in Ukraine– a critical land bridge connecting the two continents– and to topple Assad in Syria in order to control vital resources and pipeline corridors. Washington must be in a position where it can continue to force its trading partners to denominate their resources in dollars and recycle the proceeds into US Treasuries if it is to maintain its global primacy. The main problem is that Russia is blocking Uncle Sam's path to success which is roiling the political establishment in Washington.

American dominance is very much tied to the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency, and the rest of the world no longer want to fund this bankrupt, warlike state – particularly the Chinese.

First, it confirms that the US did not want to see the jihadist extremists defeated by Russia. These mainly-Sunni militias served as Washington's proxy-army conducting an ambitious regime change operation which coincided with US strategic ambitions.

The CIA run US/Israeli/ISIS alliance.

Second, Zakharova confirms that the western media is not an independent news gathering organization, but a propaganda organ for the foreign policy establishment who dictates what they can and can't say.

They are given the political line and they broadcast it.

The loosening of rules governing the dissemination of domestic propaganda coupled with the extraordinary advances in surveillance technology, create the perfect conditions for the full implementation of an American police state. But what is more concerning, is that the primary levers of state power are no longer controlled by elected officials but by factions within the state whose interests do not coincide with those of the American people. That can only lead to trouble.

At some point Americans are going to get a "War on Domestic Terror" cheered along by the media. More or less the arrest and incarceration of any opposition following the Soviet Bolshevik model.

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm GMT
@utu

On the plus side, everyone now knows that the Anglo-US media from the NY Times to the Economist, from WaPo to the Gruniard, and from the BBC to CNN, the CBC and Weinstein's Hollywood are a worthless bunch of depraved lying bastards.

Thales the Milesian , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm GMT
Brennan did this, CIA did that .

So what are you going to do about all this?

Continue to whine?

Continue to keep your head stuck in your ass?

So then continue with your blah, blah, blah, and eat sh*t.

You, disgusting self-elected democratic people/institutions!!!

AB_Anonymous , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
Such a truthful portrait of reality ! The ruling elite is indeed massively corrupt, compromised, and controlled by dark forces. And the police state is already here. For most people, so far, in the form of massive collection of personal data and increasing number of mandatory regulations. But just one or two big false-flags away from progressing into something much worse.

The thing is, no matter how thick the mental cages are, and how carefully they are maintained by the daily massive injections of "certified" truth (via MSM), along with neutralizing or compromising of "troublemakers", the presence of multiple alternative sources in the age of Internet makes people to slip out of these cages one by one, and as the last events show – with acceleration.

It means that there's a fast approaching tipping point after which it'd be impossible for those in power both to keep a nice "civilized" face and to control the "cage-free" population. So, no matter how the next war will be called, it will be the war against the free Internet and free people. That's probably why N. Korean leader has no fear to start one.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT
An aside:

All government secrecy is a curse on mankind. Trump is releasing the JFK murder files to the public. Kudos! Let us hope he will follow up with a full 9/11 investigation.

Think Peace -- Art

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:07 pm GMT
@utu

The objective was to push new administration into the corner from which it could not improve relations with Russia as Trump indicated that he wanted to during the campaign.

Good point. That was probably one of the objectives (and from the point of view of the deep-state, perhaps the most important objective) of the "Russia hacked our democracy" narrative, in addition to the general deligitimization of the Trump administration.

Art , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:11 pm GMT
And, keep in mind, Washington's Sunni proxies were not a division of the Pentagon; they were entirely a CIA confection: CIA recruited, CIA-armed, CIA-funded and CIA-trained.

Clearly the CIA was making war on Syria. Is secret coercive covert action against sovereign nations Ok? Is it legal? When was the CIA designated a war making entity – what part of the constitution OK's that? Isn't the congress obliged by constitutional law to declare war? (These are NOT six month actions – they go on and on.)

Are committees of six congressman and six senators, who meet in secret, just avoiding the grave constitutional questions of war? We the People cannot even interrogate these politicians. (These politicians make big money in the secrecy swamp when they leave office.)

Syria is only one of many nations that the CIA is attacking – how many countries are we attacking with drones? Where is congress?

Spying is one thing – covert action is another – covert is wrong – it goes against world order. Every year after 9/11 they say things are worse – give them more money more power and they will make things safe. That is BS!

9/11 has opened the flood gates to the US government attacking at will, the various peoples of this Earth. That is NOT our prerogative.

We are being exceptionally arrogant.

Close the CIA – give the spying to the 16 other agencies.

Think Peace -- Art

Rurik , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm GMT
@Ben10

right at 1:47

when he says 'we can't move on as a country'

his butt hurt is so ruefully obvious, that I couldn't help notice a wry smile on my face

that bitch spent millions on the war sow, and now all that mullah won't even wipe his butt hurt

when I see ((guys)) like this raging their inner crybaby angst, I feel really, really good about President Trump

MAGA bitches!

Mr. Anon , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

I am reading Howard Zinn, A Peoples History of the USA

A Peoples History of the USA? Which Peoples?

Tradecraft46 , Next New Comment October 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm GMT
I am SAIS 70 so know the drill and the article is on point.

Here is the dealio. Most reporters are dim and have no experience, and it is real easy to lead them by the nose with promises of better in the future.

[Oct 20, 2017] Harvey Sweinstein and Hollywood's Hos

Notable quotes:
"... Liberalism and libertinism are intertwined. The more liberal a woman, the more libertine she'll be -- and the more she'll liberate herself to be coarse, immodest, vulgar and plain repulsive. Think of the menopausal Ashley Judd rapping lewdly about her (alleged) menstrual fluids at an anti-Trump rally. Think of all those liberal, liberated grannies adorning pussy dunce-caps on the same occasion. ..."
"... By nature, the human woman is a peacock. We like to be noticed. The conservative among us prefer the allure of modesty. The sluts among us don't. On social media, women outstrip men in the narcissistic and exhibitionist departments. In TV ads, American women, fat, thin, young and old, are grinding their bottoms, spreading their legs, showing the contours of their crotches, and dancing as though possessed (or like primates on heat), abandoning any semblance of femininity and gentility, all the while laughing like hyenas and hollering hokum like, "I Own It." ..."
"... men are punished when they react normally to women behaving badly ..."
"... So endemic is distaff degeneracy these days that "protesters" routinely disrobe or perform lewd acts with objects in public. Vladimir Putin is a great man if only for arresting a demented band of performance artists, Pussy Riot, for desecrating a Russian church. ..."
"... If men flashed for freedom; they'd be arrested, jailed and placed on the National Sex Offender Registry. ..."
"... haute couture, ..."
"... Feminism promises women empowerment. However, there is a pornographic side to the promise. There are legions of women trying to give the world a hard-on for attention, money, status, etc. When the world reacts, as in the story, they say, "Don't touch me what do you think I am?" ..."
"... What's the big difference between Weinstein and former president Bill Clinton except that one was the frickin president of the US? Clinton used his various positions throughout the years to intimidate women, from the days of using Arkansas state troopers to act as procurers for him to later using federal agencies to harass them into shutting up. His wife Hillary, the almost-president, ran interference for him in muzzling the various women who might have spilled the beans. The Clintons postured themselves as champions of women's rights even as the reality of this sleazy couple was really tawdry. Weinstein was just a studio boss with money and film roles to dispense to a never-ending line of wannabe actresses. He fits right in with the Clintons as part of the Hollywood celebrity and glitz crowd and Hillary would never have called him a "deplorable". Yet even now there's many people who are Clinton fans and supporters even as they hypocritically play this game of 'get the fat guy'. The Clintons are a hundred times worse. ..."
"... You do not need philosophy to explain a love for money. Whether the profiteering Kardashians or the profiteering Madonna (and a legion of her imitators), these women did the indecent, lewd, into-your-face pornographic performances for financial gains. They have been denigrating themselves (and other women, by association) for money. They wanted the money. By any means. ..."
"... That the US government has extolled the deeply amoral Pussy Riot scum tells a lot about the moral crisis in the US, including the unending and very expensive wars of aggression run by the country that has no money for a single-payer medical system. ..."
"... Yes, the culture today is far, far more crass and degenerate than say, in the 50s, when Leave it to Beaver played on America's TVs, and Norman Rockwell and all that. But what has happened to our culture? Has the race into the sewer been a consequence of loose women of America (England, etc..) driving the decline? Or, are the causes a more a top down affair? IOW resulting from the big-money producers and all those men who run Hollywood? ..."
"... women, as indeed many men, are given to fashions and peer pressure. If the prevailing culture is one of modesty and self-respect, the women's behavior will reflect that. The American women of the 1950s were of more or less the same stock of women as the gutter skanks Ilana rightfully laments today, but did women drive this downward trend, or did (a few) men? ..."
"... One thing that has been noticed, are the striking similarities between American culture today and that of Weimar, Germany. Weimar was notoriously corrupt, with sexual degeneracy and prostitution rampant. Berlin was described as a giant brothel, where the desperate German youth were exploited and debased. ..."
"... the relentless, drum-beating agenda to destroy Western values. To eviscerate the culture of 1950s America (with virtues like honor and temperance) once and for all, and replace it with a septic tank value system, where self-respect is replaced with self-loathing. Where dignity and femininity is replace with twerking with your tongue out. Where Hollywood starlets howl about how "nasty" they are, as if being a skank is a moral badge of feminine honor. ..."
"... I am nearly 60 years old. And jokes and stories about "hollywood casting couches" and how pretty young women got roles in productions have been around longer than I have. To me, this whole story is just filed under more "fake news". No, I don't doubt the stories. I don't doubt that harvey was not a good man. But, its all basically propaganda. Harvey supported a political opponent of the people now attacking him 24.7 all over the right-wing media, so now these stories that are older than I am are suddenly headline news and the big lead on right-wing sites all over the internet. ..."
Oct 20, 2017 | www.unz.com

I'd like to better understand the conservative media's orgy over Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced and disgraceful Hollywood film producer and studio executive who used his power over decades to have his way with starlets.

To listen to conservative talkers, the women affronted or assaulted by Weinstein were all Shakespearean talent in the making -- female clones of Richard Burton (he had no match among women) -- who made the pilgrimage to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Hollywood Hills, for the purpose of realizing their talent, never knowing it was a meat market. Watching the women who make up the dual-perspective panels "discussing" the Weinstein saga, it's hard to tell conservative from liberal.

"Conservative" women now complain as bitterly as their liberal counterparts about "objectification."

However, the female form has always been revered; been the object of sexual longing, clothed and nude. The reason the female figure is so crudely objectified nowadays has a great deal to do with women themselves. By virtue of their conduct, women no longer inspire reverence as the fairer sex, and as epitomes of loveliness. For they are crasser, vainer, more eager to expose all voluntarily than any male. Except for Anthony Weiner, the name of an engorged organism indigenous to D.C., who was is in the habit of exposing himself as often as the Kardashians do.

The latter clan is a bevy of catty exhibitionists, controlled by a mercenary, ball-busting matriarch called Kris Kardashian. Kris is madam to America's First Family of Celebrity Pornographers. (To launch a career with a highly stylized, self-directed sex tape is no longer even condemned.) Lots of little girls, with parental approval, look up to the Kardashians.

From Kim, distaff America learns to couch a preoccupation with pornographic selfies in the therapeutic idiom. Kardashian flaunts her ass elephantiasis with pure self-love. Yet millions of her admirers depict her obscene posturing online as an attempt to come to terms with her body. "Be a little easier on myself," counsels Kim as she directs her camera to the nether reaches of her carefully posed, deformed derriere. While acting dirty and self-adoring, Kardashian delivers as close to a social jeremiad on self-esteem as her kind can muster. Genius!

Liberalism and libertinism are intertwined. The more liberal a woman, the more libertine she'll be -- and the more she'll liberate herself to be coarse, immodest, vulgar and plain repulsive. Think of the menopausal Ashley Judd rapping lewdly about her (alleged) menstrual fluids at an anti-Trump rally. Think of all those liberal, liberated grannies adorning pussy dunce-caps on the same occasion.

By nature, the human woman is a peacock. We like to be noticed. The conservative among us prefer the allure of modesty. The sluts among us don't. On social media, women outstrip men in the narcissistic and exhibitionist departments. In TV ads, American women, fat, thin, young and old, are grinding their bottoms, spreading their legs, showing the contours of their crotches, and dancing as though possessed (or like primates on heat), abandoning any semblance of femininity and gentility, all the while laughing like hyenas and hollering hokum like, "I Own It."

The phrase a "bum's rush" means "throw the bum out!" When it comes to Allison Williams, daughter of NBC icon Brian Williams, a bum's rush takes on new meaning. Thanks in no small measure to her famous father, the young woman has become a sitcom star. And Ms. Williams has worked extra-hard to hone all aspects of an actress's instrument (the body). Alison has carried forth enthusiastically about a groundbreaking scene dedicated to exploring "ass motorboating" or "booty-eating ," on HBO's "Girls."

The lewder, more pornographic, and less talented at their craft popular icons become -- the louder the Left lauds their artistically dodgy output. (The "Right" just keeps moving Left.) "Singer" Miley Cyrus was mocked before she began twerking tush, thrusting pelvis and twirling tongue. Only then had she arrived as an artist, in the eyes of "critics" on the Left. The power of the average pop artist and her products, Miley's included, lies in the pornography that is her "art," in her hackneyed political posturing, and in the fantastic technology that is Auto-Tune (without which all the sound you'd hear these "singers" emit would be a bedroom whisper).

Liberal women, the majority, go about seriously and studiously cultivating their degeneracy. If "Raising Skirts to Celebrate the Diversity of Vaginas" sounds foul, wait for the accompanying images. These show feral creatures (women, presumably), skirts hoisted, gobs agape, some squatting like farmhands in an outhouse, all yelling about their orifices.

Do you know of a comparable man's movement? If anything, men are punished when they react normally to women behaving badly .

Female soldiers got naked and uploaded explicit images of themselves to an online portal. The normals -- male soldiers -- shared the images and were promptly punished for so doing. And the conservative side of that ubiquitous, dueling-perspectives political panel approved of the punishment meted to the men.

So endemic is distaff degeneracy these days that "protesters" routinely disrobe or perform lewd acts with objects in public. Vladimir Putin is a great man if only for arresting a demented band of performance artists, Pussy Riot, for desecrating a Russian church.

If men flashed for freedom; they'd be arrested, jailed and placed on the National Sex Offender Registry.

Talk about the empress being in the buff, I almost forgot to attach an image of this celebrity, bare-bottomed on the red-carpet. Rose McGowan is hardly unique. Many a star will arrive at these events barely clothed. (Here are 38 more near-naked Red-Carpet appearances .)

Expect a feminist lecture about a woman's right to pretend her bare bottom is haute couture, rather than ho couture, and expecting the Harveys of the world to behave like choir boys around her. Fine.

Being British, BBC News anchors are not nearly as dour about the Harvey hysteria as the American anchors. A female presenter began a Sweinstein segment by saying men claim the coverage of the scandal is excessive; women say the opposite. "That's why we're covering it," quipped her witty male sidekick. She roared with laughter. That's my girl!

Look, Harvey is a lowlife. But Hollywood hos are not as the sanctimonious Sean Hannity portrays them: "naive, innocent young things," dreams shattered.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald's Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal's Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IlanaMercer .

whorefinder , Website October 20, 2017 at 12:22 am GMT

Agreed; most of those women are feigning shock at what happened. They're piling on now to prevent being called out as the prostitutes they are.
TheJester , October 20, 2017 at 3:57 am GMT
Thank you, Ilana, for pointing out the hypocrisy of women behaving like sluts who object to men reacting to them signaling the world that they are sluts. Is the real issue that actresses in Hollywood will only take off their clothes for hard cash and Harvey was not offering hard cash but only nebulous hints at future roles in his productions? This is important when surveying the careers of many of the actresses jumping on the bandwagon to destroy Harvey Weinstein. We know they have and will take off their clothes for the right price.

This is captured in the story of a man offering a woman a million dollars to go to bed with him. She agrees. Then, he changes the offer to one dollar. The woman objects! "What do you think I am a prostitute." The man answers, "We know what you are. We're negotiating the price."

Feminism promises women empowerment. However, there is a pornographic side to the promise. There are legions of women trying to give the world a hard-on for attention, money, status, etc. When the world reacts, as in the story, they say, "Don't touch me what do you think I am?"

So, it's about power and control, something dear to the hearts of feminists. "You can want me but you can't have me (until you meet my price)." Men have a word for these women. We call them "prick teasers". It is a dispute over price, and it makes men very, very angry to react to the signals and then be ridiculed for reacting to the signals.

Rurik , October 20, 2017 at 4:12 am GMT

who used his power over decades to have his way with starlets.

shiksas

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=shiksas&form=HDRSC2&first=1&cw=1263&ch=907

Kirt , October 20, 2017 at 4:15 am GMT
Your best column ever, Ilana! An instant Unz Review classic.
utu , October 20, 2017 at 5:23 am GMT
Chief deputy US Marshal 'had sex with multiple women in his office in exchange for prime parking spots outside his office'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4986958/Chief-deputy-Marshal-offered-parking-spots-sex.html#ixzz4w1TgYMes

If they do it for parking spots should anybody be surprised they do it for a movie career?

Thomm , October 20, 2017 at 5:26 am GMT
Cuckservatives are hardcore woman-worshipping feminists first and foremost. They will put aside any other objective when the prospect of groveling to women presents itself.
Dave Pinsen , Website October 20, 2017 at 5:40 am GMT
Ilana,

Miley Cyrus may have been an exhibitionist earlier in her career, but no scare quotes belong around "singer" when describing her. She can sing. See below.

unpc downunder , October 20, 2017 at 6:41 am GMT
Must as I hate a lot of liberal ideology, I would disagree with the argument that left-liberal woman are more libertine than mainstream conservative women. Social class, personality and intelligence have a much bigger bearing on female (and male) sexual behaviour than political ideology. And there is no evidence than liberal women tend to be more sexually explicit in their appearance than non-liberal women. The make up is thicker, the women are louder, and the skirts are shorter on Fox News rather than CNN.

Liberal women like Ashley Judd making vulgar comments to annoy religious conservatives doesn't really count. Playing up for the camera isn't necessarily an indication of real life behaviour.

Dan Hayes , October 20, 2017 at 6:49 am GMT
Ilana,

Thank you for saying what you said about more equitably apportioning the blame among males and females. Fortunately or unfortunately only a woman such as you can say such things in our PC world. In our unfair world this is the best that is possible and for this you deserve our thanks.

Wally , Website October 20, 2017 at 6:58 am GMT
Clueless 'feminists' ignore Muslim treatment of women while they protest for women's dignity, yet they say that Miley Cyrus is advancing women's dignity.

Women are legally stoned in Muslim countries and gays & lesbians are legally executed for being gay / lesbian in Muslim countries. And HILLARY took millions in 'donations' from those countries.

The Clearest Problem With Modern Feminism
Muslim Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), where are the 'feminists'?

http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/16/why-are-feminists-silent-after-revelations-of-female-genital-mutilation-in-the-us/

Something is deeply wrong when people show solidarity with Muslims who believe that women should be forced have their clitorises cut off.

Not Republican, but Muslim

https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/462fa7ccc93ca6d52fda01faf34bd2e32010a23bad6541a8a3d971a959ae67a2.jpg?w=800&h=480

Seraphim , October 20, 2017 at 7:15 am GMT
In the grand times of Hollywood, before the War, an open secret was that all aspiring starlets had to pass through the couch of a personage known by the nickname of Ben Cinema or Kalkeinstein, (described as "horrible and more! ugly, old and dirty, lumbering and stupid, a real piece of garbage, in his person and in his surroundings a real vomiting forth from the ghetto").
History repeats itself
Simon in London , October 20, 2017 at 7:38 am GMT
Well I think there's a causality issue here. Weinstein & co pick on them when they're mostly very young; they become degenerate later. There is an element of truth, but the really obscene behaviour is a feature of established veterans.
The Alarmist , October 20, 2017 at 8:41 am GMT

"To listen to conservative talkers ."

There's your problem. Reminds me of an old joke:

Patient: Doctor, it hurts my head when I bang it against the wall!

Doctor: Have you tried not banging your head against the wall?

animalogic , October 20, 2017 at 9:42 am GMT
Great article. Also funny: "ho couture" well, I liked it.
Couple points:
Worth remembering that often Weinstein selected women with NO power/influence; ie those way beneath Kardashians etc. This is not to contest Illana's points about female celebrities exploiting their sexuality, merely to note that Weinstein really was a slithering predator.

Also worth noting that, although dreckification of female (actually, all) sexuality goes beyond simple commerce, there has been a rough parallel between unleashed Capitalism (neoliberalism) & unleashed sexuality. Of course, it's "old hat" that "sex sells" however, now increasing degrees of pornography are accepted, indeed celebrated as "liberated", artistic etc.

Illana is completly correct when she refers to the rank hypocracy re: male female sexuality. definitely "not equal" (unless male sexuality is considered under the heading of "gay" etc)

Greg Bacon , Website October 20, 2017 at 9:51 am GMT
How can Hollywood proclaim to always be for women and their rights, shouting they are at the front of protecting women when the movie factories in that town have portrayed many a lead actress as a prostitute?

This isn't something recent, women as prostitutes in films goes back decades. How can degrading women by showing them as money-craving whores be in any way defending women?

Renoman , October 20, 2017 at 10:03 am GMT
For thousands of years the terms Prostitute and Actress were interchangeable. Sure Harve is a douche bag but he's far from the only one. They knew what they were in for and were duly compensated.
Lara , October 20, 2017 at 12:53 pm GMT
It's not that hard to deflect unwanted male attention or to downplay your looks. When I hear a woman complain of sexual harassment, I suspect she is most likely a trouble maker and desperate for attention. There are likely exceptions, but this tends to be my first reaction. It's rarely the prettiest women who complain of sexual harassment.

I know plenty of liberal women who are not crude nor overtly sexual. I guess they just ignore that facet of the left.

UKUSA-1 , October 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm GMT
Weinstein has always defended and represented the Western Values .
imbroglio , October 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT
When I was in grad school, there were some women grad students who exchanged sexual favors for the possibility of career advancement. Sometimes the women initiated the swap. Sometimes the more well-connected male (or female) faculty member or administrator initiated the swap. Some women (and possibly men) who were propositioned declined.

Query: If you said yes and got your payoff and if those who said no didn't get an equivalent payoff and if, by virtue of the payoff, you succeeded while those who declined the exchange didn't succeed, do you owe them anything? Morally.

Many who are posting #metoo on social media seem to feel that their membership in the victim class entitles them to receive benefits in exchange for sexual favors and then to recover, in attitudes of righteousness, the consideration they paid for those benefits: shaming, intimidating and threatening, under potential penalty of false or ambiguoous accusation, those who might seek to call them on their hypocrisy.

And let's not turn a blind eye to the feminized male enablers who seek women's approval by lauding this instance of having one's cake and eating it too.

Lest I be susceptible to laches (the legal term for clean hands that do the dirty work,) I was never tempted and, perhaps for that reason, recall the lady who died and sought admission to the pearly gates.

"May I have some evidence of your virtue," Saint Peter said as he riffled through her dossier.
"Indeed. I never succumbed to temptation," the lady proudly asserted.
"But were you ever tempted?"
"No," she said, fearing to lie to Saint Peter.
"Well, madam, if you've never been tempted, you get no credit for not having succumbed to it."

Anonymous , Disclaimer October 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm GMT
Excellent article, Ms. Mercer. And thanks for the puncture holes delivered to Conservative Inc. (Hannity etal). As to the, er, "ladies" who prowl about Hollywood and are now crying wolf, "what goes around comes around."
anonymous , Disclaimer October 20, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT
What's the big difference between Weinstein and former president Bill Clinton except that one was the frickin president of the US? Clinton used his various positions throughout the years to intimidate women, from the days of using Arkansas state troopers to act as procurers for him to later using federal agencies to harass them into shutting up. His wife Hillary, the almost-president, ran interference for him in muzzling the various women who might have spilled the beans. The Clintons postured themselves as champions of women's rights even as the reality of this sleazy couple was really tawdry. Weinstein was just a studio boss with money and film roles to dispense to a never-ending line of wannabe actresses. He fits right in with the Clintons as part of the Hollywood celebrity and glitz crowd and Hillary would never have called him a "deplorable". Yet even now there's many people who are Clinton fans and supporters even as they hypocritically play this game of 'get the fat guy'. The Clintons are a hundred times worse.
Sergey Krieger , October 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm GMT
This is how feminine looks like. Note the class, the behavior and the voice of course. :

https://youtu.be/KzJgTb2sRxQ

Anon , Disclaimer October 20, 2017 at 1:45 pm GMT
@Malla

You do not need philosophy to explain a love for money. Whether the profiteering Kardashians or the profiteering Madonna (and a legion of her imitators), these women did the indecent, lewd, into-your-face pornographic performances for financial gains. They have been denigrating themselves (and other women, by association) for money. They wanted the money. By any means.

That the US government has extolled the deeply amoral Pussy Riot scum tells a lot about the moral crisis in the US, including the unending and very expensive wars of aggression run by the country that has no money for a single-payer medical system.

The pink pussies that demonstrated against Donald and for Hilary, used to be offended when reminded about Libyan tragedy ("we came, we saw, he died, ha, ha, ha ") and about the hundreds of thousands of human beings (including thousands and thousands children) slaughtered there on the Obama/Clinton watch. Did we have the pink pussies demonstrating against Obama's seven wars? – No. The pink pussies needed some brainwashing before suddenly going into a public activism phase with silly hats on their empty heads. Are pussy hats demonstrating against the impending wars of the US with Iran and Korea? – No. Nobody gave an order for and provided money for organizing the parades. These "progressive" female activists are ridiculous.

By the way, is Dershowitz cleared re his visits to Lolita Island where real underage victims were held for the pleasure of powerful sex predators?

ken satifka , October 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm GMT
I love reading Ilana Mercer's politically incorrect take on events and her brilliant use of language.. Seeing how far US society has descended since I was growing up in the 1960′s, I'm glad to be a married, monogamous senior citizen. We certainly had our problems then, with the Vietnam War at the top of the list, but at least the women were not covered in disgusting tattoos and man-hating feminism was still in its infancy.
c matt , October 20, 2017 at 2:33 pm GMT
I still don't get all the fuss about this. The wannabe starlets knew the price of fame and fortune (or if not, found out quickly), and were willing to pay it. It is just straight up prostitution. Seems to me the only ones with a claim are the ones who paid the price and didn't get the part.
Andrei Martyanov , Website October 20, 2017 at 2:36 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Sergey, you posted here an example of femininity of Senchina – a value long destroyed by feminism in the West–as opposed to sexuality, which is the fad. It is the same as comparing real love and real intimacy to raw sex, or porn. For former one needs a real woman, for the latter a slut will suffice.

gwynedd1 , October 20, 2017 at 2:43 pm GMT
The scandal, as I have portrayed it, was the leftist hypocrisy in their political attacks against Trump. All Trump did was describe a woman's nature around powerful men. They volunteer themselves. Weinstein was far more coercive and they said nothing all these years. Women were victimized by this , but not the ones we know. It was the women who didn't advance their careers by any means who were victims. Perhaps that is one reason why women do not draw so much at the box office. We do not get to enjoy the talent that got them there.
Rurik , October 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT
Yes, the culture today is far, far more crass and degenerate than say, in the 50s, when Leave it to Beaver played on America's TVs, and Norman Rockwell and all that. But what has happened to our culture? Has the race into the sewer been a consequence of loose women of America (England, etc..) driving the decline? Or, are the causes a more a top down affair? IOW resulting from the big-money producers and all those men who run Hollywood?

women, as indeed many men, are given to fashions and peer pressure. If the prevailing culture is one of modesty and self-respect, the women's behavior will reflect that. The American women of the 1950s were of more or less the same stock of women as the gutter skanks Ilana rightfully laments today, but did women drive this downward trend, or did (a few) men?

One thing that has been noticed, are the striking similarities between American culture today and that of Weimar, Germany. Weimar was notoriously corrupt, with sexual degeneracy and prostitution rampant. Berlin was described as a giant brothel, where the desperate German youth were exploited and debased.

Perhaps it was the fault of those young Germans who, while likely starving from the wrath and rapine of the allies, (who deliberately looted the German economy dry). Or perhaps it was more the fault of the wealthy and powerful non-German men, who preyed on these young, often desperate women (and girls and boys). But the parallels are unmistakable.

which is why people are posting propaganda cartoons from back then, because the images are eerily familiar to what seems to be going on today, no?

https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-01c658fd480082cc2e02392133d69190-c?convert_to_webp=true

how can you not think of Harvey Weinstein when you see those cartoons?

Perhaps Ilana is right, and the blame starts and ends with the women. But then I think of all those Mickey Mouse Club girls who turned into skanks,

[I won't post the pictures, but you can find them..]

and I notice that they were raised in Hollywood, like Miley Cyrus, who seemed to be groomed specifically as an all American type of innocent Hanna Montana who then morphs straight into the gutter skank we all wince at- for all those preteen American girls to emulate. Just like Madonna was a generation before.

I confess it seems to me that the skankification of America's young women is part of a deliberate agenda coming straight out of Hollywood. No?

Mark Presco , Website October 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm GMT
Women have been sexually exploiting Men for a living for 5 million years. Women's price for sex has always been that men provision them. There is nothing wrong with this. It helped shaped both human physical and cultural evolution and we might have gone extinct without it.

The thing that interests me is, why now. The casting couch has been a stereotype all of my life. Why the piling on at this time?

Andrei Martyanov , Website October 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm GMT
@c matt

I still don't get all the fuss about this.

The fuss is about glamour Hollywood whores trying to teach others non-stop what is good and right. Obviously they do all this form the supposition that prostitution is good and liberating. You know, lowest common denominator? Most of them are also dumb as fvcks and this goes not only to wo..sluts there, to the so called men too. Look at Clooneys and other Damons of that cabal. They should concentrate on doing what they allegedly do best–pretend to be other people. Most of them have no serious analytical skills to start with. Hey, at least Brad Pitt is in this just for fvcking chicks at the height of their hotness–at least it is honest.

Joe Hide , October 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm GMT
I first began to totally ignore the MSM's comments on Putin when he had the degeneracy of the "Pussy Riot" in a Russian Church forcefully stopped. It was great to see the Cossacks beat the beejebans out of those morally offensive hooligans trying to illegally impose George Soro's world view on others.
Ludwig Watzal , Website October 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT
Every woman could have said No to Mr. "Sweinstein". Bros before hos are the name of the game not only in Hollywood. The hypocrites should not lament. It takes two to tango!
Wally , Website October 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm GMT
@Rurik

"I confess it seems to me that the skankification of America's young women is part of a deliberate agenda coming straight out of Hollywood. No?"

Here you go. From: 'The Spirit Of Militarism', by Nahum Goldmann. Goldmann was the founder & president of the World Jewish Congress:

"The historical mission of our world revolution is to rearrange a new culture of humanity to replace the previous social system. This conversion and re-organization of global society requires two essential steps: firstly, the destruction of the old established order, secondly, design and imposition of the new order. The first stage requires elimination of all frontier borders, nationhood and culture, public policy ethical barriers and social definitions, only then can the destroyed old system elements be replaced by the imposed system elements of our new order.

The first task of our world revolution is Destruction. All social strata and social formations created by traditional society must be annihilated, individual men and women must be uprooted from their ancestral environment, torn out of their native milieus, no tradition of any type shall be permitted to remain as sacrosanct, traditional social norms must only be viewed as a disease to be eradicated, the ruling dictum of the new order is; nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished, everything that was, must be gone."

Rurik , October 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Mark Presco

The casting couch has been a stereotype all of my life. Why the piling on at this time?

perhaps because of The Trumpening

perhaps now that Trump is in DC, there are forces at work that have bristled under the excruciatingly dishonest levels of hypocrisy coming out of the leftisphere.

accusing Trump of being disrespectful to women, as they rape women and girls wholesale, and the entire leftist power structure always looks the other way, so long as the rapist is a leftist himself, and will use his power for the leftist agenda.

so these serial predators like Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein all get a pass from the feminists and liberal, progressives, so long as they assist with The Agenda to destroy Western Civilization, (and the people who created it ; ).
As long as Bill Clinton hails the day when whites will be a minority in this country, (to the cheers of liberal college students), he can rape women all day long. He can sexually harass, as the most powerful man in the world, powerless girls in the White House, and all to a thunderous silence from the entire leftist, progressive (hypocritical / hatred-consumed) power structure. Because he works towards their agenda. [the same agenda, BTW - that destroyed S. Africa and Rhodesia]

But for a man like Trump, who seems to have raised daughters who respect themselves, and seem to conduct themselves with a certain dignity- that isn't what's important. What's important is what is always important

THE AGENDA

the relentless, drum-beating agenda to destroy Western values. To eviscerate the culture of 1950s America (with virtues like honor and temperance) once and for all, and replace it with a septic tank value system, where self-respect is replaced with self-loathing. Where dignity and femininity is replace with twerking with your tongue out. Where Hollywood starlets howl about how "nasty" they are, as if being a skank is a moral badge of feminine honor.

That's what's going on here. We're in the trenches of the cold culture war, turned hot culture war.

They wanted to destroy Trump and the deplorables with shrieking about how Trump was disrespectful to women. But now the cover of the giant septic tank known as Hollywood has been lifted off, for all the world to gasp at the slithering creatures and whiff the terrible stench.

I wonder if it's a kind of payback time for Hillary and her army of morally preening orcs, feasting on the flesh of young women, and smacking their liver lips with anticipation of the next young shiksa to walk though that hotel room door.

I only hope we get an investigation into Pizzagate next, with perhaps a nice expose' of Jeffrey Epstein's Child Rape Island, and all those liberal, progressive morally preening men who take so many trips there.

this might just be all a sign of the great Trumpening

unit472 , October 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm GMT
Let's be fair here. Women strut their 'stuff' same as men but in a different way. A man will buy a very expensive car or some other display of wealth or power to attract a female and females respond to these displays by highlighting their sexual desirability and availability. We are animals seeking mates after all and males have to demonstrate their dominance in nature before the female will mate with the male. Thus a Harvey Weinstein could no more have sex with an Ashley Judd than a derelict laying on the sidewalk absent some display of power and wealth that interested Judd.

The other side of this coin is that a woman cannot compel a man to have sex with her no matter how much money or power she has. Men do not sexually respond to a physically repulsive female and he cannot 'fake' an orgasm. This is why I do not believe in criminally prosecuting, e.g., a female school teacher for having sex with a 16 year old student. Fire her for improper conduct but jail her? Come on the boy was willing if he had sex with her!

mp , October 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm GMT
It's like the old joke: Will you have sex with me for a million dollars? OK. What about one dollar? What kind of girl do you think I am? We've already established what kind of girl you are. We're just negotiating.
Chicot le Fou , October 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm GMT
Excellent piece, showcasing your good sense as always. I yield to no man in my hyper enthusiasm for the undraped female form but to cynically "launch a career with a highly stylized, self-directed sex tape" incites my scorn, not lust. I have been fed up for years when perusing the morning headlines seeing articles about the latest, most egregious examples of Hollyweird bimbos showing up at events more or less naked. I've long since ceased looking or caring; they just annoy me.

Putting all one's assets on constant public display destroys the allure and mystery that is woman and does not empower them, it makes them the "pieces of meat" that they've been screaming about for close on a century, especially for the last 50 odd years. Women have made quite the cottage industry of whining that guys don't understand them, "don't get it" but refuse to acknowledge the obverse. By tripping the lights fantastic with their fun bits exposed they appear to the primal great white shark which is the male sex drive as easily gotten chum; and like the Assyrian of old, we fall upon and devour them, in a manner of speaking. A rather old adage said "If it ain't for sale, don't advertise it". As for Harvey, the fascination of the hogs at the slop trough is that the revolting pig~man didn't just want to have sex with these women, but to have them observe his disgusting degeneracy. The Cities of the Pains had nothing on us.

Eric the Manager , October 20, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT
I am nearly 60 years old. And jokes and stories about "hollywood casting couches" and how pretty young women got roles in productions have been around longer than I have. To me, this whole story is just filed under more "fake news". No, I don't doubt the stories. I don't doubt that harvey was not a good man. But, its all basically propaganda. Harvey supported a political opponent of the people now attacking him 24.7 all over the right-wing media, so now these stories that are older than I am are suddenly headline news and the big lead on right-wing sites all over the internet.

These stories have even bumped the stories about which NFL players should be lined up in front of a firing squad and shot for not maintain the proper posture during the sacred National Anthem here in the Land of the Free.

So, to me, this just more Fake News. Its propaganda and political attack using weaponized 'news'. And I don't care. If I had a daughter going to Hollywood, I'd give her the same warnings about scum-bags in the movie business and the casting couch that have been given out for a century now. Nothing new here.

Art , October 20, 2017 at 6:37 pm GMT
Strange -- it seems that Harvey had the only casting couch in Tinsel Town. Hollywood is wall to wall Jews – yet NO new Jew names are being exposed by all those brave women. Only Gentile names.

Hmm??? What could be going on? Stonewalling maybe – total fear absolutely! Say it isn't so.

p.s. Maybe Weinstein, Woody Allen, Polansky, and Weiner are the only sex obsessed Jews?

Anon , Disclaimer October 20, 2017 at 7:10 pm GMT
@druid

Hold your horses. Bill Clinton is Jewish?

Sean , October 20, 2017 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Art

As I understand it, movies is a very high stakes business, and you cannot get cast in a role by being alone with an obviously-horny-as-a-jackrabbit producer and submitting to sex acts or harassment. It doesn't guarantee anything, and they all knew it.

Casting happens though getting an agent, who sends you to an audition, where there are other people around and the acts performed are of an acting nature. The only professional film actor I know cited Ellen Barkin's acting as superlative. Barkin studied acting for ten years before landing her first audition.

Markus Aurelius Tarkus , October 20, 2017 at 8:10 pm GMT
I try to restrict devoting any of the precious time I have left on Earth to such matters. I made an exception for the Mercer column, which is spot on. 99% of the time, I merely see the unavoidable headlines and continue surfing for something worth the time to read or watch.

My one take-away from l'affaire Weinstein is this: I am enormously enjoying the internecine, riotous and indiscriminate feeding frenzy it has generated. Like Heinlein's Igli, the Left is consuming itself.

in the middle , October 20, 2017 at 8:30 pm GMT
@whorefinder

Their existence is only to provide sexual pleasure to these perverts, and they like it; however, when something goes wrong, they howl and cry, 'he raped me!" Reminds me when I was at a military base, and a friend of mine found his girlfriend screwing another guy, she claimed, well, rape! How appropriate. the poor guy was court martial-ed, and done with!

njguy73 , October 20, 2017 at 8:34 pm GMT
@wow

I am 1000X more attractive and in far better shape that Harvey Fatstein. Yet he has tapped far better poon than I can ever hope to tap.

You should have gone into show biz. If you're what you claim to be, you've have tapped more poon than Justin Timberlake and John Mayer combined. And it would have all been consensual, so no worry about lawsuits.

Anon , Disclaimer October 20, 2017 at 9:00 pm GMT
@Anon-og

Alden's response to you is perfectly correct. But you'd have a good point if you talked about MGM.

Ms. Mercer is not defending Weinstein but attacking the women who allowed this to go on for decades. I declare a half-hearted "boycott" against Hollywood every time something like this happens; alas, this is rendered without force by the fact that I refuse to pay modern ticket prices for what is likely utter trash anyway.

Beefcake the Mighty , October 20, 2017 at 10:17 pm GMT
I tend to assume by default that Hollywood producers (Jewish or otherwise) pressure actresses to have sex, so even if Weinstein was particularly egregious, I wonder what he really did to ignite this shit-storm. He obviously pissed off the wrong person(s).
ThreeCranes , October 20, 2017 at 10:52 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Sergey, realistically, most women–especially the lumbering, low skill, know-nothing women of America–cannot possibly match the woman you put before us in the video above.

They can't measure up and they know it. So instead of dieting, exercising, taking voice lessons or even mastering humble talents like cooking and sewing they take the cowards way out and denigrate her. They will revile her as an unliberated woman who depends on male affirmation for her self esteem, an unwitting tool of the Patriarchy.

While they, themselves? They don't need to charm no stinking men. They themselves depend on their cohort of disagreeable feminists for their "self esteem".

gp , October 21, 2017 at 12:53 am GMT
"The conservative among us prefer the allure of modesty." I'm a fan of 1970s-1980s Bollywood, with its casts of heart-stoppingly beautiful women, like Hema Malini and Sridevi, who performed in modest attire, and were all the more lovely for it. I can't bear to watch today's Bollywood product, featuring writhing undressed wenches indistinguishable from western gangsta ho's. Decades ago, Indian film assimilation from western pop culture often yielded bizarre but charmingly cute mash-ups, but now they've mimicked the very worst of what we have. Or maybe now we have only cultural garbage left for them to adapt.

[Oct 11, 2017] The corporate state embraced identity politics

Notable quotes:
"... There is a big difference between shills for corporate capitalism and imperialism, like Corey Booker and Van Jones, and true radicals like Glen Ford and Ajamu Baraka. The corporate state carefully selects and promotes women, or people of color, to be masks for its cruelty and exploitation. ..."
"... The feminist movement is a perfect example of this. The old feminism, which I admire, the Andrea Dworkin kind of feminism, was about empowering oppressed women. This form of feminism did not try to justify prostitution as sex work. It knew that it is just as wrong to abuse a woman in a sweatshop as it is in the sex trade. The new form of feminism is an example of the poison of neoliberalism. It is about having a woman CEO or woman president, who will, like Hillary Clinton, serve the systems of oppression. It posits that prostitution is about choice. What woman, given a stable income and security, would choose to be raped for a living? Identity politics is anti-politics. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.unz.com

DN: What about the impact that you've seen of identity politics in America?

CH: Well, identity politics defines the immaturity of the left. The corporate state embraced identity politics. We saw where identity politics got us with Barack Obama, which is worse than nowhere. He was, as Cornel West said, a black mascot for Wall Street, and now he is going around to collect his fees for selling us out.

My favorite kind of anecdotal story about identity politics: Cornel West and I, along with others, led a march of homeless people on the Democratic National Convention session in Philadelphia. There was an event that night. It was packed with hundreds of people, mostly angry Bernie Sanders supporters. I had been asked to come speak. And in the back room, there was a group of younger activists, one who said, "We're not letting the white guy go first." Then he got up and gave a speech about how everybody now had to vote for Hillary Clinton. That's kind of where identity politics gets you. There is a big difference between shills for corporate capitalism and imperialism, like Corey Booker and Van Jones, and true radicals like Glen Ford and Ajamu Baraka. The corporate state carefully selects and promotes women, or people of color, to be masks for its cruelty and exploitation.

It is extremely important, obviously, that those voices are heard, but not those voices that have sold out to the power elite. The feminist movement is a perfect example of this. The old feminism, which I admire, the Andrea Dworkin kind of feminism, was about empowering oppressed women. This form of feminism did not try to justify prostitution as sex work. It knew that it is just as wrong to abuse a woman in a sweatshop as it is in the sex trade. The new form of feminism is an example of the poison of neoliberalism. It is about having a woman CEO or woman president, who will, like Hillary Clinton, serve the systems of oppression. It posits that prostitution is about choice. What woman, given a stable income and security, would choose to be raped for a living? Identity politics is anti-politics.

[Oct 08, 2017] The Dark History of Fear, Inc

Notable quotes:
"... None of this qualifies as your typical run-of-the-mill lunacy (scented candles cause cancer), over-the-top tripe (the recent solar eclipse marks the beginning of the apocalypse), or unbelievable baloney (that man-made pyramids have been discovered in Antarctica). Rather, the paranoid style is rooted in pernicious, but believable, political fears: that the nation is under threat from people or movements plotting to do it harm and is teetering, teetering, teetering on the edge of an abyss. The problem is not that this is patently false (The Germans! The Japanese! The Russians!), but that it's often exaggerated -- and, sometimes, purposely so. Then too, as Hofstadter implied, preying on these fears for political gain not only isn't new, it's tried, tested, and often successful. Scaring the dickens out of voters is as American as the 4th of July. ..."
"... The claims now are not only as breathless as anything the CIA said about East Germany in the 1980s, they're as suspect: Mexico is "on the verge of collapse" -- a claim made by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly -- that Russia is providing arms to the Taliban (retold by the recently retired commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr., and, just the other day by James Mattis), that the U.S. military will be "outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries in the future" (noted by national security adviser H.R. McMaster prior to his service at the White House) and that, as Donald Trump himself said during his address to the United Nations, large parts of the world " are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell ." ..."
"... The problem with the claims is that those who are asked to dismiss them are required to defend the opposite -- that Mexico is economically healthy (it isn't, but it's hardly on the verge of collapse), that Russian weapons haven't shown up in Afghanistan (they have, though not simply in the hands of the Taliban), that Russia and China aren't developing new and more sophisticated weapons (they are, but so what?), or that it's ridiculous not to believe that "major portions of the world are in conflict" (that's always been true). The other problem with disproving the claims is that doing so contains a whiff of weakness, or naiveté: that the skeptic favors open borders, supports Afghan terrorism, doesn't support a strong military, or is hopelessly misinformed. In fact, however, each of these claims have been made before -- and refuted by expert testimony. ..."
"... The same holds true for each of the other claims. Following Gen. Nicholson's statement that Russia was providing arms to the Taliban, his claim was given short shrift by both the Defense Intelligence Agency and by Jens Stoltenberg, the General Secretary of NATO. Stoltenberg acknowledged that he'd seen the reports, adding that the only thing they lacked was proof. ..."
"... That Russia is an antagonist is now widely accepted, and it is trivially true that Moscow's nuclear arsenal (with or without the help of China) could lay waste to the U.S. But outgunning us? Russia spends a fraction of what the U.S. spends on its military establishment (some 14 percent of what we spend, in fact) and so must pick and choose what weapons it will develop. ..."
"... So, yes, we're in deep, deep trouble -- just as we were when witches danced in Ipswich, when Samuel Morse claimed we were being subverted by papists, when Joe McCarthy saw a communist under every State Department memo -- and when the Russians were producing missiles like sausages. ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Back in 1835, Samuel F.B. Morse (who went on to invent the telegraph and the Morse Code), wrote a book about a plot to overthrow the American republic. The conspiracy, Morse wrote, was well-funded, highly secretive, and hatched in Vienna by members of the The St. Leopold Foundation, which had dispatched cells of Jesuit missionaries to the U.S. to forcibly convert the nation to Roman Catholicism. This was no small intrigue: The plot's leaders, as Morse meticulously catalogued, were Austrian diplomat Klemens von Metternich, Ferdinand V of Hungary, and (of course) Pope Gregory XVI. "It is high time that we awakened to the apprehension of danger," Morse wrote .

What is shocking about this nonsense is not that Morse actually believed it, but that millions of other Americans did too. Morse's book seeded the rise of the nativist "Know-Nothing" party , whose goal was to curb immigration, root out Catholicism, and return America to its protestant ideals. In essence, they were the America-firsters of the nineteenth century. The Know-Nothings swept into office in Chicago, were strong in Massachusetts and, in 1856, nominated a national ticket (Millard Fillmore and Andrew Donelson), for the presidency; they tallied nearly 900,000 votes, one-quarter of those cast. "I know nothing but my country, my whole country and nothing but my country," they chanted.

Historians have since excavated the Morse plot with relish, if only as a way to better understand a nation that, from time to time, enjoys being scared witless.

Before the Know-Nothings there were the Anti-Masons, a political movement that warned of a takeover by secretive apron-wearing do-gooders who met for god-knows-why. And before that Americans were warned about witches named Dorothy, Rebecca, Martha, and Rachel, dancing in New England's forests. Some 120 years after Morse, in 1964, historian Richard Hofstadter dubbed this "the paranoid style in American politics" -- a paradigm-shifting essay that catalogued a raft of intrigues peopled by witches, Illuminati, Masons, Jesuits, Mormons, Jewish bankers, Bilderbergers and, in Hofstadter's time, communist dupes doing Moscow's bidding. America's enemies might be unseen, but they were everywhere.

"In the end, the real mystery, for one who reads the primary works of paranoid scholarship," Hofstadter wrote, "is not how the United States has been brought to its present dangerous position but how it managed to survive at all."

None of this qualifies as your typical run-of-the-mill lunacy (scented candles cause cancer), over-the-top tripe (the recent solar eclipse marks the beginning of the apocalypse), or unbelievable baloney (that man-made pyramids have been discovered in Antarctica). Rather, the paranoid style is rooted in pernicious, but believable, political fears: that the nation is under threat from people or movements plotting to do it harm and is teetering, teetering, teetering on the edge of an abyss. The problem is not that this is patently false (The Germans! The Japanese! The Russians!), but that it's often exaggerated -- and, sometimes, purposely so. Then too, as Hofstadter implied, preying on these fears for political gain not only isn't new, it's tried, tested, and often successful. Scaring the dickens out of voters is as American as the 4th of July.

The historical "for instance" in this is well-documented: during the 1960 presidential campaign, John Kennedy insisted that the Soviet Union had outstripped the U.S. in ballistic missile production. There was a growing and dangerous "missile gap" Kennedy claimed, placing the nation in great peril. Dwight Eisenhower, he said, had been derelict in not acknowledging the threat. An independent study commission issued a report that confirmed the fear and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave it credence: We are "turning out missiles like sausages," he claimed. As it turns out, Kennedy was right: there was a missile gap, but not in a way that he thought -- we had plenty, while they had none (a later CIA report speculated that, actually, they might have had three, maybe). Years later, Kennedy's claim looked downright foolish: the problem for the Russians wasn't that they couldn't make missiles (they eventually did, and plenty of them), but that they couldn't make sausages -- which cost them their empire. The same kinds of claims were retailed by U.S. intelligence services about Russia's allies: a 1987 CIA fact book said that East Germany's GDP per capita was higher than West Germany's, a claim so ludicrous that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan dismissed it to a panel of CIA officers with a legendary quip: "I know a Berlin taxi driver who could have told you that wasn't true."

The claims now are not only as breathless as anything the CIA said about East Germany in the 1980s, they're as suspect: Mexico is "on the verge of collapse" -- a claim made by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly -- that Russia is providing arms to the Taliban (retold by the recently retired commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John W. Nicholson, Jr., and, just the other day by James Mattis), that the U.S. military will be "outranged and outgunned by many potential adversaries in the future" (noted by national security adviser H.R. McMaster prior to his service at the White House) and that, as Donald Trump himself said during his address to the United Nations, large parts of the world " are in conflict and some, in fact, are going to hell ."

The problem with the claims is that those who are asked to dismiss them are required to defend the opposite -- that Mexico is economically healthy (it isn't, but it's hardly on the verge of collapse), that Russian weapons haven't shown up in Afghanistan (they have, though not simply in the hands of the Taliban), that Russia and China aren't developing new and more sophisticated weapons (they are, but so what?), or that it's ridiculous not to believe that "major portions of the world are in conflict" (that's always been true). The other problem with disproving the claims is that doing so contains a whiff of weakness, or naiveté: that the skeptic favors open borders, supports Afghan terrorism, doesn't support a strong military, or is hopelessly misinformed. In fact, however, each of these claims have been made before -- and refuted by expert testimony.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey said that Mexico was in a state of collapse back in 2009, a claim contradicted by then-Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair. More recently, and before the recent earthquake shook Mexico City, the collapsing Mexican government offered to help provide aid to Texans victimized by Hurricane Harvey. It's a wonder they would think of us as the walls were coming down around them. Then too, if Mexico is really on the verge of collapse, shouldn't the administration be doing something about it -- perhaps we should appeal to the international community to provide the Mexican government with low interest loans, or maybe we should deploy a U.S. aircraft carrier group to the Gulf of Mexico. Or perhaps, just perhaps, the claim is Morse-like: designed to frighten us, perhaps, into building a wall as a barrier to keep immigrants who are not pouring over the border from pouring over the border.

The same holds true for each of the other claims. Following Gen. Nicholson's statement that Russia was providing arms to the Taliban, his claim was given short shrift by both the Defense Intelligence Agency and by Jens Stoltenberg, the General Secretary of NATO. Stoltenberg acknowledged that he'd seen the reports, adding that the only thing they lacked was proof. But Stoltenberg went further, inviting Russia to be a part of the Afghanistan peace process -- a strange request to a nation that a top U.S. general claims is helping the enemy. Even so, the claim was repeated just this last week by Defense Secretary James Mattis, who added Iran to the growing list of Taliban allies. Of course, Nicholson and Mattis might be absolutely right, but they're saying so doesn't make it so. Then too (we shuffle our feet, look at our shoes, mumble to ourselves), the Taliban's best friend in Afghanistan isn't Russia or Iran, it's Pakistan -- our friend.

That Russia is an antagonist is now widely accepted, and it is trivially true that Moscow's nuclear arsenal (with or without the help of China) could lay waste to the U.S. But outgunning us? Russia spends a fraction of what the U.S. spends on its military establishment (some 14 percent of what we spend, in fact) and so must pick and choose what weapons it will develop. The result is that the Russian Federation continues technological advances in some weapons systems, but lacks significant technological depth elsewhere. During its 2015 May Day military parade, Russia showed off its new state-of-the-art T-14 main battle tank, complete with a new-fangled APS (active protection system) designed to defeat anti-armor weapons. Onlookers ogled the tank, oohing and ahhing at its shiny exterior, its impressive armament. But then, just as it was about to exit Red Square it broke down -- and had to be towed. Is Russia a threat? Sure, it's a threat. But Russia has many of the same problems now that it had at the end of the Cold War. It ranks 53rd in per capita GDP -- just behind Panama.

The world has problems, big problems but it is not going to hell. Here's what going to hell looks like. In the autumn of 1941, Europe was under the domination of a genocidal regime that had extended its murderous policies through all of Europe and whose armies were headed towards Moscow. In Asia, large swathes of China and all of Southeast Asia were occupied by Japanese militarists. The two, with Italy, had formed an axis and controlled significant portions of the globe. Their enemies were teetering on the edge of defeat. The world was going to hell, alright, but the U.S. had yet to get into the war.

But that's not the worst of it. During the early morning hours of September 26, 1983, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was notified by his computer system that the U.S. had launched five intercontinental ballistic missiles at Russia. Petrov sat there for a moment, when he should have been on the telephone to his superiors. After several moments he concluded that the warning just didn't make sense. Why would the U.S. launch only five missiles at Russia, when everyone in the Soviet military supposed they would launch a barrage. "The siren howled, but I just sat there for a few seconds," he later told the BBC, "staring at the big, back-lit, red screen with the word 'launch' on it." Petrov ignored the warning -- and may well have prevented a nuclear holocaust.

So, yes, we're in deep, deep trouble -- just as we were when witches danced in Ipswich, when Samuel Morse claimed we were being subverted by papists, when Joe McCarthy saw a communist under every State Department memo -- and when the Russians were producing missiles like sausages.

Now, as then, we have two choices: we can either embrace our fears and shake in our boots, or we can tell the sky-is-falling crowd what Samuel F.B. Morse's friends told him all the way back in 1835.

Get a grip.

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst and the author of The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur. His next book, The Pentagon's Wars, will be released in October. He tweets @markperrydc

[Oct 05, 2017] Opinion cultivation is a mass comms topic. You can look up the spiral of silence, which was theorized in the 1970s as self-censorship by people who hold minority opinions, or think they do.

Notable quotes:
"... TAC is an odd place, I post comments and for some reason every single comment I post on the U.S. state Dept. never gets published while every other comment I write does and I cannot fathom why. ..."
"... Many comment sections of political and "news" sites are tightly curated. They offer the illusion of open discussion but in fact limit the scope of what discussion points are allowed. ..."
"... From a PR/opinion cultivation perspective the goal is to keep those points or positions from appearing before other commenters and readers, thus validating their existence. Or such points or positions are allowed through on a very irregular or rare basis, which leaves the impression that they are extreme. ..."
"... Opinion cultivation is a mass comms topic. You can look up the "spiral of silence," which was theorized in the 1970s as self-censorship by people who hold minority opinions, or think they do. ..."
"... What we have today is the systematic creation of "spiral of silence" by the media that tout themselves as giving voice to opinions/positions/facts. They silence views at odds with the ones they want to sell, with the intention that their viewers/readers will self-censor. ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

Olorin says: October 3, 2017 at 9:45 pm

@Chris Chuba

I'm sorry to hear that you were removed from TAC. I do not believe that you should tailor you writings to make them pro-Israeli / Jewish if that does not represent your views. If I find an article unappealing I just skip it, I don't want to see it censored and I don't assume bad intentions on people just because they pursue a theory I don't agree with. To judge if someone is out-of-bounds perhaps we should apply the 'Iran test', replace Israel/Jewish with Iran/Iranian and see if people would still take offense (being a bit facetious, nothing would be out-of-bounds).

TAC is an odd place, I post comments and for some reason every single comment I post on the U.S. state Dept. never gets published while every other comment I write does and I cannot fathom why.

The pattern goes like this.

  1. Larison writes how Tillerson is gutting the U.S. State Dept. budget and this is wrecking U.S. diplomacy.
  2. I post a comment asking why that's a bad thing because 60%+ of the budget goes for 'soft power', funding NGO's to influence and/or meddle in other countries. Lindsey Graham even said, 'that's our soft power'.

This is like Groundhog Day, I've tried posting several versions of this comment thinking that I inadvertently said something inflammatory. I've stopped commenting on any article having to do with this topic.

Maybe I'm wrong, I'm fallible but I don't see how my comment is out of bounds, I'm baffled.

TAC is an odd place, I post comments and for some reason every single comment I post on the U.S. state Dept. never gets published while every other comment I write does and I cannot fathom why.

Many comment sections of political and "news" sites are tightly curated. They offer the illusion of open discussion but in fact limit the scope of what discussion points are allowed.

From a PR/opinion cultivation perspective the goal is to keep those points or positions from appearing before other commenters and readers, thus validating their existence. Or such points or positions are allowed through on a very irregular or rare basis, which leaves the impression that they are extreme.

Opinion cultivation is a mass comms topic. You can look up the "spiral of silence," which was theorized in the 1970s as self-censorship by people who hold minority opinions, or think they do.

What we have today is the systematic creation of "spiral of silence" by the media that tout themselves as giving voice to opinions/positions/facts. They silence views at odds with the ones they want to sell, with the intention that their viewers/readers will self-censor.

This is related to the 1970s to 1980s field of "cultivation theory" out of the Annenberg School (Penn). In that case, Jewish scholars at a majority Jewish department commenting on disproportionately Jewish-run media networks/outlets and Jewish-created programming concluded that rank-and-file white Americans were stupid for thinking the world was mean and dangerous based on what they saw on television.

(The findings/research claim held that more hours of TV viewing led to people thinking crime rates were higher than they actually were. I don't call whether the converse was true, i.e., no TV viewing led to underestimate of crime rates, or what.)

There was some truth in the cultivation theory framing–George Gerbner left communist Hungary, IIRC–but the whole thing struck me overall as an effort to ridicule white men and women for a) trusting the media and b) perceiving that their culture was going shall we say down the tubes. The real data were the actual crime rates and why the MSM didn't report those, nor on the demographics of them.

In any case, the researchers were suffering from confirmation bias at least as strongly as their human subjects were, IMO.

[Oct 04, 2017] Living Under the French Hate Speech Laws by Lawrence G. Proulx

Notable quotes:
"... Lawrence G. Proulx is a retired copy editor who worked for more than 30 years at the Washington Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune and International New York Times. ..."
Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

What infractions must a speaker or writer or editor or publisher avoid in order to stay within the law in France? Here are the basics, as discussed in the manual "Droits des journalistes et liberté d'expression" by Bernard Dapogny and Marion Dapogny:

False news, "made in bad faith, that disturbs the public order or is capable of disturbing it." Use of a false document in reporting. Attempt to harm the discipline or morale of the armed forces or to hinder a war effort. Defamation. Insult. [The distinction between this and the preceding is that defamation must assert something specific, whereas insult can be merely an offensive word.] Attempt to harm a person's honor or reputation. Defamation of or insult to the judiciary, the military services, various other public bodies including "junior high schools, high schools, universities, the Legion of Honor" as well as "local administrations, the police, hospitals, penitentiaries." Defamation of or insult to persons acting in a position of public authority, including "representatives and senators, ministers and Secretaries of State" as well as "police personnel, magistrates, teachers." Defamation or insult based on race, religion or belonging to an ethnic group or a nation. Defamation or insult based on sex, sexual orientation or handicap. Defamation of or insult to deceased persons, where the offense touches on the honor of the heirs or close survivors. Provocation to the commission of a crime which leads to the crime. Provocation to the commission of a crime which doesn't lead to the crime. Indirect provocation (apology), that is, stating that certain crimes were justified, including "war crimes, crimes against humanity or crimes in collaboration with the enemy." Provocation to hate, violence or discrimination, which could be based on a person's "origin, sex, family situation, state of pregnancy, physical appearance, family name, state of health, handicap, genetic characteristics, morals, sexual orientation, age, opinions, politics, labor union activity, belonging or not belonging, real or supposed to a particular ethnic group, nation, race or religion." Provocation to or apology for terrorism. Contesting "the existence of one or several crimes against humanity as defined by Article 6 of the charter of the International Military Tribunal [the Nuremberg Tribunal] annexed to the London Agreement of August 6, 1945, and which were committed by the members of an organization declared criminal in application of Article 9 of the said charter, by a person recognized as guilty of such crimes by a French jurisdiction or by an international one." Enacted in July 1990 and called the Gayssot Law. Offending the president of the Republic. [This law was repealed in 2013.]

Many of these laws are seldom invoked; others are used frequently. To put flesh on the matter, I offer you a list of cases from 2013 that I put together in 2014 for an article that never found a publisher. (Sorry, but the work of assembling it was too tedious for me to undertake it again, and I think the general impression given by more recent cases would not be different.) Although details of the offensive language are frequently omitted in the news reports from which this list is compiled, a quick look will give a sense of how routine the cases are.

One thing should be mentioned first. An anti-racism law passed in July 1972, commonly called the Pleven Law, strengthened the restrictions on speech and granted to private associations dedicated to fighting racism the right to participate in the prosecution of criminal cases and to claim damages as well. Amendments to the law empowered additional categories of associations, for example, associations working "to defend the moral interests and the honor of veterans and victims of war and of those who died for France" or "to defend the memory of slaves and the honor of their descendants." Such associations are frequently the first to blow the whistle on remarks they consider violative, and because they have the standing to file complaints even when no particular person is targeted by the contested remarks, their legal recognition is an important factor in the number of cases brought before the courts today.

2013 in Review

January

Marie-Josée Roig, the mayor of Avignon, files a complaint for public insults contained in a book purporting to be fiction ("Le Monarque, son fils, son fief") by Marie-Célie Guillaume in which a character who resembles Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president, demands a quick sexual "present" from a woman who resembles Roig.

Daniel Boyer, the mayor of Châteaubernard, files a complaint for public insults after a wave of graffiti attacking him and various acts of vandalism.

Frédéric Haziza, a Jewish journalist, files a complaint for public insult and public insult committed against a person because of his religion, after being attacked on the website of Alain Soral, a self-described anti-Zionist activist. Haziza had refused to invite Soral onto his show to discuss Soral's book "Comprendre l'empire" because of Soral's "clearly antisemitic" views.

March

A judge, Jean-Michel Gentil, files a complaint for contempt and insult against Henri Guaino, a deputy in Parliament, for having said that the judge "dishonored the [state] institutions and justice" after Sarkozy was interrogated on suspicion of abusing the weakness of a rich aged widow.

Bloc Identitaire, a nationalist group, announces its intention to file a complaint for public insult against Yann Galut, a deputy from the Cher department, for having called the members of the bloc "casseurs" (protesters who destroy property) in a Twitter message.

April

Rama Yade, a former secretary of state for human rights and for sports, is found guilty of defamation and insult for eight of twenty-eight contested statements posted on her blog about a political opponent, Manuel Aeschlimann, after she was challenged over her domicile status in the Hauts-de-Seine department.

May

Yvan Benedetti and Alexandre Gabriac, right-wing activists, file a complaint against Jean-François Carenco, the prefect of Lyon, and Albert Doutre, director of public security, for "hateful" public insults (such as "imbecilities" and "thugs") made during the containment of a nationalist youth protest in front of the Socialist Party local headquarters.

June

The city of Angers files suit against a shopkeeper for public insult in the form of signs he put up to protest a proposed tax on businesses that serve clients on the sidewalk, which followed among other things a police check of whether he was serving alcohol without the proper license.

Pierre Dubois, the mayor of Roubaix, and the Human Rights League file a complaint against an unnamed man who, during the course of a heated discussion at a public meeting, suggested that the Roma (Gypsies) be sent to Auschwitz.

July

Sylvie Goy-Chavent, a senator of the Ain department who prepared a report on the security of meat production in France, files a complaint against a website, Internet JSSNews.com, which describes itself as a webzine of Israeli opinion, for calling her such things as "bitch" and "little shit" and writing, among other things, "Goy, she wears her name well."

September

The Union of Jewish Students of France says it will file a complaint against the weekly magazine Valeurs Actuelles for provocation of racial or religious discrimination, hatred or violence. The group describes the cover of the magazine's Sept. 26 issue, which shows a white bust of a woman representing France wearing a black Islamic veil and bearing the title "Naturalized: The Invasion They're Hiding," as "racist" and "hateful." The magazine says in return that it will file a complaint against the group for calumnious denunciation, defamation and attack on freedom of expression.

The Foundation for the Memorial of the Black Slave Trade, along with the Federation of African Associations, the National Union of Overseas France, and other organizations and individual citizens file a complaint against Jean-Sebastien Vialatte, a deputy in Parliament, for public insult, defamation and incitement of racial hatred and racial discrimination, for his remarks after vandalism occurred during a celebration of the Paris Saint-Germain soccer team. He had sent a Twitter message in which he said sardonically that "the people who vandalize are surely descendants of slaves, they have excuses[.] #Taubira [the justice minister] will give them some compensation!"

October

The League for the Judicial Defense of Muslims files a complaint against the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo for its July 10 cover which had a cartoon captioned in large letters with "The Koran, it's shit; it doesn't stop bullets"; against the magazine Valeurs Actuelles for its Sept. 26 cover; against the website Riposte Laïque for various articles; and against Manuel Valls, the secretary of the interior, for provocation of discrimination and hate, for saying, "Within ten years we will show, we are in the process of showing, there is a will, that Islam is compatible [sic] with the Republic."

Bruno Gilles, a senator in the Union for a Popular Movement, files a complaint against a socialist, Patrick Mennucci, for "defamation and public insults." "He called me a racist and xenophobe," the senator said.

France-El Djazaïr, a Franco-Algerian friendship association, announces that it will file a complaint against a police officer in the city of Alès for "insults and incitement to xenophobic and Islamophobic hatred"; the officer had put on his Facebook profile page a photo-montage representing the Algerian flag over which was written "I hate Algeria," attached to an image of a man wiping his bottom with the flag.

Bachir Bouhmadou, adjunct general secretary of Citizen Resistance, and Ali Saab, president of the Association of Muslims of the Territory of Belfort, file a complaint against Christine Tasin, a militant with the group Republican Resistance, for videotaped comments opposing ritual Islamic butchery and criticizing Islam.

Abdellah Zekri, the president of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, says he will file a complaint after his house was defaced with swastikas and graffiti saying "Islam Out" and "Heit [sic] Hitler."

The National Front says it will file a complaint against Christiane Taubira, the justice minister, for public insult for having described the party's way of thinking as "deadly and murderous" and summarizing it thus: "It's the blacks in the branches of the trees, the Arabs in the sea, the homosexuals in the Seine, the Jews in the oven and so forth."

November

A 65-year-old man is found guilty of insulting Claudine Ledoux, the mayor of Charleville-Mézières, on his website, l'Union-l'Ardennais, in a manner described by a regional newspaper as "menacing, racist and sexist," in relation to her being made a knight in the Legion of Honor; he is ordered to pay a fine of one thousand euros and damages for mental distress of the same amount to Ledoux.

The association SOS Racisme says it will file a complaint for incitation to racial hatred against Minute, a 16-page rightist weekly, for its cover with a photo of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who is a native of French Guiana, and for the title "Clever Like a Monkey, Taubira Finds the Banana Again," which combines two common French expressions; to have the banana (or the peach) means to be full of energy.

A player files a complaint for racial insult after a rough soccer game (three red cards) between the second-stringers of the Sablé and Lude clubs. A player explained: "This attacker called me a dirty white. I called him a dirty black."

The Movement Against Racism and for the Amity of Peoples files a complaint for provocation of racial hatred against Manuel Valls, minister of the interior, for comments about the Gypsies including, "The Gypsies should stay in Romania or return there." The case will be dismissed in December 2013.

Bob Dylan is put under formal investigation for insult and provocation of racial hatred after the Representative Council of the Croatian Community and Institutions of France files a complaint against both him and the magazine Rolling Stone, the French version of which republished an interview in which he said, "If you've got a slave master or the Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood." The case will be dismissed in April 2014.

December

The comedian Nicolas Bedos testifies after being accused of complicity in making a public racial insult in an article in the magazine Marianne as well as on its website; among the phrases he used were "Negro bugger," "island indolence" and "lazy natives."

Gérard Huet, the mayor of Loudéac, is sued by the Human Rights League for comments about Gypsies he made at a meeting to discuss expenditures to renovate the area where the Gypsies were living. "They've stolen all our plumbing," he says, and he later objects to the comment of another member of the city council with, "You're defending thieves?" He sues the league in return for harassment.

The comedian Dieudonné files a defamation complaint after Alain Jakubowicz, the president of the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism, describes the "quenelle," a gesture used by the comedian and his fans, as "corresponding to an inverted Nazi salute signifying the sodomizing of the victims of the Holocaust." Dieudonné also says he will sue Le Monde, Le Figaro, BFMTV, France 2 and Manuel Valls, the interior minister.

The imam Hicham El Barkani files a complaint for insult after a protest described as islamophobic against the opening of a mosque in Papeete.

Historians on Trial

Some cases have greater import than those listed above, as when historians are attacked for their work.

The Columbia University historian Bernard Lewis gave an interview to Le Monde on November 16, 1993, in which he discussed the killings of Armenians by Turks during the First World War. In the course of it he said, "If one speaks of genocide, that implies that there was a deliberate policy, a decision, to systematically annihilate the Armenian nation. That is quite doubtful. Turkish documents prove a will of deportation, not of extermination." On January 1, 1994, in response to strong objections to his remarks, he published a further explanation of his position, again in Le Monde, ending with a repetition of his main point, that "no serious proof exists of a decision and a plan by the Ottoman government aiming at exterminating the Armenian nation." He was sued by the Forum of Armenian Associations of France and the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism on the claim that he had "gravely hurt the memory and respect of the survivors and of their families." The civil court of Paris ruled that Lewis had "failed to meet his duty of objectivity and prudence in expressing himself without nuance on so sensitive a subject" and ordered him to pay a franc each to the two associations as well as the cost of publishing the decision. Lewis was also the defendant in other civil cases and one criminal one on the same subject, all of which were dismissed.

In 2001, the French Parliament "publicly recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915," and in 2012 the Parliament passed a law instituting a punishment of imprisonment for one year and a fine of 45,000 euros of anyone who "contests or minimizes in an outrageous fashion" genocides recognized as such by French law, but the Constitutional Council ruled the latter law unconstitutional a month later. Both of the main candidates for president that year, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, soon announced that they would seek a new law to criminalize denial of the Armenian genocide, and in January 2017 a law took effect providing for a year of prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for those who denied, belittled or "banalized in an outrageous way" recognized genocides, crimes against humanity, and enslavement or exploitation of an enslaved person.

In 2001 Parliament also passed a law recognizing "that the trans-Atlantic trade in Negroes as well as the trade in the Indian Ocean on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the slavery perpetrated starting in the 15th Century, in the Americas and the Caribbean, in the Indian Ocean and in Europe against the Africans, Amerindians, Madagascans and Indians constitute a crime against humanity." Four years later this law was invoked against Olivier Pétré-Grenouilleau, a professor at the University of Southern Brittany. In the course of an interview given on June 12, 2005, in relation to his book "Les traites négrières" (The Negro Slave Trades), which had won many awards including the Senate History Book Prize, Pétré-Grenouilleau rejected a comparison of the slave trades to the Jewish Holocaust: "The slave trades are not genocides. The slave trade didn't have the goal of exterminating a people. The slave was a good that had a market value that one wanted to make work as much as possible." An association representing people of the Caribbean, French Guiana and Réunion filed a complaint against him for denying a crime against humanity and demanded that he be "suspended from his university functions for revisionism." In the vehement debate that ensued, Pétré-Grenouilleau was strongly supported by many prominent historians, and in February 2006, acknowledging this opposition, the association withdrew its complaint.

Shortly before the Pétré-Grenouilleau affair erupted, another "memorial" law had been passed, in January 2005, aimed generally at recognizing the suffering of those French citizens who had been repatriated from North Africa at the end of the Algerian War. This law had itself evoked controversy, by requiring that "school programs recognize in particular the positive role of the French presence overseas, notably in North Africa." A year later the law was emended and the "positive role" removed.

Real Prison Sentences

I know of only three writers who have recently been given sentences that were "fermes," as the French say, that is, that were not suspended as soon as pronounced. Vincent Reynouard is a Frenchman born in 1969 and trained as a chemical engineer who has argued that the Nazis had no plan to exterminate the Jews and that gas chambers were not used to kill people. Among the many videos he has placed on the Internet, there is one in which he expresses his admiration for Hitler; he says, "I think that Hitler was a man too good for the 20th Century, too honest, too straightforward." A month after being arrested in Belgium, Reynouard was extradited to France in August 2010 and served seven and a half months in prison for contesting a crime against humanity. He has continued to produce writings and Internet videos, and in February 2015 he was convicted of contestation of crimes against humanity and sentenced to two years in prison. In November 2016 he was given a five-months sentence for publishing two videos in which he stated that he would offer 5,000 euros to "anyone who can show me, in free, candid and courteous debate, that the homicidal Hitlerian gas chambers are not a myth of history." To avoid a return to prison, he is said to be living in England.

Hervé Ryssen, according to Wikipedia, has been sentenced several times for his writings about Jews on counts, among others, of racial insult, racial defamation, defamation against a group of persons because of their belonging to a certain race, and incitation to racial hatred; and Boris Le Lay, who is living in Japan, has been sentenced in absentia many times, most recently in July this year to serve 32 months in prison and to pay 31,500 euros to the groups representing the supposed victims, for his writings judged to constitute incitement to discrimination and to racial hatred and violence, and to contain public racial insults. Among the recent charges against Le Lay was one of making death threats against activists of the Human Rights League; I have not been able to determine if he was convicted of this; if he was, he appears in that instance to be an exception to the other cases discussed in this article, which involve no violence or threat thereof.

Politicians on Trial

Although many speech cases involve politicians, two in particular deserve mention because they arguably played a role in the presidential election of 2007.

The first round of the previous election, in 2002, had stunned the country as Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, edged out Lionel Jospin, the Socialist candidate, for a place in the second round. Le Pen's share of the first-round vote was only 16.9 percent, but Jospin was handicapped by an abundance of rivals on the left who split the vote. Before the second round, a broad denunciatory publicity campaign to block Le Pen took place, and his opponent, Jacques Chirac, the incumbent, refused to debate him. Chirac was re-elected with 82 percent of the vote.

Before the next election, in 2007, both Le Pen and the party's second-ranking member, Bruno Gollnisch, would be defendants in high-profile cases over things they said.

On January 7, 2005, the rightist weekly Rivarol published an interview in which Le Pen said: "In France, at least, the German occupation wasn't particularly inhumane, even if there were slip-ups, inevitable in a country of 550,000 square kilometers." He also related a story about a German lieutenant, "crazy with pain" after an attack on a train in which many young soldiers died, who he said would have shot up a village had the Gestapo not intervened. Various groups filed complaints, and in March an investigation was formally opened. In February 2008 he was found guilty of complicity in the contestation of crimes against humanity and complicity in apology for war crimes. In January 2009 the appeals court in Paris confirmed the verdict on the first count but threw out the war-crimes verdict. In April 2011 the Court of Cassation overturned the crimes-against-humanity verdict, and remanded the matter to the appeals court, which again found him guilty in February 2012, a judgment confirmed by the Court of Cassation in June 2013. Le Pen was sentenced to three months in prison (suspended) and assessed a fine of 10,000 euros, and the editor of Rivarol and the interviewer were fined 5,000 euros and 2,000 euros respectively. Three of the complainant groups were awarded damages of 5,000 euros each, and Rivarol was ordered to pay for the publication of the decision in Le Figaro.

In the other case, Gollnisch, a professor of Japanese language and culture at the University of Lyon who at the time was director general of the National Front (before the ascension of Marine Le Pen), was charged with contestation of crimes against humanity for responses to a journalist's questions at a press conference in October 2004. No electronic recording was made, but he was quoted as saying: "There is no serious historian who accepts completely the conclusions of the Nuremberg Tribunal; I think that the discussion should remain free concerning the drama of the concentration camps. The number of deaths, the manner in which the people died -- historians have the right to discuss. I don't deny that there were homicidal gas chambers, but the discussion should remain free." In 2006, before the verdict was rendered, he was suspended from his university post for five years.

During the trial Gollnisch was questioned intensively for hours one day in November 2006 over his true beliefs on the matter, and the attorney examining him, Alain Jakubowicz, representing the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism, said he would withdraw from the case if Gollnisch would only admit "that the organized extermination of the Jews of Europe by the Nazi regime during the Second World War constitute an incontestable crime against humanity perpetrated notably by the use of gas chambers." According to Le Monde, Gollnisch appeared surprised and hesitated before giving an answer that might alienate the "hard fringe of his movement." Gollnisch replied, "Completely." Asked to repeat his answer, he said: "My answer is affirmative." He was convicted in January 2007, three months before the first round of the presidential election, and sentenced to serve three months in prison (suspended) and pay a fine of 5,000 euros. An appeals court in February 2008 confirmed the conviction and added fines totaling 39,000 euros to be paid to nine associations devoted to fighting racism or representing people deported from France during World War Two. But in June 2009 the Court of Cassation, judging that his contradictory remarks as presented to the court did not constitute contestation, overturned the verdict without possibility of retrial.

However these cases might be viewed in relation to freedom of speech, they also merit attention from a purely political point of view. In the 2002 election, Jean-Marie Le Pen scored an upset in the first round; in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy won the presidency by, in the view of many commentators, "borrowing the discourse" and luring the voters of Le Pen's party. In between, both Le Pen and his righthand man were put on trial, to the accompaniment of much public commentary, on charges that suggested their approbation of Nazi atrocities. Under such circumstances, borrowing and luring may be much easier than would otherwise be the case.

Censored Books

In September 2013 the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism sought an injunction from a court in Bobigny to order the excision of passages from five books republished by Kontre Kulture, a publishing enterprise whose publication director is Alain Soral. David-Olivier Kaminski, an attorney for the league, described Soral as someone known as a "vector of hate" and characterized the re-editions as a "provocation, with the purpose of arousing tensions." The league also asked for 20,000 euros in damages for each of the five books.

In November the court ordered the withdrawal from sale of one of the books, "L'Anthologie des propos contre les juifs, le judaïsme et le sionisme" by Paul-Eric Blanrue, which had originally been published by another publisher in 2007, and the removal of certain passages from the four others, all of which were reprints of books published long ago: "La France juive" by Edouard Drumont, "Le salut par les juifs" by Léon Bloy, "Le juif international" by Henry Ford, et "La controverse de Sion" by Douglas Reed. The court judged that the works constituted "insult toward a group of persons because of their belonging to a specific religion," "negation of crimes against humanity," and "provocation of racial hatred." Kontre Kulture and Soral were also ordered to pay 8,000 euros each to the league as well as a part of its legal expenses. In December 2014 a court overturned the previous ruling on the "Anthologie" and it was again allowed to be sold.

The media reaction focused principally on the book by Léon Bloy. Bloy's great-grandchild, Alexis Galpérine, reminded readers in Le Figaro that Bloy was a "philosemite" and that "Le salut par les juifs" had been recommended as a "book against antisemitism" by Franz Kafka. Pierre Glaudes, a professor at the Sorbonne, wrote in the weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur: "This decision of justice arouses astonishment and disquiet by attacking a literary work that is 122 years old and has been republished several times without having attracted lightning strikes by justice. This condemnation sets a dangerous precedent. Why not censor 'The Merchant of Venice' by Shakespeare, 'Gobseck' by Balzac or 'Money' by Zola for their antisemitic statements?"

Stage Show Blocked

The case of the comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala merits notice particularly for the legal manner in which the performance of his show "The Wall" in Nantes was forbidden in January 2014.

Dieudonné, the son of a Cameroonian man and a French woman, performed for several years early in his career with a Jewish partner, and their sketches often made fun of racism. Eventually he came to hold Jews responsible in large part for the slave trade, he expressed resentment at the attention given to the Holocaust in comparison with that given to the slavery, and he came to regard Jews not as fellow victims of prejudice but instead as important members of a power structure in which people of the Third World and of Third World origin are kept down. His new acts were sharply criticized, and he responded with provocations such as including Robert Faurisson, notorious as a denier of the Holocaust and gas chambers, in his acts. Dieudonné was found guilty of racial insult or defamation on numerous occasions, for example, for saying that a television host financed the Israeli Army, "which doesn't hesitate to kill Palestinian children"; for characterizing Holocaust remembrance as "memorial pornography"; for stating that the directors of a pro-Israeli website were trying to paint him as an antisemite and "son of Hitler"; for describing the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism as one of the "mafia-like associations that organize censorship, that deny all concepts of racism except that concerning the Jews. In fact, they are nothing but Israeli agents."

Largely excluded from television and other standard venues, he has nonetheless maintained an enthusiastic and politically and racially mixed following through his stage shows and videos. In January 2014 his stage show "The Wall" was challenged by the government as a threat to public order and to the dignity of the human person. Its performance in Nantes was banned by the prefecture of the Loire-Atlantic region, which judged that it contained antisemitic remarks that would incite racial hatred and constitute an apology for discriminations, persecutions and exterminations perpetrated in the course of the Second World War. The ban was lifted on the day of the show by the region's administrative tribunal, which held that the show "could not be regarded as having as its essential purpose an affront at human dignity," but the tribunal's ruling was overturned and the ban reinstated later the same day by a judge of the Council of State, the highest court in the administrative-law system, after an urgent request by Interior Minister Manuel Valls.

Conclusion

French people in general seem content with the way free speech questions are handled. If in private they will occasionally murmur that "one can't say anything anymore," in public there is very little disagreement over the necessity of punishing infractions involving remarks characterized as racist or antisemitic or "negationist." Prominent cases, such as the many brought against Jean-Marie Le Pen, are approved, explicitly or implicitly, by the vast majority of commentators in the press and on the radio and television. Even publications that push the limits of public tolerance in other ways -- for example, with crude or even violently obscene and sacrilegious writings and cartoons -- do not defend the targets of anti-racism or anti-contestation laws on general free-speech grounds; quite the contrary.

There is no high-profile organization or figure that publicly espouses the famous words that Voltaire apparently never really said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Over all the attitude is closer to that attributed to the revolutionary Saint-Just, "No liberty for the enemies of liberty." The slogan of the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism, one of the organizations most active in denouncing speech offenders, is "Racism is not an opinion but a criminal offense." Even a group such as Reporters Without Borders, which works to further the freedom of the press throughout the world, generally makes no objection to the laws discussed above, although it did oppose the one criminalizing the denial of legally recognized genocides. In an interview, Antoine Héry, in charge of the group's activities in the European Union and the Balkans, explained to me: "I think that the problem in France is that there really are racist statements -- many. This climate exists; it isn't a phantasm. There is, from this point of view, a necessity to regulate a little the domain of speech, because there are abuses. I don't think that in the United States one finds this sort of mass behavior -- because it is massive, it isn't just one guy in his corner doing his thing."

There have been dissident voices on the subject of the criminalization of so-called negationism and other "memorial laws." One of the most prominent is a group called Liberté pour l'Histoire, which was formed in 2005 in response to what seemed about to become a wave of such laws. In a public appeal signed by nineteen historians in December of that year and later by hundreds more, it stated that "in a free state, it is not the business of the parliament nor of the judicial authority to define historical truth" and called for "the abrogation of these legislative measures unworthy of a democratic regime." But even this unambiguous stand is not so solid as it might appear. In 2010, at the International Congress of Historical Sciences in Amsterdam, the group's president, Pierre Nora, spoke of the Gayssot Law and stated: "It is now twenty years since the law was voted, and even if we continue to regret it intellectually speaking, the association Liberté pour l'Histoire does not campaign for its suppression and does not wish to challenge it for the simple reason that this legal and official challenge would only be seen in the public eye as authorizing and even encouraging the denial of the Jewish genocide." There could hardly be a better illustration of the French ambivalence on the matter than this.

This ambivalence derives from an evident fact: the characteristics of the system that make it vicious from a free-speech perspective -- the vagueness and elasticity of the definitions of the crimes, the politically selective application of the laws, the tendency of the trials to become examinations of the defendants' thoughts and beliefs rather than merely of their public statements -- are virtues for a system of political repression, and in France there is a general consensus that the "extreme right" needs to be kept down and that expressions of "racism" and "antisemitism" deserve to be squelched. While there are pockets of dissidence -- such as the websites Polémia and Boulevard Voltaire, the independent rightist station Radio Courtoisie and the Internet television channel TV Libertés -- the assumption remains widespread that anyone arguing that freedom should extend to such speech must have evil motives.

The legal procedures through which speech is restricted do sometimes come under criticism. For instance, the ban on Dieudonné's show "The Wall" was widely criticized because it imposed a prior restraint, seen as equivalent to censorship in a way that punishing the performer afterward would not be. Jack Lang, who was minister of culture in the Mitterrand administration, said that the Council of State had opened a Pandora's box of potential abuses; he objected as well to basing the decision on a vague principle of "human dignity" and pointed out that the risk to public order was not credible. Michel Tubiana, a former president of the Human Rights League, which also objected to the ban, told me in an interview that Dieudonné should have been allowed to do his show and then he could have been prosecuted in the normal way. On the league's website, one reads: "Clearly it is necessary to let nothing pass, to systematically bring prosecutions against the delinquent, to denounce systematically his crimes."

For the future, there is pressure to increase the surveillance, particularly of the Internet. At its annual dinners, which are grand affairs similar to those of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in the United States, the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France presses the attending government officials hard for ever more stringent restrictions, especially on Internet communications. In March 2016, for example, its president, Roger Cukierman, urged that the state of emergency "should also apply to the Internet," and this year its new president, Francis Kalifat, called for "zero tolerance" for bloggers "of hateful content."

In the meantime, France, like the other countries of the European Union, is a party to the Council Framework Decision "on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law," adopted unanimously by the ministers in the Council of the European Union in November 2008. In a report in January 2014 on the implementation of this decision, the European Commission stated: "Member States must ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable when directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin:

publicly inciting to violence or hatred, including by public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material; publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court; or the crimes defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal appended to the London Agreement of 8 August 1945, when the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite violence or hatred against such a group or one or more of its members."

And France does its part, by continuing to reinforce its laws. On August 5 of this year it made illegal any "nonpublic" insult or defamation (as, for example, made during a meeting in a company's offices) "made toward a person or group of persons because of their origin or belonging or not belonging, real or supposed, to an ethnic group, a nation, a putative race or a particular religion; [or] because of their sex, their sexual orientation or gender identity, or their handicap."

The law provides for fines of 1,500 euros initially and 3,000 euros for recidivists. It also gives a judge the option of augmenting the punishment with a compulsory course in citizenship.

Lawrence G. Proulx is a retired copy editor who worked for more than 30 years at the Washington Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune and International New York Times.

Diversity Heretic > , October 4, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT

"[Neo]Liberalism" is a religion. It defines orthodoxy and heresy and punishes the latter. It asserts the right to punish those who traduce its icons and who violate its taboos.

AKAHorace > , October 4, 2017 at 4:56 am GMT

Would it solve or worsen problems if they reintroduced dueling ?

Achmed E. Newman > , Website October 4, 2017 at 7:54 am GMT

From all this long history of curtailment and punishment of free speech of various sorts, it seems like the French never really had their hearts in it, whether they had their constitution of the 5th Republic with its weasel-out words "but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law." or even if they had had the same supposed "law of the land" as the US Constitution with its Amendment I.

Our Constitution was upheld pretty well for about 3/4 of the total time since it was written, but it takes the kind of people who care about basic principles. That would pretty much mean mostly descendants of the Founders with only such influx of newcomers that could be assimilated into the culture that values basic principles over political expediency. It goes without saying that women shouldn't have been allowed to vote here, but I said it just in case. In France, I think there weren't so many people that ever got the real idea of free speech and the quote that Voltaire didn't say.

Worse yet for France is the codifying of certain areas of knowledge, normally subject to debate, as "Government-Approved Non-arguable Truth" , which is what the legal maneuvers you write about amount to. Of course, the elites, along with the cucks of the land arrange these Truths to be based on any opposition to foreign immigrant invasion, defending of one's race, but opposition to the Government will always be number 1, as that locks it all in. It's a nice Catch-22 there – "YOUR government's speech policy clearly specifies what you can and can't talk about. The speech policy happens to be one of the things you can't talk about."

The Ministry of Truth is probably not even necessary anymore, as it seems like the unprincipled French have let the bulk of it be put in place already – maybe the Ministry of Truth is all part of "The Cloud". Instead of the answer to, or way out of, this 1984 society lying "with the proles", I'd say it's more up to the hackers now.

conatus > , October 4, 2017 at 9:30 am GMT

Definitional hypertrophy
"This ambivalence derives from an evident fact: the characteristics of the system that make it vicious from a free-speech perspective -- the vagueness and elasticity of the definitions of the crimes"
In an earlier piece Mr. Proulx wrote about 'defintional hypertrophy' which seems to characterize our Zeitgeist. A great great phrase which sums up the elasticized properties of the big three sins of our times, racism, sexism and homophobia.
Racism used to mean Birmingham Regulations regarding public facilities and separate but equal schools, now due to definitional hypertrophy it means 'noticing any racial characteristics' especially if you are white. Sexism used to mean, say banning women from non nurturing occupations and now it means saying "You look good!" to a woman in a absent minded fit of masculinity. Homophobia used to mean 'Hey keep it in the closet pal i don't want to think about what you do" and now homophobia means you must clap loudly and quickly at all homosexual activities or Homo Tinkerbell will die.
Over time these definitions have expanded as the Majority's freedoms have contracted.

Jason Liu > , October 4, 2017 at 10:37 am GMT

Free speech is an illusion, it seems. Most people want to shut their enemies up, and often succeed in doing so. Some countries are just more upfront about it.

Wizard of Oz > , October 4, 2017 at 11:52 am GMT

Is there not class distinction which helps fo understand what these laws are about. Any intelligènt edicated person ought to be verbally adroit enough to convey his meaning in an indirect way so as to avoid the thrust of the law. Thus, e.g.

I think we should discuss how we can combat the very commonly stated view that X and the alarming number of people who can see nothing wrong with it. It is not a matter so much as truth or falsehood but we need to ensure that children are indoctrinated from an early age so they will never even ask the disturbing queston "is this true?". By the time they have grown up to participate in the political life of the nation the whole question will have been swallowed by a memory hole and become a non issue. Much safer for the tranquillity of society than continued cantankerous debates erupting over the truth or falsity of something permanently consigned to be false.

IndieRafael > , October 4, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT

Long but worth it. As author Proulx says, you can skip over sections in the middle and jump to his conclusion. This is one of the most thoroughly researched, best organized and most clearly written articles I've ever read on Unz.com. The internet needs more copy editors writing like this.

The article is really helpful in understanding the current situation in France.

The European context is mentioned at the end. It would be interesting to read a comparison of France and other European countries.

anonymous > , Disclaimer October 4, 2017 at 5:47 pm GMT

News censorship rises where news integrity falls. Eastern regimes know well harmful effects of censors and informants.

Mulegino1 > , October 4, 2017 at 6:15 pm GMT

In the land of "Liberte, Fraternite, et Egalite" there is from all appearances very little "liberte" and that little international clique of "freres" enjoys a lot more "egalite" than the rest.

Europeancivilwar.com > , Website October 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm GMT

I think the situation in Spain has shown just how little the EU pretenses of 'democracy' mean. Indeed, we all know the famous quote about what 'democracy' really means.

Regrettably though I think things will need to get much worse before they get better. I think the 'normal' people will need Muslims to make up at least 50% of the overall population before they realize just what a horrific future they are heading to..

[Oct 04, 2017] Islamic threat as substitute for the Soviet threat that disappeared

Islamic terrorism is to a large extent reaction against Western Imperialism.
The article actually also outline how new "Russia threat" is built.
Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

renfro > , October 4, 2017 at 4:33 am GMT

One of the first things I came across when trying to pinpoint when the Islamic threat was first being 'ginned up' in the US was this essay written in 1992. It is so accurate it could have been written yesterday. I think anyone could guess at which foreign country had the individuals and journalist and congressional clout in the US to create the idea of a 'Green Peril'.

https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/green-peril-creating-islamic-fundamentalist-threat

The "Green Peril": Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat
By Leon T. Hadar
August 27, 1992

excerpts..

The Making of a "Peril"

The Islamic threat argument is becoming increasingly popular with some segments of the American foreign policy establishment. They are encouraged by foreign governments who, for reasons of self-interest, want to see Washington embroiled in the coming West vs. Islam confrontation. The result is the construction of the new peril, a process that does not reflect any grand conspiracy but that nevertheless has its own logic, rules and timetables.

Indeed, like the Red Menace of the Cold War era, the Green Peril is perceived as a cancer spreading around the globe, undermining the legitimacy of Western values and political systems. The cosmic importance of the confrontation would make it necessary for Washington to adopt a long term diplomatic and military strategy; to forge new and solid alliances; to prepare the American people for a never ending struggle that will test their resolve; and to develop new containment policies, new doctrines, and a new foreign policy elite with its "wise men" and "experts."

The creation of a peril usually starts with mysterious "sources" and unnamed officials who leak information, float trial balloons, and warn about the coming threat. Those sources reflect debates and discussions taking place within government. Their information is then augmented by colorful intelligence reports that finger exotic and conspiratorial terrorists and military advisers. Journalists then search for the named and other villains. The media end up finding corroboration from foreign sources who form an informal coalition with the sources in the U.S. government and help the press uncover further information substantiating the threat coming from the new bad guys.

In addition, think tanks studies and op-ed pieces add momentum to the official spin. Their publication is followed by congressional hearings, policy conferences, and public press briefings. A governmental policy debate ensues, producing studies, working papers, and eventually doctrines and policies that become part of the media's spin. The new villain is now ready to be integrated into the popular culture to help to mobilize public support for a new crusade. In the case of the Green Peril, that process has been under way for several months.

The Israeli government and its supporters in Washington are trying to play the Islamic card. The specter of Central Asian republics and Iran equipped with nuclear weapons helps Israel to reduce any potential international pressure on it to place its own nuclear capabilities and strategy on the negotiating table. More important, perhaps, the Green Peril could revive, in the long run, Israel's role as America's strategic asset, which was eroded as a result of the end of the Cold War
The operational message is that the United States "must refocus its policy on the basic problems facing the Islamic world rather than only the Arab-Israeli conflict."[23] Jerusalem's attempts to turn that conflict into a Jewish-Moslem confrontation and to place America on its side to help contain radical Moslem forces in the region may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The result is likely to be strengthened anti-American feelings in the Middle East and anti-American terrorist acts, which, in turn, will invite a new round of American military intervention."

[Oct 04, 2017] Creating taboos is the slicing salami tactic

How marginalization of opposition works: Once the extreme positions on an issue (left of right) are rendered taboo and excluded, the next position in (which the lobbyists could not easily succeed in banning as "extreme" initially) becomes the new "extreme". As a bonus its advocates can be accused of being closet supporters of the banned position and as such ostracized.
Oct 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

Randal > ,

October 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm GMT

@Clay Bishop

I've been banned from the Antiwar comment section more than once for explicitly mentioning Jewish influence on foreign policy without masking it with terms like "Zionists," "Neocons," "Likudniks," or the "War Party."

As much as the older crowd on our political spectrum hate to admit it, Daily Stormer and Pol have actually opened up a space for a rational discussion of Jewish influence on politics. When you have anonymous accounts literally calling for all Jews to be gassed, a couple pundits talking soberly about Jewish influence seem fairly moderate by comparison.

And the readers of DS and Pol are definitely the younger generation who will make up the majority of the Right in the future. I envision a day in the near future when the mention of Israel elicits boos at the Republican National Convention.

As much as the older crowd on our political spectrum hate to admit it, Daily Stormer and Pol have actually opened up a space for a rational discussion of Jewish influence on politics. When you have anonymous accounts literally calling for all Jews to be gassed, a couple pundits talking soberly about Jewish influence seem fairly moderate by comparison.

This is of course exactly how banning opinions distorts debate and why identity lobbyists love to impose such taboos on discourse.

Once the extreme positions on an issue are rendered taboo and excluded, the next position in (which the lobbyists could not easily succeed in banning as "extreme" initially) becomes the apparent "extreme" and as a bonus its advocates can be accused of being closet supporters of the banned extreme. They then have to spend all their time and energy defending themselves against being harassed and trying to word their arguments carefully so they can't be accused of falling foul of the taboo (or as with some of the accusations against Giraldi's piece here – of not trying hard enough to avoid the supposed appearance of falling foul of it).

That's how proposals to limit mass immigration are labelled "race hatred" and banned in many forums, and how reasonable raising of an important issue such as in Giraldi's piece gets one smeared as an "antisemite" (or potentially prosecuted in the UK) and excluded from mainstream publications.

Rurik > , October 4, 2017 at 5:47 pm GMT

@Randal


As much as the older crowd on our political spectrum hate to admit it, Daily Stormer and Pol have actually opened up a space for a rational discussion of Jewish influence on politics. When you have anonymous accounts literally calling for all Jews to be gassed, a couple pundits talking soberly about Jewish influence seem fairly moderate by comparison.
This is of course exactly how banning opinions distorts debate and why identity lobbyists love to impose such taboos on discourse.

Once the extreme positions on an issue are rendered taboo and excluded, the next position in (which the lobbyists could not easily succeed in banning as "extreme" initially) becomes the apparent "extreme" and as a bonus its advocates can be accused of being closet supporters of the banned extreme. They then have to spend all their time and energy defending themselves against being harassed and trying to word their arguments carefully so they can't be accused of falling foul of the taboo (or as with some of the accusations against Giraldi's piece here - of not trying hard enough to avoid the supposed appearance of falling foul of it).

That's how proposals to limit mass immigration are labelled "race hatred" and banned in many forums, and how reasonable raising of an important issue such as in Giraldi's piece gets one smeared as an "antisemite" (or potentially prosecuted in the UK) and excluded from mainstream publications.

Once the extreme positions on an issue are rendered taboo and excluded, the next position in (which the lobbyists could not easily succeed in banning as "extreme" initially) becomes the apparent "extreme" and as a bonus its advocates can be accused of being closet supporters of the banned extreme.

I'm glad your insightful comment was recognized as such

Reminds me of how Marine Le Pen's father was marginalized as an 'anti-Semite' (for simply telling the obvious truth), and once he was effectively maligned, (they) set their sights on the moderate daughter, as being "far right", which simply means not as far left as (they) are.

today they call the AfD "far right", in order to marginalize their extremely reasonable and moderate positions – as advocating an invasion of Poland

and of course, were Mr. G to sob his contrition and re-write the article, (not likely ; ), they'd simply set their sights on the next target, having moved the goal posts and tilted the playing field always more and more in their favor.

[Oct 01, 2017] Neoliberalism Is a Political Project

Notable quotes:
"... I've always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor. ..."
"... In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project. It would nip in the bud what, at that time, were revolutionary movements in much of the developing world ..."
"... So in that situation there was, in effect, a global threat to the power of the corporate capitalist class and therefore the question was, What to do?. The ruling class wasn't omniscient but they recognized that there were a number of fronts on which they had to struggle: the ideological front, the political front, and above all they had to struggle to curb the power of labor by whatever means possible. Out of this there emerged a political project which I would call neoliberalism. ..."
"... The ideological front amounted to following the advice of a guy named Lewis Powell . He wrote a memo saying that things had gone too far, that capital needed a collective project. The memo helped mobilize the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. ..."
"... Ideas were also important to the ideological front. The judgment at that time was that universities were impossible to organize because the student movement was too strong and the faculty too liberal-minded, so they set up all of these think tanks like the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Ohlin Foundation. These think tanks brought in the ideas of Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and supply-side economics. ..."
"... This process took a long time. I think now we've reached a point where you don't need something like the Heritage Foundation anymore. Universities have pretty much been taken over by the neoliberal projects surrounding them. ..."
"... With respect to labor, the challenge was to make domestic labor competitive with global labor. One way was to open up immigration. In the 1960s, for example, Germans were importing Turkish labor, the French Maghrebian labor, the British colonial labor. But this created a great deal of dissatisfaction and unrest. ..."
"... Instead they chose the other way -- to take capital to where the low-wage labor forces were. But for globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor. ..."
"... At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change , deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor. ..."
"... It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project ..."
"... I think they just intuitively said, We gotta crush labor, how do we do it? And they found that there was a legitimizing theory out there, which would support that. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

I've always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor.

In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project. It would nip in the bud what, at that time, were revolutionary movements in much of the developing world -- Mozambique, Angola, China etc. -- but also a rising tide of communist influences in countries like Italy and France and, to a lesser degree, the threat of a revival of that in Spain.

Even in the United States, trade unions had produced a Democratic Congress that was quite radical in its intent. In the early 1970s they, along with other social movements, forced a slew of reforms and reformist initiatives which were anti-corporate: the Environmental Protection Agency , the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, consumer protections, and a whole set of things around empowering labor even more than it had been empowered before.

So in that situation there was, in effect, a global threat to the power of the corporate capitalist class and therefore the question was, What to do?. The ruling class wasn't omniscient but they recognized that there were a number of fronts on which they had to struggle: the ideological front, the political front, and above all they had to struggle to curb the power of labor by whatever means possible. Out of this there emerged a political project which I would call neoliberalism.

BSR Can you talk a bit about the ideological and political fronts and the attacks on labor? DH The ideological front amounted to following the advice of a guy named Lewis Powell . He wrote a memo saying that things had gone too far, that capital needed a collective project. The memo helped mobilize the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

Ideas were also important to the ideological front. The judgment at that time was that universities were impossible to organize because the student movement was too strong and the faculty too liberal-minded, so they set up all of these think tanks like the Manhattan Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Ohlin Foundation. These think tanks brought in the ideas of Freidrich Hayek and Milton Friedman and supply-side economics.

The idea was to have these think tanks do serious research and some of them did -- for instance, the National Bureau of Economic Research was a privately funded institution that did extremely good and thorough research. This research would then be published independently and it would influence the press and bit by bit it would surround and infiltrate the universities.

This process took a long time. I think now we've reached a point where you don't need something like the Heritage Foundation anymore. Universities have pretty much been taken over by the neoliberal projects surrounding them.

With respect to labor, the challenge was to make domestic labor competitive with global labor. One way was to open up immigration. In the 1960s, for example, Germans were importing Turkish labor, the French Maghrebian labor, the British colonial labor. But this created a great deal of dissatisfaction and unrest.

Instead they chose the other way -- to take capital to where the low-wage labor forces were. But for globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor.

At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change , deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor.

It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project, and I think the bourgeoisie or the corporate capitalist class put it into motion bit by bit.

I don't think they started out by reading Hayek or anything, I think they just intuitively said, We gotta crush labor, how do we do it? And they found that there was a legitimizing theory out there, which would support that.

[Sep 23, 2017] In simple terms, MSM owners decide that a particular topic is a taboo subject and filter everything related to it out

Sep 23, 2017 | www.unz.com
Miro23 > > , September 5, 2016 at 10:15 pm GMT

@Mr. Anon

"Only a child – or its intellectual equivalent, i.e., a low information infotainment consumer – could believe in the official version of 9/11."

That is clearly false, as plenty of people who are smart - smarter than you actually - do in fact believe just that.

Or maybe a lot of smart people pretend to believe the official 9/11 story because that's where their interest lies. MSM journalists know for sure that articles that deviate from the official line on 9/11 are career ending moves .

In simple terms, MSM owners have decided that 9/11 is a taboo subject (same as USS Liberty) and they decide what gets published.

[Sep 23, 2017] MSM journalists know for sure that articles that deviate from the official line are career ending moves .

Notable quotes:
"... In late July 2010, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis was told his column would be dropped, and just a few weeks later he published a double-length piece expressing strong doubts about 9/11, the first time he'd articulated that position: ..."
"... In 2007, the parent company of The Chicago Tribune announced it had accepted a leveraged-buyout takeover bid by investor Sam Zell, who planned a massive wave cost-cutting layoffs, which eventually wrecked the company. In late 2007, the Chicago Tribune suddenly ran a very long piece regarding the Liberty Attack, about the only time I've ever seen it discussed in the MSM. ..."
www.unz.com

Ron Unz > , September 6, 2016 at 8:33 pm GMT

@Miro23

Or maybe a lot of smart people pretend to believe the official 9/11 story because that's where their interest lies. MSM journalists know for sure that articles that deviate from the official line on 9/11 are career ending moves .

In simple terms, MSM owners have decided that 9/11 is a taboo subject (same as USS Liberty) and they decide what gets published.

Well, I haven't read through all of this enormously long discussion-thread, but I happened to notice this particular comment. Not having been an MSM journalist myself, I can't say whether or not it's true, but a couple of interesting, possibly coincidental, examples come to mind

In late July 2010, longtime Canadian journalist Eric Margolis was told his column would be dropped, and just a few weeks later he published a double-length piece expressing strong doubts about 9/11, the first time he'd articulated that position:

http://www.unz.com/article/911-the-mother-of-all-coincidences/

In 2007, the parent company of The Chicago Tribune announced it had accepted a leveraged-buyout takeover bid by investor Sam Zell, who planned a massive wave cost-cutting layoffs, which eventually wrecked the company. In late 2007, the Chicago Tribune suddenly ran a very long piece regarding the Liberty Attack, about the only time I've ever seen it discussed in the MSM.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-liberty_tuesoct02-story.html

[Sep 23, 2017] Marginalization of other opinions is important, so that those few who become aware of a conspiracy do not have enough social capital to muster any significant action against it

Notable quotes:
"... The history of the 20th and 21st centuries is largely what it is because of political conspiracies, wherein the state does one thing or another using covert methods and then sells the opposite story to the gullible public. It is basically a form of military deception by other means. ..."
"... There is no doubt that the public (the real enemy of the state) sure are gullible. ..."
"... a conspiracy, as Mr Unz indicates, is just a perjorative term used by the state to divert attention from what are otherwise normal covert operations. The real issue is that these events have had massive, gigantic global consequences but operate completely below the radar of the intellectual classes. ..."
"... This is an old clip showing admittance of the CIA that they use the mainstream media to manipulate the thoughts and ideas of American citizens in the USA. This has not changed obviously and is good to know happened in the past due to our reality today. http://youtu.be/5ED63A_hcd0 ..."
"... 9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony in full: https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee ..."
"... Secrecy is important to the extent that people would be in a position to thwart the conspiracy should they come to know about it. To minimize the need for secrecy, the conspirators might try to foster a general, childlike ignorance about public affairs, so that the public would not recognize a conspiracy even if it were being discussed openly. ..."
"... In this regard, the capture of major media (pace Mr. Unz) would be key to achieving this aim. Marginalization is another strategy, so that those few who become aware of a conspiracy do not have enough social capital to muster any significant action against it. ..."
"... "The creation of a peril usually starts with mysterious "sources" and unnamed officials who leak information, float trial balloons, and warn about the coming threat. Those sources reflect debates and discussions taking place within government. Their information is then augmented by colorful intelligence reports that finger exotic and conspiratorial terrorists and military advisers. Journalists then search for the named and other villains. The media end up finding corroboration from foreign sources who form an informal coalition with the sources in the U.S. government and help the press uncover further information substantiating the threat coming from the new bad guys. ..."
"... following the collapse of Soviets, they have been looking for an enemy that they were finding raising its heads in Algeria, Iran, Sudan, and even in Malayasia back in 1992. ..."
"... Conspiracy theory -- is absolutely commonplace but rendered a bogus term . It is common and practiced by the government all the time. It is used by people who have agenda and find resistance to agenda . The moment they use false narrative, weird scenario, create unknown fear and offer solution abusing the authorities, abusing the institutional but previous records and inserting propaganda preaching journalist ( CIA had more than 400 in 1975 per Bernstein) , they are engaging in conspiracy. ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

Kirt > , September 5, 2016 at 4:26 am GMT

Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan. Secrecy may be needed for the success of a conspiracy, but it is not essential to the definition. Were it essential to the definition, you could never prove the existence of a conspiracy. Either secrecy would be maintained and there would be little or no evidence or secrecy would not be maintained and the plan would become known and by definition not be a conspiracy.

Langley > , September 23, 2017 at 2:16 am GMT

The phrase "conspiracy theory" seems to have existed before 1960.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=conspiracy+theories&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cconspiracy%20theories%3B%2Cc0

However, the CIA may have stumbled across it and used it to their advantage.

Anon > , Disclaimer September 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm GMT

The history of the 20th and 21st centuries is largely what it is because of political conspiracies, wherein the state does one thing or another using covert methods and then sells the opposite story to the gullible public. It is basically a form of military deception by other means.

There is no doubt that the public (the real enemy of the state) sure are gullible. I think Mr Unz is trying to work out in his own mind why it is that the sell job always works and is so successful.

Consider the following false flag events:

These events are all clearly 'conspiracies', but a conspiracy, as Mr Unz indicates, is just a perjorative term used by the state to divert attention from what are otherwise normal covert operations. The real issue is that these events have had massive, gigantic global consequences but operate completely below the radar of the intellectual classes.

Agent76 > , December 26, 2016 at 3:46 pm GMT

(1975) CIA Admits Using News To Manipulate the USA

This is an old clip showing admittance of the CIA that they use the mainstream media to manipulate the thoughts and ideas of American citizens in the USA. This has not changed obviously and is good to know happened in the past due to our reality today. http://youtu.be/5ED63A_hcd0

9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony in full: https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

Greg > , December 25, 2016 at 6:34 pm GMT

@Kirt

... ... ...

Secrecy is important to the extent that people would be in a position to thwart the conspiracy should they come to know about it. To minimize the need for secrecy, the conspirators might try to foster a general, childlike ignorance about public affairs, so that the public would not recognize a conspiracy even if it were being discussed openly.

In this regard, the capture of major media (pace Mr. Unz) would be key to achieving this aim. Marginalization is another strategy, so that those few who become aware of a conspiracy do not have enough social capital to muster any significant action against it. Believing that a conspiracy needs secrecy is the perhaps optimistic belief that neither dumbing down the general public nor marginalizing the watchdogs is sufficient: there's still a significant chance that public exposure could derail the conspirators.

KA > , September 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm GMT

@Boris

after my asking you what the strongest evidence available for the official story
As I've already shown, you asked me "what records?" The ticket is among the records that support the official story. It is sad that you keep lying about this. We both agree--and have from the beginning--that the ticket is necessary, but not sufficient. You keep pretending otherwise for some reason. Your behavior is downright weird.

"The creation of a peril usually starts with mysterious "sources" and unnamed officials who leak information, float trial balloons, and warn about the coming threat. Those sources reflect debates and discussions taking place within government. Their information is then augmented by colorful intelligence reports that finger exotic and conspiratorial terrorists and military advisers. Journalists then search for the named and other villains. The media end up finding corroboration from foreign sources who form an informal coalition with the sources in the U.S. government and help the press uncover further information substantiating the threat coming from the new bad guys.

A series of leaks, signals, and trial balloons is already beginning to shape U.S. agenda and policy. Congress is about to conduct several hearings on the global threat of Islamic fundamentalism.(14)

The Bush administration has been trying to devise policies and establish new alliances to counter Iranian influence: building up Islamic but secular and pro-Western Turkey as a countervailing force in Central Asia, expanding U.S. commitments to Saudi Arabia, warning Sudan that it faces grave consequences as a result of its policies, and even shoring up a socialist military dictatorship in Algeria.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-177

Printing a ticket and getting a Passport ,if all that you have, then you are in the right league . Join those in NYT, WaPo, Hoover Institue and speak to George Will, Jim Hoagland, because following the collapse of Soviets, they have been looking for an enemy that they were finding raising its heads in Algeria, Iran, Sudan, and even in Malayasia back in 1992.

Conspiracy theory -- is absolutely commonplace but rendered a bogus term . It is common and practiced by the government all the time. It is used by people who have agenda and find resistance to agenda . The moment they use false narrative, weird scenario, create unknown fear and offer solution abusing the authorities, abusing the institutional but previous records and inserting propaganda preaching journalist ( CIA had more than 400 in 1975 per Bernstein) , they are engaging in conspiracy. It follows a script. So it has a theory to follow . It is a conspiracy theory.

KA > , September 12, 2016 at 2:50 am GMT

The biggest hoax ever perpetrated is the gradual evolution of the alleged threat from Islam . Its a multilayered multi focal interconnected open production of a vast conspiracy – achieved without any shred of evidence or even plausible reason for the existence of any such threat .

This is a quote from an article published in 1992 and quotes 90 sources .

" In addition, think tanks studies and op-ed pieces add momentum to the official spin. Their publication is followed by congressional hearings, policy conferences, and public press briefings. A governmental policy debate ensues, producing studies, working papers, and eventually doctrines and policies that become part of the media's spin. The new villain is now ready to be integrated into the popular culture to help to mobilize public support for a new crusade. In the case of the Green Peril, that process has been under way for several months.(13)

THE GREEN PERIL
Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat
Leon T Hadar ,a former bureau chief for Jerusalem Post.

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-177.html

"WaPo, NYT, WSJ, Washington Times, ABC news and Economist all gathered the Islamic experts out of the same offices that used to house the Soviet experts, painted them green removed the red markings and asked them to follow the direction . ( Well I made this up But that's exactly what happened .)

[Sep 23, 2017] A conspiracy theory is a theory based on facts but without MSM backing. Theres no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Notable quotes:
"... So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight. ..."
"... People need to remember than by definition, the ratio of what you don't know to what you do know is infinity to one. Be more open minded. "They shall find it difficult, they who have taken authority as truth rather than truth for authority". ..."
www.unz.com
LondonBob > , September 6, 2016 at 5:39 pm GMT

@Paul Jolliffe Mr. Unz,

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses - and confirms - your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades . . .

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php No coincidence that all the CIA agents involved in the JFK assassination are known to be experts in 'black ops' and news media specialists. Jim Angleton, Cord Meyer, David Atlee Phillips and E. Howard Hunt, who confessed his involvement, all made their names in black propaganda or news management.

Abraham > , September 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm GMT

@Lot Given how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory, most of them will be crazy.

Another problem with elite conspiracies is that elites usually do not have to act in secret because they already are in control. For Kennedy, a centrist cold warrior, his views already reflected those of elites, maybe even more so than Johnson.

The other problem is that actual criminal conspiracies by elites quite often are discovered, such as Watergate and Iran Contra. Given how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory, most of them will be crazy.

A statement that appears straight out of the CIA's playbook.

Another problem with elite conspiracies is that elites usually do not have to act in secret because they already are in control.

Such control does not imply they have nothing to hide, particularly when exposure of the deed would have damaging repercussions for them.

For Kennedy, a centrist cold warrior, his views already reflected those of elites, maybe even more so than Johnson.

It didn't reflect that of Israel's elites. After JFK's assassination, American foreign policy vis a vis Israel was completely reversed under Johnson, who hung the crew of the USS Liberty out to dry.

The other problem is that actual criminal conspiracies by elites quite often are discovered, such as Watergate and Iran Contra.

How is this a problem?

WorkingClass > , September 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm GMT

The CIA is the presidents private secret army. Nothing it does is legal.

Ron Unz > , September 6, 2016 at 9:53 pm GMT

For those without convenient access to a copy of the deHaven-Smith book, I've discovered there are some lengthy extracts available on the web:

https://off-guardian.org/2016/09/04/are-you-a-mind-controlled-cia-stooge/

Boris > , September 6, 2016 at 10:48 pm GMT

@biz

He is really very good.

He has a book https://www.amazon.com/Guilt-Association-Deception-Self-Deceit-America/product-reviews/098213150X/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=recent

anti_republocrat > , September 7, 2016 at 1:48 am GMT

@Chief Seattle So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Maybe it's true, maybe not, but if the roles had been reversed, the media would be telling its proponents to take off their tin foil hats. Note also that the allegations immediately become "fact" because they were reported by someone else. As Business Insider reported, "Amid mounting evidence of Russia's involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee ," without any specificity whatsoever as to what that "mounting evidence" was (most likely multiple reports in other media) never mind that the article goes on to quote James Clapper, " we are not quite ready yet to make a call on attribution." WTF! Here, read it yourself: http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-dnc-hack-black-propaganda-2016-7

Totally mindless. So not only is Russia hacking, but we know it's intention is to influence US elections!!! And now their hacking voter DBs and will likely hack our vote tabulating machines. You can't make this s ** t up.

Nathan Hale > , September 7, 2016 at 4:12 am GMT

@Jason Liu

...In the corporate world, it often seems that upper management spends a bulk of their time conspiring against one another or entering into secret talks to sell the company to a rival, unbeknownst to the employees or shareholders.

NoseytheDuke > , September 7, 2016 at 4:32 am GMT

@Alfred1860 I find it quite amusing how, in an article supporting of the existence of conspiracy theories, so many comments consist of hurling insults at people making skeptical comments about what are obviously very sacred cows.

People need to remember than by definition, the ratio of what you don't know to what you do know is infinity to one. Be more open minded. "They shall find it difficult, they who have taken authority as truth rather than truth for authority".

Gerald Massey

Ed Rankin > , Website September 7, 2016 at 8:42 pm GMT

In Dispatch 1035-960 mailed to station chiefs on April 1, 1967, the CIA laid out a series of "talking points" in its memo addressing the "conspiracy theorists" who were questioning the Warren Commission's findings on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. They include the following:

I have found numerous examples of these exact points being made in televised news segments, newspapers, magazines and even some academic articles and scholarly books.

Additionally, some of the most influential and frequently-cited authors who are the most critical of "conspiracy theorists", both academic and lay people, have very direct ties to government, foundations and other institutions of authority.

While we can't know if the CIA was primarily responsible for the creation of the pejorative, but what we do know from the Church Committee hearings, was that the Agency did have paid operatives working inside major media organizations as late as the 1970s. In fact, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has acknowledged ties to the CIA

With recent lifting of restrictions on the government's use of domestic propaganda with the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, I think reasonable people would expect this type of pejorative construction to resume if in fact, it ever ceased.

Bill Jones > , September 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm GMT

A nice little piece on one of the players in the big conspiracy: https://www.corbettreport.com/911-suspects-philip-zelikow/

Marie > , September 8, 2016 at 4:01 am GMT

Literally every article I've ever read about conservatives and/or the conservative movement within the pages of the New Yorker – and I've read going back decades, unfortunately – has judiciously referenced 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics'.

I mean, EVERY SINGLE article regarding Republicans, conservatives and/or opposition to leftism has the Hofstadter quote somewhere – it must be a staple on the J-School syllabi.

It seems Prof. Hofstadter was something of an adherent to the Frankfurt School nonsense – Marxism-meets-dime-store-Freud being every New Yorker writer's stock in trade, of course

Hippopotamusdrome > , September 9, 2016 at 8:21 am GMT

@biz Actually, there is no symmetry in conspiracy theories as you imply.

The definition of a conspiracy theory is an explanation of events that traces them to a secret network, and when presented with contradictory evidence, simply enlarges the network of supposed conspirators rather than modifying the explanation.

... ... ...

[Sep 23, 2017] American Pravda How the CIA Invented "Conspiracy Theories" by Ron Unz

Notable quotes:
"... Even for most educated Americans, theorists such as Beard, Popper, and Strauss are probably no more than vague names mentioned in textbooks, and that was certainly true in my own case. But while the influence of Beard seems to have largely disappeared in elite circles, the same is hardly true of his rivals. Popper probably ranks as one of the founders of modern liberal thought, with an individual as politically influential as left-liberal financier George Soros claiming to be his intellectual disciple . Meanwhile, the neo-conservative thinkers who have totally dominated the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement for the last couple of decades often proudly trace their ideas back to Strauss. ..."
"... The best strategy is to foster implausible conspiracy theories to create a cloud of disinformation. This technique was used very effectively after 9/11, such that it's very hard to discuss a coverup without being labeled a truther. ..."
"... It should also be noted that Irving Kristol was sponsored by -- on the payroll of – the CIA while still in Britain. Kristol has acknowledged that CIA support got his movement off the ground. ..."
"... Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in. ..."
Sep 05, 2016 | www.unz.com

A year or two ago, I saw the much-touted science fiction film Interstellar , and although the plot wasn't any good, one early scene was quite amusing. For various reasons, the American government of the future claimed that our Moon Landings of the late 1960s had been faked, a trick aimed at winning the Cold War by bankrupting Russia into fruitless space efforts of its own. This inversion of historical reality was accepted as true by nearly everyone, and those few people who claimed that Neil Armstrong had indeed set foot on the Moon were universally ridiculed as "crazy conspiracy theorists." This seems a realistic portrayal of human nature to me.

Obviously, a large fraction of everything described by our government leaders or presented in the pages of our most respectable newspapers!from the 9/11 attacks to the most insignificant local case of petty urban corruption!could objectively be categorized as a "conspiracy theory" but such words are never applied. Instead, use of that highly loaded phrase is reserved for those theories, whether plausible or fanciful, that do not possess the endorsement stamp of establishmentarian approval.

Put another way, there are good "conspiracy theories" and bad "conspiracy theories," with the former being the ones promoted by pundits on mainstream television shows and hence never described as such. I've sometimes joked with people that if ownership and control of our television stations and other major media outlets suddenly changed, the new information regime would require only a few weeks of concerted effort to totally invert all of our most famous "conspiracy theories" in the minds of the gullible American public. The notion that nineteen Arabs armed with box-cutters hijacked several jetliners, easily evaded our NORAD air defenses, and reduced several landmark buildings to rubble would soon be universally ridiculed as the most preposterous "conspiracy theory" ever to have gone straight from the comic books into the minds of the mentally ill, easily surpassing the absurd "lone gunman" theory of the JFK assassination.

Even without such changes in media control, huge shifts in American public beliefs have frequently occurred in the recent past, merely on the basis of implied association. In the initial weeks and months following the 2001 attacks, every American media organ was enlisted to denounce and vilify Osama Bin Laden, the purported Islamicist master-mind, as our greatest national enemy, with his bearded visage endlessly appearing on television and in print, soon becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the world. But as the Bush Administration and its key media allies prepared a war against Iraq, the images of the Burning Towers were instead regularly juxtaposed with mustachioed photos of dictator Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden's arch-enemy. As a consequence, by the time we attacked Iraq in 2003, polls revealed that some 70% of the American public believed that Saddam was personally involved in the destruction of our World Trade Center. By that date I don't doubt that many millions of patriotic but low-information Americans would have angrily denounced and vilified as a "crazy conspiracy theorist" anyone with the temerity to suggest that Saddam had not been behind 9/11, despite almost no one in authority having ever explicitly made such a fallacious claim.

one of our most prominent scholars and public intellectuals had been historian Charles Beard , whose influential writings had heavily focused on the harmful role of various elite conspiracies in shaping American policy for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, with his examples ranging from the earliest history of the United States down to the nation's entry into WWI. Obviously, researchers never claimed that all major historical events had hidden causes, but it was widely accepted that some of them did, and attempting to investigate those possibilities was deemed a perfectly acceptable academic enterprise.

However, Beard was a strong opponent of American entry into the Second World War, and he was marginalized in the years that followed, even prior to his death in 1948. Many younger public intellectuals of a similar bent also suffered the same fate, or were even purged from respectability and denied any access to the mainstream media. At the same time, the totally contrary perspectives of two European political philosophers, Karl Popper and Leo Strauss , gradually gained ascendancy in American intellectual circles, and their ideas became dominant in public life.

Popper, the more widely influential, presented broad, largely theoretical objections to the very possibility of important conspiracies ever existing, suggesting that these would be implausibly difficult to implement given the fallibility of human agents; what might appear a conspiracy actually amounted to individual actors pursuing their narrow aims. Even more importantly, he regarded "conspiratorial beliefs" as an extremely dangerous social malady, a major contributing factor to the rise of Nazism and other deadly totalitarian ideologies. His own background as an individual of Jewish ancestry who had fled Austria in 1937 surely contributed to the depth of his feelings on these philosophical matters.

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

Even for most educated Americans, theorists such as Beard, Popper, and Strauss are probably no more than vague names mentioned in textbooks, and that was certainly true in my own case. But while the influence of Beard seems to have largely disappeared in elite circles, the same is hardly true of his rivals. Popper probably ranks as one of the founders of modern liberal thought, with an individual as politically influential as left-liberal financier George Soros claiming to be his intellectual disciple . Meanwhile, the neo-conservative thinkers who have totally dominated the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement for the last couple of decades often proudly trace their ideas back to Strauss.

So, through a mixture of Popperian and Straussian thinking, the traditional American tendency to regard elite conspiracies as a real but harmful aspect of our society was gradually stigmatized as either paranoid or politically dangerous, laying the conditions for its exclusion from respectable discourse.

Kirt > , September 5, 2016 at 4:26 am GMT

Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan. Secrecy may be needed for the success of a conspiracy, but it is not essential to the definition. Were it essential to the definition, you could never prove the existence of a conspiracy. Either secrecy would be maintained and there would be little or no evidence or secrecy would not be maintained and the plan would become known and by definition not be a conspiracy.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 4:55 am GMT

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."

–William Casey, CIA Director, from a first staff meeting in 1981

You can read the context of that quote according to the person who claims to be its original source here:

https://www.quora.com/Did-William-Casey-CIA-Director-really-say-Well-know-our-disinformation-program-is-complete-when-everything-the-American-public-believes-is-false

I think it's worth pointing out what I've never seen explained about that quote, a quote with as much currency in the conspiracy theory fever swamps as any single quote has ever had. The point of the disinformation campaign was not to manipulate the public but to manipulate the soviets. Because our CIA analysts spent so much time unriddling the soviet media, we figured their CIA analysts were doing the same thing with ours.

FKA Max > , September 5, 2016 at 4:56 am GMT

Mr. Unz,

this study/paper might by of interest to you: http://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/CONSPIRE.doc

[MORE]

Note: This paper was published in Political Psychology 15: 733-744, 1994. This is the original typescript sent to the journal, it does not include any editorial changes that may have been made. The journal itself is not available online, to my knowledge.

Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Ted Goertzel1

Running Head: Belief in Conspiracy Theories.

KEY WORDS: conspiracy theories, anomia, trust

Table Three
Means Scores of Racial/Ethnic Groups on Attitude Scales
White[W] Hispanic[H] Black[B]
Scale
Belief in Conspiracies 2.5[W] 2.8[H] 3.3[B]
Anomia 3.4[W] 3.8[H] 4.1[B]
Trust 3.7[W] 3.3[H] 3.1[B]
Note: All scales varied from 1 to 5, with 3 as a neutral score.

One of the most interesting discussions of the paper:

It is puzzling that conspiratorial thinking has been overlooked in the extensive research on authoritarianism which has dominated quantitative work in political psychology since the 1950s. One possible explanation is that much of this work focuses on right-wing authoritarianism (Altmeyer, 1988), while conspiratorial thinking is characteristic of alienated thinkers on both the right and the left (Citrin, et al., 1975; Graumann, 1987; Berlet, 1992). Even more surprisingly, however, conspiratorial thinking has not been a focus of the efforts to measure "left-wing authoritarianism" (Stone, 1980; Eysenck, 1981; LeVasseur & Gold, 1993) or of research with the "dogmatism" concept (Rokeach, 1960) which was intended to overcome the ideological bias in authoritarianism measures.
On a more fundamental level, the difficulty with existing research traditions may be their focus on the content of beliefs rather than the res[p]ondent's cognitive processes or emotional makeup. As I have argued elsewhere (Goertzel, 1987), most studies of authoritarianism simply ask people what they believe and then assume that these beliefs must be based on underlying psychological processes which go unmeasured. Since these scales ask mostly about beliefs held by those on the right, it is not surprising that they find authoritarianism to be a right-wing phenomenon. Research with projective tests (Rothman and Lichter, 1982) and biographical materials (Goertzel, 1992), on the other hand, has confirmed that many aspects of authoritarian thinking can be found on both the left and the right.

Lot > , September 5, 2016 at 5:14 am GMT

Given how easy it is to create a conspiracy theory, most of them will be crazy.

Another problem with elite conspiracies is that elites usually do not have to act in secret because they already are in control. For Kennedy, a centrist cold warrior, his views already reflected those of elites, maybe even more so than Johnson.

The other problem is that actual criminal conspiracies by elites quite often are discovered, such as Watergate and Iran Contra.

Chief Seattle > , September 5, 2016 at 5:17 am GMT

So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Maybe it's true, maybe not, but if the roles had been reversed, the media would be telling its proponents to take off their tin foil hats.

Miro23 > , September 5, 2016 at 5:20 am GMT

The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops – or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory?

Emblematic > , September 5, 2016 at 7:17 am GMT

I get the sense Ron's building up to something. For those who haven't seen it, can I recommend Ryan Dawson's 'War by Deception':

polistra > , September 5, 2016 at 8:03 am GMT

Simplifying one "contradiction": Our elites have never been primarily anti-Russian or pro-Russian. Since 1946 our elites have been purely GLOBALIST, and their secondary feelings toward Russia strictly follow from this primary goal.

At first Russia was an obstacle to globalism, blocking much of the UN's efforts. Our elites were anti-Russian. After 1962 or so, Russia became the main driver of the UN, so our elites were pro-Russian. Since 1989, Russia has been the guiding star for ANTI-globalist forces, so our elites are FEROCIOUSLY anti-Russian.

smiddy > , September 5, 2016 at 8:13 am GMT

Mr. Unz's direct confrontation with this topic leads me to feel a sense of sentimentality or coming full circle as my "red-pilled" experience literally started with his The Myth of American Meritocracy a little over 2 years ago (I finally looked into the "white privilege" I was "highly exposed" to in college).

Long story short, I was a lazy liberal beforehand, now a highly motivated conservative; nothing helps one get their ish together better than understanding the trajectory at which our society is heading. The Myth of American Meritocracy singularly led me to have a more open mind in understanding how non-congruent the mainstream narrative can be with man's shared universal reality, and having spent way too much time in school learning research methodology, I finally applied it via whim thereafter to criminal statistics (but we know where this story ends), then WW2, the mainstream narrative of which I grew up worshiping

For someone who, when I was naive, hung on to every word one heard or read in the countless amount of hours I've spent in American history classes, for me to learn the hard way of Operation Keelhaul, the Haavara Agreement, the disease epidemic, the migrant crisis (before hand), the hand THE banksters probably played (in playing both sides), and so on, it becomes all too clear how amazingly systematically corrupt our academic system has become. Not once did I ever hear one smidgen about those extremely large plot points; they're so consistently implicitly left out of the script its terrifying.

Alternating to my freshman year of high school now, when I was still naive, I complained to our just hired 22 year old (conveniently) Jewish teacher (fresh out of the Ivy League but back to sacrifice where he had graduated high school, he had always reminded us) over having to read about the Little Rock 9 and Ann Frank for literally (in my case) the 4th time (each). Point is, even when I was entirely clueless, and had no defensive instinct at all, it still didn't feel healthy to read over and over again; I was emotionally exhausted already. I accepted their stories at face value, faced the guilt, and just wanted to move on, yet according to my teacher I "lacked empathy" (so if only we were taught about how the Irish were treated in the 17th we'd be fine). It really is this kind of dwelling on the past that has been institutionalized, and its borderline brain-washing, regardless of the said tragedy's validity.

There is one such particular event of WW2 that, once naive, I've personally cried over more than any other historical event easily (perhaps even more than anything subjectively experienced), much in thanks to programmed televising So what's so weird about all of this, is its like a meta-intellectual betrayal, but with all the emotional connotations of a woman who wronged you in all the worse ways (and she's inevitably waiting in seemingly every dark corner of history you delve into, thus the "endless rabbit hole" you fall through). And its this implicit brand of deceit that is patently feminine which can be inductively read from the MSM to "read the tea leaves"

I could go on and on but really I initially just wanted to thank you Mr. Unz, your publication, and your current and past writing staff. I don't even want to imagine a world where I had never stumbled upon your work!

JL > , September 5, 2016 at 10:40 am GMT

Perhaps the media tried too hard, were too eager to be complicit, and now they've completely lost the plot. The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking. Not knowing what to do, they double and triple down on the same fail that got them into this mess. Truly interesting times.

Thanks, Mr. Unz, for your "small webzine".

Gene Tuttle > , September 5, 2016 at 10:41 am GMT

I've often used the argument myself that conspiracies inevitably have short shelf lives in the US because it was so difficult for Americans to keep secrets. The article makes a useful point in suggesting that secret plots, even after being revealed, may nevertheless remain widely ignored. Ideology, group-think, pack journalism etc. are powerful forces, often subconsciously at work, preventing alternative theories from developing legs.

Though long an admirer of Karl Popper, I hadn't strongly associated him with attacks on conspiracy theories per se. As an American "outsider" living abroad most of my adult life, I've all too often encountered those who assumed my background alone explained an argument of mine that they didn't like. Popper had hit the nail on the head when he wrote about

"a widespread and dangerous fashion of our time of not taking arguments seriously, and at their face value, at least tentatively, but of seeing in them nothing but a way in which deeper irrational motives and tendencies express themselves." It was "the attitude of looking at once for the unconscious motives and determinants in the social habitat of the thinker, instead of first examining the validity of the argument itself."

The powerful nazi and communist ideologies of his day assumed that one's " blood " or " class " precluded "correct" thinking. Those politically incorrect challengers to their own totalitarian weltanschauung were (to put it mildly) persecuted as conspirators. No doubt, as Ron Unz notes, Popper's personal experience "contributed the depth of his feelings" ! I would say skepticism – about conspiracy claims.

But the author of the " Open Society " had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests.

anonymous > , Disclaimer September 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm GMT

One conspiracy theory is that some of the wilder, more incredible notions of what may have taken place are deliberately circulated so as to muddy the waters and discredit those who question the party line. For example, outlandish claims by some that no planes were crashed on 9-11 but were really just holograms are seized upon by supposed debunkers as being representative of all skeptics, overshadowing the more reasonable types who question the narrative. This seems to be quite deliberate.

The mainstream American press is the freest in the world, we've been told endlessly, and at some point I realized that I was reading these accolades to itself in the very same press. Not the most objective source one comes to realize. Now on the internet it seems there are those who appear to fan out everywhere to influence the discussion, spread their slogans and shout down opposing ideas. Paid trolls and others?

Conspiracies exist. Consider the Gulf of Tonkin fabrication which certainly involved many actors and yet the general public was kept in the dark about the real facts. The results need not be rehashed yet again. There's a streak of denial in most people. They don't want to contemplate the idea that FDR may have deliberately allowed American servicemen to die at Pearl Harbor in order to get the war he wanted. Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm GMT

@Emblematic I get the sense Ron's building up to something.

For those who haven't seen it, can I recommend Ryan Dawson's 'War by Deception':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK6VLFdWJ4I

I get the sense Ron's building up to something.

One can only hope. This time he mentioned 9/11! so that base is covered; no need to say more about that than that; besides I doubt even he could add to what has already been published and posted on this site re that Big Lie. I would like to see how he weighs all the evidence on RFK's assassination, what he would be willing to call what looks like nothing as much as what MK-Ultra was about.

Wizard of Oz > , September 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm GMT

@Miro23 The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops - or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory? I accept that your explanation of the attack on USS Liberty is relatively plausible but another which runs it close is that Israel had to ensure that there was no proof left of the true order of events which were not in accordance with the Israeli official version. So I ask what are your sources?

Likewise, if you are saying that suicidal hijackers flew planes into buildings on 9/11 but that it was organised by Mossad or other Israelis your story needs a lot of filling out and evidence to be credible. Or are you merely saying the Israelis knew what was going to
happen and let it go ahead because it could be turned to their advantage?

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 1:24 pm GMT

@anonymous One conspiracy theory is that some of the wilder, more incredible notions of what may have taken place are deliberately circulated so as to muddy the waters and discredit those who question the party line. For example, outlandish claims by some that no planes were crashed on 9-11 but were really just holograms are seized upon by supposed debunkers as being representative of all skeptics, overshadowing the more reasonable types who question the narrative. This seems to be quite deliberate.
The mainstream American press is the freest in the world, we've been told endlessly, and at some point I realized that I was reading these accolades to itself in the very same press. Not the most objective source one comes to realize. Now on the internet it seems there are those who appear to fan out everywhere to influence the discussion, spread their slogans and shout down opposing ideas. Paid trolls and others?
Conspiracies exist. Consider the Gulf of Tonkin fabrication which certainly involved many actors and yet the general public was kept in the dark about the real facts. The results need not be rehashed yet again. There's a streak of denial in most people. They don't want to contemplate the idea that FDR may have deliberately allowed American servicemen to die at Pearl Harbor in order to get the war he wanted. Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.

Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.

Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or ! beyond the usual understandings about human nature ! is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning ! by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption?

Wizard of Oz > , September 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus


Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.
Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or -- beyond the usual understandings about human nature -- is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning -- by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption? It would be worth considering the different contributions to truth telling and also honest scepticism of the Puritan and other Protestant culture, and of the Enlightenment for a start. Some subjects were difficult – like whether there is a God for all Christians and of course the one that must have addled many brains: slavery.

godfree roberts > , September 5, 2016 at 2:18 pm GMT

Agreed. This is an exemplary piece of scholarship and also an enthralling re-telling of our recent past. Highly recommended.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm GMT

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?–is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings.

Connecticut Famer > , September 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm GMT

@Gene Tuttle I've often used the argument myself that conspiracies inevitably have short shelf lives in the US because it was so difficult for Americans to keep secrets. The article makes a useful point in suggesting that secret plots, even after being revealed, may nevertheless remain widely ignored. Ideology, group-think, pack journalism etc. are powerful forces, often subconsciously at work, preventing alternative theories from developing legs.

Though long an admirer of Karl Popper, I hadn't strongly associated him with attacks on conspiracy theories per se. As an American "outsider" living abroad most of my adult life, I've all too often encountered those who assumed my background alone explained an argument of mine that they didn't like. Popper had hit the nail on the head when he wrote about

"a widespread and dangerous fashion of our time...of not taking arguments seriously, and at their face value, at least tentatively, but of seeing in them nothing but a way in which deeper irrational motives and tendencies express themselves." It was "the attitude of looking at once for the unconscious motives and determinants in the social habitat of the thinker, instead of first examining the validity of the argument itself."
The powerful nazi and communist ideologies of his day assumed that one's " blood " or " class " precluded "correct" thinking. Those politically incorrect challengers to their own totalitarian weltanschauung were (to put it mildly) persecuted as conspirators. No doubt, as Ron Unz notes, Popper's personal experience "contributed the depth of his feelings" -- I would say skepticism – about conspiracy claims.

But the author of the " Open Society " had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests. "But the author of the "Open Society" had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests."

Possibly as in the JFK case? I actually watched Lee Harvey Oswald get drilled by the man who was later identified as Jack Ruby (real surname "Rubenstein") live on television. The minute it happened and even at age 16 at the time I smelled a rat. Who was ultimately behind it all is something which I can't answer and care not to speculate upon, but to this day I remain suspicious about the circumstances surrounding Oswald's death and Ruby's subsequent dissembling.

Jacques Sheete > , September 5, 2016 at 2:46 pm GMT

Superb article.

It's good to see that Mr. Beard is getting some well deserved good press. It's also good to have people put on alert about Leo Strauss; his name should be a household word, and that of derision. I first learned of the fool at LewRockwell.com, and I feel it's worth investigating him as a source of the goofy neocon outlook that the world's been suffering under for decades. "Strauss, who opposed the idea of individual rights, maintained that neither the ancient world nor the Christian envisioned strict, absolute limits on state power. Straussian neoconservatism is not conservatism as it has ever been understood in America or anywhere else "

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2004/09/thomas-woods/the-neocon-godfather/

Paul Jolliffe > , September 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm GMT

Mr. Unz,

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses – and confirms – your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades . . .

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

Clearpoint > , September 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm GMT

Popper and Strauss. Neoliberal thought unites with neoconservative thought. Explicitly different rationales, but the same goals and the same method of achieving those goals. Sounds like target marketing of the two biggest target markets of American exceptionalism – dumb and dumber. Apparently critical thinkers are a minority that they believe can be easily marginalized.

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 2:58 pm GMT

@JL Perhaps the media tried too hard, were too eager to be complicit, and now they've completely lost the plot. The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking. Not knowing what to do, they double and triple down on the same fail that got them into this mess. Truly interesting times.

Thanks, Mr. Unz, for your "small webzine".

The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking.

Are they? Or, have they simply fired the first few rounds of easily-dispatched, easily-targeted artillery? I do note that this is the most massive full-court press in support of the oligarchy that I have ever seen. But, I sense that political wars have moved from the court of public opinion and perception, into the courtyards of the moneyed elite. Inasmuch as no rich person has ever believed that he or she has enough money and power, the national political conflict is now composed solely of issues that affect the wealth and power of the 0.1%, which is itself segmented into areas of economic focus and varying forms of wealth acquisition. For example, if air transport systems threaten the wealth and power of ocean-based shipping, that competition between oligarchs will morph into politically-expressed contexts.

There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo.

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.
Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or -- beyond the usual understandings about human nature -- is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning -- by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption?

Is there the possibility of redemption?

Of what is "redemption" constituted? Considering that fewer than 20% of American residents during the Revolution were actually involved in the revolt, with an estimated 40% preferring to retain the colony under monarchy, and considering that the ethical and political awareness of the Average American and the Average Illegal Resident Alien have gone downhill from there, can it honestly be said that there's enough true flavor of human rights and equal access/opportunity to redeem?

biz > , September 5, 2016 at 3:10 pm GMT

@John Jeremiah Smith

The definition of a conspiracy theory is an explanation of events that traces them to a secret network, and when presented with contradictory evidence, simply enlarges the network of supposed conspirators rather than modifying the explanation.
LOL x 2. I think you're saying that the above is YOUR definition of "conspiracy theory", not to be confused with any real and accurate definition of "conspiracy theory". No what I have put is the generally accepted definition used in journalistic and sociological works about conspiracy theory culture, e.g. this book .
CanSpeccy > , Website September 5, 2016 at 3:22 pm GMT

Good epistemological analysis.

The great flaw in the Western system of "democratic" government is that hardly anyone knows the meaning of the word "epistemology", let alone have any grasp of the underlying challenge of knowing what they know, or rather knowing how little they know beyond what they know from direct personal experience. This is a challenge made vastly more difficult in the modern age when almost everything we know is derived not from personal experience, or from other people of whose character and intellectual competence we have some personal knowledge, but from the arrangement of ink on paper or of pixels on a video screen. To this problem, there is probably no solution, although either a sharp restriction of the franchise to those of some maturity and education, or a division of the franchise according to what each particular individual could be expected to know something about, would be a step in the right direction.

As it is, we will, inevitably, continue to be the target of high powered manipulation by corporate owned media and other powerful interests.

Professor Lance Haven de Smith, whose book you mention is an expert on SCADS, or state crimes against democracy. An article by him on this topic is available here . There is some interesting academic material about SCADs here .

nsa > , September 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm GMT

In spook circles, leaving [false] clues is referred to as inoculation. Refer to the work of Bill McGuire in the late 50s and early 60s. For example, we here in Langley and Ft. Meade have left intact on the internet the early picture of the 20′ entry hole left by the "757″ in the facade of the pentagon before the explosion and complete collapse of the exterior wall ..inviting the conspiratorial question " where are the wings, the mangled cadavers, the tail?". This is all just too easy

Alden > , September 5, 2016 at 3:27 pm GMT

Highly reccomend Chris Buckley's book. "Little Green Men" The plot is that the entire UFO thing was set up after WW3 by the DOJ to keep the money flowing. Like all Buckley's books, it's a great read. I stopped believing in anything written in newspapers around 1966 because they were so pro black criminal and anti police

Have fun on Labor Day

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 3:45 pm GMT

@biz No what I have put is the generally accepted definition used in journalistic and sociological works about conspiracy theory culture, e.g. this book .

No what I have put is the generally accepted definition used in journalistic and sociological works about conspiracy theory culture, e.g. this book.

Journalism? Sociological works? You choose to quote even bigger liars as defining "conspiracy theory"?

"A conspiracy theory is a belief that a secret conspiracy has actually been decisive in producing a political event or evil outcome which the theorists strongly disapprove of. The conspiracy theory typically identifies the conspirators, provides evidence that supposedly links them together with an evil plan to harm the body politic, and may also point to a supposed cover up by authorities or media who should have stopped the conspiracy. The duty of the theorist is to pick from a myriad of facts and assumptions and reassemble them to form a picture of the conspiracy, as in a jigsaw puzzle. A theorist may publicly identify specific conspirators, and if they deny the allegations that is evidence they have been sworn to secrecy and are probably guilty."

Similar, agreed, but with noteworthy differences.

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 4:12 pm GMT

@Decius Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall--and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?--is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention--owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings. C Bradley Thompson was educated/trained as a Straussian neoconservative, then got mugged by reality and started to re-assess his own philosophical orientation.

One of the most interesting points Thompson makes in this discussion of his book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, occurs in the Q&A segment when he demonstrates that Strauss was, indeed, an acolyte of Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt

Laurel > , September 5, 2016 at 4:22 pm GMT

The best strategy is to foster implausible conspiracy theories to create a cloud of disinformation. This technique was used very effectively after 9/11, such that it's very hard to discuss a coverup without being labeled a truther.

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 4:24 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus C Bradley Thompson was educated/trained as a Straussian neoconservative, then got mugged by reality and started to re-assess his own philosophical orientation.

One of the most interesting points Thompson makes in this discussion of his book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, occurs in the Q&A segment when he demonstrates that Strauss was, indeed, an acolyte of Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oh6DmjQaho @ 12 min, Thompson asserts that "Leo Strauss was the most important influence on Irving Kristol's intellectual development. My book reveals for the first time the importance of Kristol's 1952 review of Strauss's Persecution and the Art of Writing . For me this is the Rosetta Stone . . .for understanding the deepest layer of neoconservative political philosophy."

It should also be noted that Irving Kristol was sponsored by -- on the payroll of – the CIA while still in Britain. Kristol has acknowledged that CIA support got his movement off the ground.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus C Bradley Thompson was educated/trained as a Straussian neoconservative, then got mugged by reality and started to re-assess his own philosophical orientation.

One of the most interesting points Thompson makes in this discussion of his book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, occurs in the Q&A segment when he demonstrates that Strauss was, indeed, an acolyte of Nazi philosopher Carl Schmitt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oh6DmjQaho No. Strauss and Schmitt were friendly in the 1930s but Strauss was critical of Schmitt's work even then and said so. Schmitt himself said that Strauss had "seen right through" his arguments. Strauss was no acolyte of Schmitt's, he was a greater and deeper thinker and Schmitt -- something Schmitt himself acknowledged.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus @ 12 min, Thompson asserts that "Leo Strauss was the most important influence on Irving Kristol's intellectual development. My book reveals for the first time the importance of Kristol's 1952 review of Strauss's Persecution and the Art of Writing . For me this is the Rosetta Stone . . .for understanding the deepest layer of neoconservative political philosophy."

---

It should also be noted that Irving Kristol was sponsored by -- on the payroll of - the CIA while still in Britain. Kristol has acknowledged that CIA support got his movement off the ground. So what? That's one guy. How do we even know Kristol interpreted Strauss correctly? Kristol's concerns–data-driven social science–were not Strauss's. And so on and on.

But all that is a re-frame anyway. The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.

5371 > , September 5, 2016 at 4:45 pm GMT

@Decius No. Strauss and Schmitt were friendly in the 1930s but Strauss was critical of Schmitt's work even then and said so. Schmitt himself said that Strauss had "seen right through" his arguments. Strauss was no acolyte of Schmitt's, he was a greater and deeper thinker and Schmitt--something Schmitt himself acknowledged. This is complete nonsense. Schmitt is a powerful and original thinker, Strauss a weak and derivative one whose real sweet spot was academic politics.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:54 pm GMT

@5371 This is complete nonsense. Schmitt is a powerful and original thinker, Strauss a weak and derivative one whose real sweet spot was academic politics. Schmitt disagreed with you.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm GMT

@5371 This is complete nonsense. Schmitt is a powerful and original thinker, Strauss a weak and derivative one whose real sweet spot was academic politics. At any rate it's sort of absurd to watch you people chase your tails. All that you "know" or think you know is that Strauss is bad. But Schmitt is good. But Strauss is derivative of Schmitt. Doesn't that make Strauss good, or Schmitt bad?

Schmitt is famous for arguing in favor of the essential particularity of politics -- i.e., against alleged neocon universalism. So if Strauss is derivative of Schmitt, how can he be a neocon universalist?

Strauss in fact agrees with Schmitt on the essential particularity of politics and says so, but finds a deeper source, with deeper arguments, in Plato. Schmitt admitted that his own attempt to fortify his particularism was build on the quick-sandy foundation of modern rationalism, which Strauss taught him to see through.

Hibernian > , September 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm GMT

@anonymous Pearl Harbor (covered in "Day of Deceit") is good starting point. I strongly encourage Mr. Unz to read Robert Stinnet's book next before moving on.

FDR never intended that 2,400 Americans would die there. He just thought that if Japan "struck first", he could justify our entry into WWII to the public. What's really fascinating (and almost wholly unknown) is the sequence of events and headlines from December 8 to December 11, 1941, the date Hitler declared war on the USA.

While Pearl Harbor meant war with Japan, it did not necessarily guarantee war with Nazi Germany. For 72 hours, no one could be sure that Germany would declare war on us. Did FDR manipulate events post-Pearl Harbor to ensure it did happen? "FDR never intended that 2,400 Americans would die there."

Did he think our forces at Pearl, lacking needed intelligence, would limit the losses to a lesser number?

SolontoCroesus > , September 5, 2016 at 5:07 pm GMT

@Decius So what? That's one guy. How do we even know Kristol interpreted Strauss correctly? Kristol's concerns -- data-driven social science -- were not Strauss's. And so on and on.

But all that is a re-frame anyway. The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.

The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.

Can't back it up or has not done so, so far?

The day is young . . . the moon has not yet appeared in the eastern sky.

Carlton Meyer > , Website September 5, 2016 at 5:20 pm GMT

Some conspiracies are eventually acknowledged. For recent examples, our government finally admitted that our CIA overthrew the government of Iran in the 1950s. The sinking of the Lusitania because it carried tons of munitions and weapons during WW I has been mostly accepted since 1982, after the sunken ship was discovered and searched by divers. For example, Encyclopedia Britannica:

"The Lusitania was carrying a cargo of rifle ammunition and shells (together about 173 tons), and the Germans, who had circulated warnings that the ship would be sunk, felt themselves fully justified in attacking a vessel that was furthering the war aims of their enemy. The German government also felt that, in view of the vulnerability of U-boats while on the surface and the British announcement of intentions to arm merchant ships, prior warning of potential targets was impractical."

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Lusitania-British-ship

One of the newest has got little attention, the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, who was a computer guy leaking info to Wikileaks.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/08/10/assange-implies-murdered-dnc-staffer-was-wikileaks-source.html

If we truly had aggressive news competition in the USA, this story would remain in the headlines, but of course its implications are not acceptable. However, stories about Russian hackers persist with no hard evidence.

JL > , September 5, 2016 at 5:27 pm GMT

@John Jeremiah Smith

The rise of Trump, in the face of a completely and uniformly hostile media, suggests that a large part of the American public, consciously or not, now completely rejects entire media narratives and assumes the exact opposite to be true. And they're panicking.
Are they? Or, have they simply fired the first few rounds of easily-dispatched, easily-targeted artillery? I do note that this is the most massive full-court press in support of the oligarchy that I have ever seen. But, I sense that political wars have moved from the court of public opinion and perception, into the courtyards of the moneyed elite. Inasmuch as no rich person has ever believed that he or she has enough money and power, the national political conflict is now composed solely of issues that affect the wealth and power of the 0.1%, which is itself segmented into areas of economic focus and varying forms of wealth acquisition. For example, if air transport systems threaten the wealth and power of ocean-based shipping, that competition between oligarchs will morph into politically-expressed contexts.

There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo. I suppose my comment came off somewhat like unbridled, naive optimism. Your points are unquestionably valid, however, and I am disinclined to argue. Of course Trump represents the interests of certain groups of elites and is not merely the essence of a popular movement. I'll be honest, though, I'm having a tough time determining who these groups are, exactly.

Just like with Brexit, these events don't happen without powerful manipulation from somewhere within the 0.1%. Still, it's tough for me to imagine what a Trump presidency will even look like. Who will be in his cabinet, from what backgrounds will they come?

There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo.

Certainly not. What are fundamentally important questions for us are merely means to an end for them.

Jeffrey S. > , Website September 5, 2016 at 5:31 pm GMT

Beard was an interesting guy, but's let's not forget that his central thesis regarding the founding of this country doesn't hold up to historical scrutiny:

http://www.libertylawsite.org/2014/10/10/charles-beard-living-legend-or-archaic-icon/

Meanwhile, I think it helps to think about conspiracies philosophically ! rigorous thought can help clear up sloppy thinking (which is found in many such theories):

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/01/trouble-with-conspiracy-theories.html

Mulegino1 > , September 5, 2016 at 5:35 pm GMT

With respect to conspiracies, there are two equally absurd extreme views which distract from reality: one is the childish rejection of all conspiracy theories and the other the childish belief that every appreciable newsworthy event with a political, economic or social impact is the result of a nefarious conspiracy. The truth, of course, is to be found in the middle....

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 5:43 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus

The charge from Unz is that Strauss is responsible, partly, for the way Americans think about conspiracy today because Strauss advocated for elite conspiracy. That's false and Unz can't back it up.
Can't back it up or has not done so, so far? The day is young . . . the moon has not yet appeared in the eastern sky. I know Strauss's books. I am guessing that Unz does not because if he did, he would not attribute to Strauss what he did. At any rate, even if Unz does know the books, I fail to see what passages he could cite to support the paragraph that I highlighted. As noted, the claim sounds vaguely derivative of Drury, who hates Strauss (and gets everything wrong) but even she doesn't quite say what Unz says.
Ron Unz > , September 5, 2016 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Decius Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall--and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?--is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:

Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention--owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings.

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss. The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you? .The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death.

I'll candidly admit I haven't read a single one of Strauss's own books, nor even that very influential James Atlas article you dislike so intensely. Instead, I was merely summarizing the extensive arguments of Prof. deHaven-Smith, who, as a prominent political scientist, is presumably quite familiar with Strauss, though I don't doubt that his views might differ considerably from your own.

But on your second point, I do remember seeing a very amusing private letter of Strauss that came to light about a decade or so ago. Written shortly after his arrival in America, it was addressed to a fellow ultra-rightwing Jewish exile from Europe, and in it he praised fascism and (I think) Nazism to the skies, arguing that their regrettable deviation into "anti-Semitism" (which had precipitated his own personal exile from Germany) should in no way be considered a refutation of all the other wonderful aspects of those political doctrines. This leads me to wonder if Strauss was truly the "liberal" you suggest, or perhaps was instead engaging in exactly the sort of "ideological crypsis" that seems such an important part of his political philosophy

It's likely my faulty memory may have garbled important aspects of the letter I mention, and given your expertise on Straussian issues, I'm sure you should be able to locate it and easily correct me.

Mulegino1 > , September 5, 2016 at 5:48 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Stepping back from it all to get a long distance view one can see the patterns of deceit and manipulation all throughout American political life. It's not just incidental but rather is built in.
Is this built-in deceit and manipulation unique to American life, or -- beyond the usual understandings about human nature -- is the systematic or institutionalized "deceit and manipulation" present in all cultures? in western cultures? in some but not all cultures? If the lattermost, in which cultures is "deceit and manipulation" less systematic and institutionalized?

Was "deceit and manipulation" institutionalized into American life from the beginning -- by the Founders, or did USA deviate from its intended path at some point? If so, at what point? How did it happen?

Is there the possibility of redemption? To my mind, the real point of deviation in the history of the United States is the Spanish American War, and the transformation of America from a tellurocratic to a thallasocratic power. America's traditional role had been that of a vast, continental, land based power, eschewing intervention in the affairs of Europe and the rest of the world outside the Western Hemisphere. (This is largely the reason that the Russian Czar allied with the Union in the American Civil War).

Unfortunately, America's traditional tellurocratic role was abandonded – thanks to the likes of Admiral ("Victory through Sea Power") Mahan, John Hay, and the loopy Teddy Roosevelt, inter alia – and the nation went on to embrace the role of international arbiter and busybody, and became insatiable in the pursuit of empire, with catastrophic results for the world.

Sam Shama > , September 5, 2016 at 5:59 pm GMT

@5371 This is a good piece which deserved an acceptable level of mental hygiene in the comment section. Unfortunately, two of the first nine comments are from morons spamming their "no lunar landing" drivel. In all probability the "no nuclear weapons" clowns will also be here imminently. Oh well, a delicious sweet dish will attract a fly as much as a gourmet. [Oh well, a delicious sweet dish will attract a fly as much as a gourmet.]

LOL. I'll compile a mental list of both. Aren't the comments missing someone btw?

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm GMT

@Ron Unz

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss. The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?....The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration...He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death.
I'll candidly admit I haven't read a single one of Strauss's own books, nor even that very influential James Atlas article you dislike so intensely. Instead, I was merely summarizing the extensive arguments of Prof. deHaven-Smith, who, as a prominent political scientist, is presumably quite familiar with Strauss, though I don't doubt that his views might differ considerably from your own.

But on your second point, I do remember seeing a very amusing private letter of Strauss that came to light about a decade or so ago. Written shortly after his arrival in America, it was addressed to a fellow ultra-rightwing Jewish exile from Europe, and in it he praised fascism and (I think) Nazism to the skies, arguing that their regrettable deviation into "anti-Semitism" (which had precipitated his own personal exile from Germany) should in no way be considered a refutation of all the other wonderful aspects of those political doctrines. This leads me to wonder if Strauss was truly the "liberal" you suggest, or perhaps was instead engaging in exactly the sort of "ideological crypsis" that seems such an important part of his political philosophy...

It's likely my faulty memory may have garbled important aspects of the letter I mention, and given your expertise on Straussian issues, I'm sure you should be able to locate it and easily correct me. The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained–not to say serious–attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman. I don't think he even comes close to making his case.

The letter can more charitably and reasonably read as a frank acknowledgement of the failure of Weimar liberalism and of liberalism generally precisely to take into account nationalist sentiment but instead to "universalize" all particulars without due attention to differing conditions, circumstances, "matter," and so on. In other words, Strauss is defending the "concept of the political" both from liberal universalism and from the simple-minded identification of particularism (or nationalism) with fascism. Sound familiar? All nationalist sentiment is fascism, Trump is a Nazi, and so on. An "argument" as old as hills and which Strauss saw through immediately.

Once again, though, the tail is chased. How can Strauss be both a universalist neo-con and a particularist-nationalist-fascist at the same time? The only common thread is: Strauss is bad.

In my view, Strauss is good. More to the point, I find stronger intellectual support in Strauss for my own nationalist leanings and pro-Trump_vs_deep_state than I find in any other intellectual source of any depth. I am in the minority among Straussians in thinking so, but I am not alone. Morevoer, I think in open debate, I have a stronger case for Straussian particularism than others can make for Straussian universalism.

And, not incidentally, none of this points to any such views on conspiracy as you put into Strauss's mouth.

Robard > , September 5, 2016 at 6:04 pm GMT

If government doesn't believe in conspiracies, why have secret services in the first place? Either they want to thwart conspiracies or they are creating their own or both.

Jacques Sheete > , September 5, 2016 at 6:24 pm GMT

@Ron Unz

Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss. The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall–and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?....The neocons just get all the attention–owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration...He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death.
I'll candidly admit I haven't read a single one of Strauss's own books, nor even that very influential James Atlas article you dislike so intensely. Instead, I was merely summarizing the extensive arguments of Prof. deHaven-Smith, who, as a prominent political scientist, is presumably quite familiar with Strauss, though I don't doubt that his views might differ considerably from your own.

But on your second point, I do remember seeing a very amusing private letter of Strauss that came to light about a decade or so ago. Written shortly after his arrival in America, it was addressed to a fellow ultra-rightwing Jewish exile from Europe, and in it he praised fascism and (I think) Nazism to the skies, arguing that their regrettable deviation into "anti-Semitism" (which had precipitated his own personal exile from Germany) should in no way be considered a refutation of all the other wonderful aspects of those political doctrines. This leads me to wonder if Strauss was truly the "liberal" you suggest, or perhaps was instead engaging in exactly the sort of "ideological crypsis" that seems such an important part of his political philosophy...

It's likely my faulty memory may have garbled important aspects of the letter I mention, and given your expertise on Straussian issues, I'm sure you should be able to locate it and easily correct me. While I've read nothing by Prof. deHaven-Smith, from what you've written, he and DiLorenzo would probably agree.

Here's a short but readable eval of Strauss' ideas, and DiLorenzo is one academician whom I somewhat trust.:

Moronic Intellectuals
By Thomas DiLorenzo

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2004/09/thomas-woods/the-neocon-godfather/

John Jeremiah Smith > , September 5, 2016 at 6:29 pm GMT

@JL I suppose my comment came off somewhat like unbridled, naive optimism. Your points are unquestionably valid, however, and I am disinclined to argue. Of course Trump represents the interests of certain groups of elites and is not merely the essence of a popular movement. I'll be honest, though, I'm having a tough time determining who these groups are, exactly.

Just like with Brexit, these events don't happen without powerful manipulation from somewhere within the 0.1%. Still, it's tough for me to imagine what a Trump presidency will even look like. Who will be in his cabinet, from what backgrounds will they come?


There is absolutely no concern, anywhere within the dominion of the 0.1%, with human values, human rights, or any of that sort of ethically-principled hoo-hoo.
Certainly not. What are fundamentally important questions for us are merely means to an end for them.

Of course Trump represents the interests of certain groups of elites and is not merely the essence of a popular movement. I'll be honest, though, I'm having a tough time determining who these groups are, exactly.

Yes, and how many players, each with what orientation and degree of focus? The 0.1% population contains 10,000 – 50,00o potential players, globally.

It is my opinion that the extremely-high degree of corruption, within the mighty engine of resource consumption and bribery that is the US government, contributes greatly to the "big picture" of ongoing conflict among the members of the oligarchy.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 6:31 pm GMT

@Decius Your characterization of Strauss on conspiracy has almost no basis in anything Strauss actually wrote. I would bet that you are presenting a dumbed -down and inaccurate version of Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which are themselves abysmally inaccurate and libelous about Strauss.

The only place Strauss discusses conspiracy thematically that I can recall--and I have read all his books several times, and still read them; have/do you?--is on Thoughts on Machiavelli . Strauss does so, first and foremost, because conspiracy is a major theme of Machiavelli's and the subject of the two longest chapters of his two most important books ( Prince 19 and Discourses III 6). Strauss further develops the idea that modern philosophy begins as a conspiracy between Machiavelli and (some of) his readers. Strauss simply never said anything like this:


Meanwhile, Strauss, a founding figure in modern neo-conservative thought, was equally harsh in his attacks upon conspiracy analysis, but for polar-opposite reasons. In his mind, elite conspiracies were absolutely necessary and beneficial, a crucial social defense against anarchy or totalitarianism, but their effectiveness obviously depended upon keeping them hidden from the prying eyes of the ignorant masses. His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
As for his relationship with neoconservatism, you also overstate that considerably. Yes, there are many neoconservative Straussians. But there are also Straussian paleos, tradcons, liberatarians, liberals, and moderates. There are many who are apolitical and interested only in abstract philosophy. There are Straussian religious conservatives, agnostics and atheists. Christians, Jews and Muslim. Catholic, Protestants and Mormons. The neocons just get all the attention--owing again, in part to Drury and in part to one terrible 2003 article by James Atlas, which no one these days has read, but quickly became THE account of neocon Straussians controlling the Bush administration, which everyone today believes without having read, or even being aware of (have/are you?).

If "neocon" has any meaning, it means, first, a former intellectual liberal who has drifted right. Second, a domestic policy scholar who focuses on data-driven social science. And third, a foreign policy hawk.

None of these really apply to Strauss, who spent his who career studying political philosophy, with an intense focus on the Greeks. He voted Dem in every election in which he could vote, until his last, 1972, when he voted for Nixon out of Cold War concerns. You might say that makes him a "hawk" but he never wrote any essays saying so. He simply told a few people privately that McGovern was too naïve about the Soviets. You might also say that is evidence that he "drifted right" but he didn't think so. He apparently considered himself a Cold War liberal until his death. As for data-driven social science, he famously attacked it in of the very few of his writings that ever got any attention in mainstream political science ("An Epilogue").

You may well be right about the CIA's role in popularizing the phrase "conspiracy theory." But Leo Strauss had nothing to do with it. Or, if he did, he hid his role exceptionally well, because there is no evidence of such in his writings. Actually I don't think Ron is so far off. And I think, at best, you must be overeducated. Strauss held that authentic philosophy is a conspiracy . From there, certain practical advice about how to carry out the philosophy of the true philosopher follows. Such advice would about seem to be how Ron said it was.

I have not read the essay by Atlas. But for the duration of the Bush Administration I did read the Weekly Standard. I recall in particular one time when the editors recommended what books to bring to the beach, and Bill Kristol said "anything by Leo Strauss." My impression is that the Weekly Standard's brazen propaganda back then was the way certain editors understood themselves to be acting like Strauss's true disciples.

And of course now Krystol is hocking a former spook to run against Trump in Utah.

Ron Unz > , September 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm GMT

@Decius The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained--not to say serious--attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman. I don't think he even comes close to making his case.

The letter can more charitably and reasonably read as a frank acknowledgement of the failure of Weimar liberalism and of liberalism generally precisely to take into account nationalist sentiment but instead to "universalize" all particulars without due attention to differing conditions, circumstances, "matter," and so on. In other words, Strauss is defending the "concept of the political" both from liberal universalism and from the simple-minded identification of particularism (or nationalism) with fascism. Sound familiar? All nationalist sentiment is fascism, Trump is a Nazi, and so on. An "argument" as old as hills and which Strauss saw through immediately.

Once again, though, the tail is chased. How can Strauss be both a universalist neo-con and a particularist-nationalist-fascist at the same time? The only common thread is: Strauss is bad.

In my view, Strauss is good. More to the point, I find stronger intellectual support in Strauss for my own nationalist leanings and pro-Trump_vs_deep_state than I find in any other intellectual source of any depth. I am in the minority among Straussians in thinking so, but I am not alone. Morevoer, I think in open debate, I have a stronger case for Straussian particularism than others can make for Straussian universalism.

And, not incidentally, none of this points to any such views on conspiracy as you put into Strauss's mouth.

The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained–not to say serious–attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman.

Well, I decided I might as well google up the letter, and found this extended discussion in Harpers by someone who clearly dislikes Strauss and the Neocons, with a link to a full translation of Strauss's controversial missive.

http://harpers.org/blog/2008/01/will-the-real-leo-strauss-please-stand-up/

Offhand, it does indeed seem like I misremembered some of the details. Strauss apparently didn't seem to like the Nazis very much, but it certainly sounds like he had positive feelings towards the Fascists. In any event, the following excerpt makes me wonder whether he was actually a "liberal," or merely pretended to be since his income probably depended upon liberal donors and institutions

And, what concerns this matter: the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l'homme(5) to protest against the shabby abomination There is no reason to crawl to the cross, neither to the cross of liberalism, as long as somewhere in the world there is a glimmer of the spark of the Roman thought.

Buzz Mohawk > , September 5, 2016 at 6:48 pm GMT

By reading Ron's American Pravda series of columns, I am learning things that otherwise I would not have known. I am developing a clearer understanding of the real truth . This is an important contribution to my understanding of of reality! And I trust this because of the quality and earnestness of the source. This is all very much appreciated.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 6:50 pm GMT

@Ron Unz

The letter you are referring to is a letter to Karl Lowith from 1933. The most sustained–not to say serious–attempt to make it say that Strauss is coming out as a fascist has been the work of William Altman.
Well, I decided I might as well google up the letter, and found this extended discussion in Harpers by someone who clearly dislikes Strauss and the Neocons, with a link to a full translation of Strauss's controversial missive.

http://harpers.org/blog/2008/01/will-the-real-leo-strauss-please-stand-up/

Offhand, it does indeed seem like I misremembered some of the details. Strauss apparently didn't seem to like the Nazis very much, but it certainly sounds like he had positive feelings towards the Fascists. In any event, the following excerpt makes me wonder whether he was actually a "liberal," or merely pretended to be since his income probably depended upon liberal donors and institutions...

And, what concerns this matter: the fact that the new right-wing Germany does not tolerate us says nothing against the principles of the right. To the contrary: only from the principles of the right, that is from fascist, authoritarian and imperial principles, is it possible with seemliness, that is, without resort to the ludicrous and despicable appeal to the droits imprescriptibles de l'homme(5) to protest against the shabby abomination...There is no reason to crawl to the cross, neither to the cross of liberalism, as long as somewhere in the world there is a glimmer of the spark of the Roman thought.
What is a liberal? That's not a troll question. Strauss was above all a Socratic and Socratic philosophy begins with "what is" questions. One of Strauss's books is entitled Liberalism Ancient and Modern .

Strauss was apparently a liberal in the US context in that he mostly voted for Dems. He also wrote one acerbically critical letter to National Review.

However, a mid-20th-century American liberal may have been many things, but unpatriotic or nationalistic they were not. When liberalism turned with McGovern, Strauss looked elsewhere, and then died a year later, so we don't know how his political outlook would, or would not, have changed longer term. But at least in the 40s-60s, he was quite OK with Cold War American liberals. That's perfectly consistent with the nationalist sentiment expressed in the letter to Lowith. Also, Strauss was appalled by the dissoluteness of Weimar–and would become appalled by the dissoluteness of the late 1960s. But America prior was not yet dissolute. And he was appalled by Weimar's weakness. But America pre-Vietnam was not weak. Again, perfectly consistent with the letter.

Strauss supported the Cold War because he thought the USSR was a real threat in the near term and because he feared, on a higher plane, the imposition of "the universal and homogenous state." He was opposed to that, whereas those to his left were for it. So was he conservative?

Strauss transcends all these distinctions. That's not to say that they are meaningless. Indeed, he would be the first to say that they are meaningful. But, like Tocqueville, Strauss aimed to see not differently but further than the parties.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 6:54 pm GMT

@Pat Casey Actually I don't think Ron is so far off. And I think, at best, you must be overeducated. Strauss held that authentic philosophy is a conspiracy . From there, certain practical advice about how to carry out the philosophy of the true philosopher follows. Such advice would about seem to be how Ron said it was.

I have not read the essay by Atlas. But for the duration of the Bush Administration I did read the Weekly Standard. I recall in particular one time when the editors recommended what books to bring to the beach, and Bill Kristol said "anything by Leo Strauss." My impression is that the Weekly Standard's brazen propaganda back then was the way certain editors understood themselves to be acting like Strauss's true disciples.

And of course now Krystol is hocking a former spook to run against Trump in Utah. The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious. Yes, Bill K loves Strauss. That really doesn't prove much about Strauss either way. I believe, though of course cannot prove since Strauss can't speak, that Strauss would have opposed the Iraq War. He would have seen it as imprudent and prudence is the supreme virtue of the statesman.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).

Yngvar > , September 5, 2016 at 6:59 pm GMT

So as a means of damage control, the CIA distributed a secret memo to all its field offices requesting that they enlist their media assets in efforts to ridicule and attack such critics as irrational supporters of "conspiracy theories."

And what do you know, the term "conspiracy theories" was non-existent in books before JFK's assassination but took off right after, according to Google's Ngram Viewer: https://is.gd/GYioQZ

utu > , September 5, 2016 at 7:38 pm GMT

@Decius The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious. Yes, Bill K loves Strauss. That really doesn't prove much about Strauss either way. I believe, though of course cannot prove since Strauss can't speak, that Strauss would have opposed the Iraq War. He would have seen it as imprudent and prudence is the supreme virtue of the statesman.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points). Unless you give some evidence that Strauss was a Reptilian or at least that he was a skeptic about the Moon landing there is no need for further discussion on Strauss here.

Erik Sieven > , September 5, 2016 at 7:40 pm GMT

@Kirt Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan. Secrecy may be needed for the success of a conspiracy, but it is not essential to the definition. Were it essential to the definition, you could never prove the existence of a conspiracy. Either secrecy would be maintained and there would be little or no evidence or secrecy would not be maintained and the plan would become known and by definition not be a conspiracy. "Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan." but probably everything think that what he does is good, not evil

art guerrilla > , Website September 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm GMT

@Chief Seattle So, a conspiracy theory is a theory without media backing. There's no better recent example of this than when the DNC emails were released by wikileaks during their convention. The story put forth was that Russian hackers were responsible, and were trying to throw the election to their buddy Trump. The evidence for this? Zero. And yet it became a plausible explanation in the media, overnight.

Maybe it's true, maybe not, but if the roles had been reversed, the media would be telling its proponents to take off their tin foil hats. ahhh, but 'Russkie!/squirrel!' worked, didn't it ? ? ?
virtually NOTHING about the actual content of the emails
what was hysterical, was a followup not too long afterwards, where pelosi 'warned' that there might be a whole raft of other emails which said bad stuff and stuff, and, um, they were -like- probably, um, all, uh, fake and stuff
it really is a funny tragi-comedy, isn't it ? ? ?
then why am i crying inside

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm GMT

@Decius The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious. Yes, Bill K loves Strauss. That really doesn't prove much about Strauss either way. I believe, though of course cannot prove since Strauss can't speak, that Strauss would have opposed the Iraq War. He would have seen it as imprudent and prudence is the supreme virtue of the statesman.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).

The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious.

That's not what I did. Don't do that. You seemed to be saying the neo-cons do not hail from the school of Strauss as this Atlas fellow said they did. I was saying they do, according to them.

It was pretty obvious back then that the weekly standard was acting as an organ of the bush administration more than a member of the media. I remember there was even a tepid discussion about how we as journalist should feel about these fellas with one foot in the media and one foot in the politics. Does that have anything to do with the style Strauss bespoke? My understanding is that Strauss addressed his philosophy not to Princes but certain among the reading public. That turns out to first of all mean political journalists who will sacrifice the integrity of their profession for the sake of a particular kind of proud story about the USA polity and its villains. Yes I do think people like Bill Krystol and Michael Ledeen saw themselves in terms as dramatic as that.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).

You mean I was right about Strauss having a conspiracy theory of philosophy. I didn't say anything about the second half. I read Paul Gottfried and I agree Strauss was a ridiculous scholar. Of course I believe you when you say in so many words that Strauss did not like philosophies that license mass movements of true believers. Full stop right there. Now we can count back from all them and make this an exercise in splitting hairs. What audience to be precise did Strauss exactly have in mind? Actually I don't think he deserves that much credit; I don't think he really knew who he was writing for.

Jacques Sheete > , September 5, 2016 at 9:43 pm GMT

@Pat Casey

The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious.
That's not what I did. Don't do that. You seemed to be saying the neo-cons do not hail from the school of Strauss as this Atlas fellow said they did. I was saying they do, according to them.

It was pretty obvious back then that the weekly standard was acting as an organ of the bush administration more than a member of the media. I remember there was even a tepid discussion about how we as journalist should feel about these fellas with one foot in the media and one foot in the politics. Does that have anything to do with the style Strauss bespoke? My understanding is that Strauss addressed his philosophy not to Princes but certain among the reading public. That turns out to first of all mean political journalists who will sacrifice the integrity of their profession for the sake of a particular kind of proud story about the USA polity and its villains. Yes I do think people like Bill Krystol and Michael Ledeen saw themselves in terms as dramatic as that.

You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).
You mean I was right about Strauss having a conspiracy theory of philosophy. I didn't say anything about the second half. I read Paul Gottfried and I agree Strauss was a ridiculous scholar. Of course I believe you when you say in so many words that Strauss did not like philosophies that license mass movements of true believers. Full stop right there. Now we can count back from all them and make this an exercise in splitting hairs. What audience to be precise did Strauss exactly have in mind? Actually I don't think he deserves that much credit; I don't think he really knew who he was writing for.

I don't think he really knew who he was writing for.

Love it.

My theory is that they basically wrote anything that came to mind so long as no one could pin 'em down to specifics, allowed them to keep paying the bills , afforded them a chance to sound "profound," and to be somebody.

Pretty much all of the type are frauds and only fools (especially the pompous quasi-scientific, pseudo intellectual, ones) take 'em seriously. I agree that the ancients were much more honest but even they were recognized as BSers of high degree by the likes of Aristophanes and Lucian of Samosata to name only two. (I named them because they make particularly entertaining reading.)

I think the 20th century should be known as the Age of Pathetic Charlatans and I'm glad it's over. May it and the endless gaggle of cheap morons it spawned never return.

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 10:12 pm GMT

@Pat Casey

The reduction of Strauss and all his concerns to TWS is not serious.
That's not what I did. Don't do that. You seemed to be saying the neo-cons do not hail from the school of Strauss as this Atlas fellow said they did. I was saying they do, according to them.

It was pretty obvious back then that the weekly standard was acting as an organ of the bush administration more than a member of the media. I remember there was even a tepid discussion about how we as journalist should feel about these fellas with one foot in the media and one foot in the politics. Does that have anything to do with the style Strauss bespoke? My understanding is that Strauss addressed his philosophy not to Princes but certain among the reading public. That turns out to first of all mean political journalists who will sacrifice the integrity of their profession for the sake of a particular kind of proud story about the USA polity and its villains. Yes I do think people like Bill Krystol and Michael Ledeen saw themselves in terms as dramatic as that.


You are sort of right about philosophy being a conspiracy, but wrong in the second half. MODERN philosophy attempts to take the conspiracy public, so to speak, to act in the real world. Ancient philosophy did not, or did so in a very limited, mitigating way, always with caution, moderation, prudence, and a lack of messianic hopes or intentions. Strauss argued his whole life for the superiority of the ancients to the moderns on this point (and on other points).
You mean I was right about Strauss having a conspiracy theory of philosophy. I didn't say anything about the second half. I read Paul Gottfried and I agree Strauss was a ridiculous scholar. Of course I believe you when you say in so many words that Strauss did not like philosophies that license mass movements of true believers. Full stop right there. Now we can count back from all them and make this an exercise in splitting hairs. What audience to be precise did Strauss exactly have in mind? Actually I don't think he deserves that much credit; I don't think he really knew who he was writing for. Kristol is a Straussian because he got a PhD in PolPhil from Harvard under Mansfield, who is a Straussian. There is no necessary connection between Strauss's thought any of the main tenets of Neo-conservatism. I've said, and you've all ignored, that Strauss attacked data-driven social science, which is the original hallmark of neo-conservatism. A later hallmark (which emerged after Strauss's death) was foreign policy hawkism. Unless you want to say that Strauss's opposition to the USSR makes him a neo-con, in which case every Cold War liberal going back to Truman was a neo-con. At which point the term has no meaning.

Strauss addresses scholars and potential philosophers. He has almost nothing to say about the transient issues of his age. Based on his comments on what other thinkers had to say about war (Thucydides above all) I believe we can infer that Strauss was generally in favor of preparedness and wariness but otherwise anti-war in the general sense. If we may analogize the Iraq War to the Sicilian Expedition we may say that Strauss probably would have opposed the former as imprudent, just as he tacitly endorses T's judgement that the latter was imprudent.

Strauss openly characterizes Machiavelli's approach to philosophy as a conspiracy, using that word, but does not say it about any other thinker. However, his teaching that philosophy is an inherently elite and very small enterprise may be fairly characterized as a "conspiracy." however, before modernity, the nature of the conspiracy was to protect the conspirators and the philosophic life, not a reform campaign. that's what it becomes under modernity, which Strauss opposes. One of Strauss's aims in writing was to revive the ancient idea of philosophy, its proper scope, and its proper relationship to society, which he believed modernity had corrupted.

It is unfortunate that Strauss became a bogey-man to so many who have no idea what he said or why. It happened rather recently and based on some very thin scholarship. Most of the thing people try to pin on him are things that I and my friends oppose too. We just know they don't trace to Strauss. In fact, the opposite is often true.

Konga > , September 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm GMT

@Miro23 The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops - or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory? So true!
But you forgot the two missiles shot from a NATO naval and HQ base in Spain towards Damascus, shot down by the Russians (two weeks before the "agreement" on chemical weapons, remember?) and then attributed to Israel's drills turned wrong

Decius > , September 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm GMT

A good book, BTW, is Robert Howse's Leo Strauss: Man of Peace . Howse is liberal, FWIW.

ten miles > , September 5, 2016 at 10:20 pm GMT

One resents (first), and eventually hates whom they have to lie to. In what regard would our elites, in our electoral democracy, hold us voters in (by now)?
Kinda answers itself doesn't it?

map > , September 5, 2016 at 11:03 pm GMT

Popper's point about conspiracy theories really makes no sense. This is the assumption that a conspiracy is like a start-up, one that requires lots of transparency to work because of the need to recruit members for the conspiracy. As soon as one member disagrees, the conspiracy falls apart.

The problem is that a conspiracy is not like a start-up. The purpose of the start-up is the start-up itself. The purpose of the conspiracy is not the conspiracy itself. Conspiracies are simply vehicles by which like minded people actually find each other. The secrecy is built-in because they are like-minded.

Kirt > , September 5, 2016 at 11:15 pm GMT

@Erik Sieven "Conspiracy is simply a plan or agreement by more than one person to do something evil and then the pursuit of that plan." but probably everything think that what he does is good, not evil "probably everything think that what he does is good, not evil"

Yeah, that's true. I think that it was Saint Thomas Aquinas who said that evil is always done under an aspect of good. Hence no one will consider himself a conspirator other than perhaps in a legal sense if he is aware that what he is doing is illegal. Apart from that the charge of conspiracy will always come from opponents; e.g. Hilly's charge of "a vast right-wing conspiracy".

Ron Unz > , September 5, 2016 at 11:27 pm GMT

@Paul Jolliffe Mr. Unz,

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses - and confirms - your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades . . .

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

Here is a link to Carl Bernstein's definitive 1977 Rolling Stone article "CIA and the Media" in which he addresses – and confirms – your worst fears. You are very right, and no less a figure than Bernstein has said so for nearly four decades

Thanks so much for the excellent reference to the Bernstein article, of which I hadn't been aware. I found it fascinating, not least because of all the speculations floating around over the last decade or two that Bernstein's famed collaborator, Bob Woodward, had had an intelligence background, and perhaps Watergate represented a plot by elements of the CIA to remove Nixon from the White House. As for the 25,000 word article itself, I'd suggest that people read it. Since quite a lot of this comment-thread is already filled with debates about the supposed liberalism of Leo Strauss and an alleged Moon Landing Hoax, I might as well provide a few of the provocative extracts:

http://www.carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php

He was very eager, he loved to cooperate." On one occasion, according to several CIA officials, Sulzberger was given a briefing paper by the Agency which ran almost verbatim under the columnist's byline in the Times. "Cycame out and said, 'I'm thinking of doing a piece, can you give me some background?'" a CIA officer said. "We gave it to Cy as a background piece and Cy gave it to the printers and put his name on it." Sulzberger denies that any incident occurred. "A lot of baloney," he said.

[MORE]

Stewart Alsop's relationship with the Agency was much more extensive than Sulzberger's. One official who served at the highest levels in the CIA said flatly: "Stew Alsop was a CIA agent." An equally senior official refused to define Alsop's relationship with the Agency except to say it was a formal one. Other sources said that Alsop was particularly helpful to the Agency in discussions with, officials of foreign governments!asking questions to which the CIA was seeking answers, planting misinformation advantageous to American policy, assessing opportunities for CIA recruitment of well‑placed foreigners.

The New York Times. The Agency's relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper's late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy!set by Sulzberger!to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.

When Newsweek waspurchased by the Washington Post Company, publisher Philip L. Graham was informed by Agency officials that the CIA occasionally used the magazine for cover purposes, according to CIA sources. "It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from," said a former deputy director of the Agency. "Frank Wisner dealt with him." Wisner, deputy director of the CIA from 1950 until shortly before his suicide in 1965, was the Agency's premier orchestrator of "black" operations, including many in which journalists were involved. Wisner liked to boast of his "mighty Wurlitzer," a wondrous propaganda instrument he built, and played, with help from the press.) Phil Graham was probably Wisner's closest friend. But Graharn, who committed suicide in 1963, apparently knew little of the specifics of any cover arrangements with Newsweek, CIA sources said.

The Agency played an intriguing numbers game with the committee. Those who prepared the material say it was physically impossible to produce all of the Agency's files on the use of journalists. "We gave them a broad, representative picture," said one agency official. "We never pretended it was a total description of the range of activities over 25 years, or of the number of journalists who have done things for us." A relatively small number of the summaries described the activities of foreign journalists!including those working as stringers for American publications. Those officials most knowledgeable about the subject say that a figure of 400 American journalists is on the low side of the actual number who maintained covert relationships and undertook clandestine tasks.

From the twenty‑five files he got back, according to Senate sources and CIA officials, an unavoidable conclusion emerged: that to a degree never widely suspected, the CIA in the 1950s, '60s and even early '70s had concentrated its relationships with journalists in the most prominent sectors of the American press corps, including four or five of the largest newspapers in the country, the broadcast networks and the two major newsweekly magazines. Despite the omission of names and affiliations from the twenty‑five detailed files each was between three and eleven inches thick), the information was usually sufficient to tentatively identify either the newsman, his affiliation or both!particularly because so many of them were prominent in the profession.

The Alarmist > , September 5, 2016 at 11:43 pm GMT

@Darin If moon landings were fake, why hadn't USSR or China revealed it? This would discredit USA before the whole world and won the Cold War in one stroke.

If USSR was also part of the plot, then whole Cold War was fake - and in this case there would be no need for the small Apollo fake.

Sometimes, stupid conspiracy theories are just stupid conspiracy theories - or smart fakes, designed to discredit conspirational thinking and distract them from the real conspiracies. Take your pick.

" then whole Cold War was fake."

Wow, now here's a conspiracy theory to sink one's teeth into. That would make a great Matrix/MI/Bourne sequel.

Pat Casey > , September 5, 2016 at 11:48 pm GMT

@Decius Kristol is a Straussian because he got a PhD in PolPhil from Harvard under Mansfield, who is a Straussian. There is no necessary connection between Strauss's thought any of the main tenets of Neo-conservatism. I've said, and you've all ignored, that Strauss attacked data-driven social science, which is the original hallmark of neo-conservatism. A later hallmark (which emerged after Strauss's death) was foreign policy hawkism. Unless you want to say that Strauss's opposition to the USSR makes him a neo-con, in which case every Cold War liberal going back to Truman was a neo-con. At which point the term has no meaning.

Strauss addresses scholars and potential philosophers. He has almost nothing to say about the transient issues of his age. Based on his comments on what other thinkers had to say about war (Thucydides above all) I believe we can infer that Strauss was generally in favor of preparedness and wariness but otherwise anti-war in the general sense. If we may analogize the Iraq War to the Sicilian Expedition we may say that Strauss probably would have opposed the former as imprudent, just as he tacitly endorses T's judgement that the latter was imprudent.

Strauss openly characterizes Machiavelli's approach to philosophy as a conspiracy, using that word, but does not say it about any other thinker. However, his teaching that philosophy is an inherently elite and very small enterprise may be fairly characterized as a "conspiracy." however, before modernity, the nature of the conspiracy was to protect the conspirators and the philosophic life, not a reform campaign. that's what it becomes under modernity, which Strauss opposes. One of Strauss's aims in writing was to revive the ancient idea of philosophy, its proper scope, and its proper relationship to society, which he believed modernity had corrupted.

It is unfortunate that Strauss became a bogey-man to so many who have no idea what he said or why. It happened rather recently and based on some very thin scholarship. Most of the thing people try to pin on him are things that I and my friends oppose too. We just know they don't trace to Strauss. In fact, the opposite is often true. Thanks for that response, gave me a better perspective of the man. I guess he did know who he was writing for. And I do think the way to write for history is to write history by disregarding topical preoccupations, except to damn them with faint praise. I have a master like that I always go back to on the topic I care about most.

And actually the one work of Strauss's I have picked up, years ago, is his Machiavelli; it's one of the thousands of books I've read! not though one of the few I finished. Brushing up just now by way of wikipedia, it doesn't look like Strauss staked his claim strong enough, if an original reading is what he was writing.

By the way, I know the Irishman John Toland was the first to publish on the esoteric-exoteric distinction, and coined the term pantheist on a related occasion when he named what new beast Spinoza had born. That was when an esoteric mode of writing was really needed, and you will hear The Ethics called esoteric or cryptic, but I know the work well, and it is no more esoteric than any work of genius that teaches you to read closely right at the start.

Is The Prince an esoteric work? Did it entertain a conspiracy with special readers? I suppose only if Machiavelli had individuals in mind who might wonder were they all the while in mind when he was writing about how to dispose of them. The point is, there's nothing profound about observing that, it's almost common sense if you take into account the first thing about Machiavelli's circumstance.

I won't be glib and write Strauss's method off as typically paranoid; it's creative, but bound to be too creative by half. I think it might lead readers to have more fun than's good for learning.

Wizard of Oz > , September 6, 2016 at 12:15 am GMT

@Decius Kristol is a Straussian because he got a PhD in PolPhil from Harvard under Mansfield, who is a Straussian. There is no necessary connection between Strauss's thought any of the main tenets of Neo-conservatism. I've said, and you've all ignored, that Strauss attacked data-driven social science, which is the original hallmark of neo-conservatism. A later hallmark (which emerged after Strauss's death) was foreign policy hawkism. Unless you want to say that Strauss's opposition to the USSR makes him a neo-con, in which case every Cold War liberal going back to Truman was a neo-con. At which point the term has no meaning.

Strauss addresses scholars and potential philosophers. He has almost nothing to say about the transient issues of his age. Based on his comments on what other thinkers had to say about war (Thucydides above all) I believe we can infer that Strauss was generally in favor of preparedness and wariness but otherwise anti-war in the general sense. If we may analogize the Iraq War to the Sicilian Expedition we may say that Strauss probably would have opposed the former as imprudent, just as he tacitly endorses T's judgement that the latter was imprudent.

Strauss openly characterizes Machiavelli's approach to philosophy as a conspiracy, using that word, but does not say it about any other thinker. However, his teaching that philosophy is an inherently elite and very small enterprise may be fairly characterized as a "conspiracy." however, before modernity, the nature of the conspiracy was to protect the conspirators and the philosophic life, not a reform campaign. that's what it becomes under modernity, which Strauss opposes. One of Strauss's aims in writing was to revive the ancient idea of philosophy, its proper scope, and its proper relationship to society, which he believed modernity had corrupted.

It is unfortunate that Strauss became a bogey-man to so many who have no idea what he said or why. It happened rather recently and based on some very thin scholarship. Most of the thing people try to pin on him are things that I and my friends oppose too. We just know they don't trace to Strauss. In fact, the opposite is often true. Fascinating. A reminder that one should five lives lived to 120 so one can lots of stories right .

Bill Jones > , September 6, 2016 at 1:04 am GMT

@Gene Tuttle I've often used the argument myself that conspiracies inevitably have short shelf lives in the US because it was so difficult for Americans to keep secrets. The article makes a useful point in suggesting that secret plots, even after being revealed, may nevertheless remain widely ignored. Ideology, group-think, pack journalism etc. are powerful forces, often subconsciously at work, preventing alternative theories from developing legs.

Though long an admirer of Karl Popper, I hadn't strongly associated him with attacks on conspiracy theories per se. As an American "outsider" living abroad most of my adult life, I've all too often encountered those who assumed my background alone explained an argument of mine that they didn't like. Popper had hit the nail on the head when he wrote about

"a widespread and dangerous fashion of our time...of not taking arguments seriously, and at their face value, at least tentatively, but of seeing in them nothing but a way in which deeper irrational motives and tendencies express themselves." It was "the attitude of looking at once for the unconscious motives and determinants in the social habitat of the thinker, instead of first examining the validity of the argument itself."
The powerful nazi and communist ideologies of his day assumed that one's " blood " or " class " precluded "correct" thinking. Those politically incorrect challengers to their own totalitarian weltanschauung were (to put it mildly) persecuted as conspirators. No doubt, as Ron Unz notes, Popper's personal experience "contributed the depth of his feelings" -- I would say skepticism – about conspiracy claims.

But the author of the " Open Society " had an open mind and I suspect he'd find the thesis reasonable that real conspiracies can both be uncovered and largely ignored because so many simply opt to ignore them. In such cases, evidence and "not taking arguments seriously" often reflects "intellectual groupieism," emotions, professional insecurities as well as venal collective interests. Nice try.

The Manhattan Project was successfully kept secret despite its scope and the fact that it consumed 17% of the electricity production of the entire US.

exiled off mainstreet > , September 6, 2016 at 1:14 am GMT

@Miro23 The British and Americans have been the victims of conspiracies (False Flag operations) for years.

For example:

The Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel (headquarters of the British Mandate Government of Palestine) in which Zionist activists dressed as Arabs placed milk churns filled with explosives against the main columns of the building killing 91 people and injuring 44. Israeli prime Minister Netanyahu, attended a celebration to commemorate the event.

Operation Susannah (Lavon Affair) where Israeli operatives impersonating Arabs bombed British and American cinemas, libraries and educational centers in Egypt to destabilize the country and keep British troops committed to the Middle East.

Or June 8, 1967, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty with unmarked aircraft and torpedo boats. 34 men were killed and 171 wounded, with the attack in international waters following over nine hours of close surveillance. When the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime. Original plan to blame the sinking with all lives lost on the Egyptians and draw the US into the war.

Or Israelis and U.S. Zionists appearing all over the most recent WTC 9/11 "Operation" with Israelis once again impersonating Arabs in a historic deception/terror action of a type that seems to carry a lot of kudos with old Israeli ex-terrorist Likudniks. Israeli agents were sent to film the historic day (as they later admitted on Israeli TV), with the celebrations including photos of themselves with a background of the burning towers where thousands of Americans were being incinerated.

Iraq was destroyed as a result of 9/11 but unfortunately for the conspirators, the momentum wasn't sufficient for a general war including Iran. Also the general war would have included the nuclear angle and justified the activation of a neo-con led Emergency Regime (dictatorship) in the US enforced with the newly printed Patriot Act and Homeland Security troops - or maybe that's just another Conspiracy Theory? The Israelis learned their false flag lesson from the Nazis, who used concentration camp inmates dressed as Polish soldiers as part of a phony attack on the frontier radio station "Sender Gleiwitz" a day or so before they invaded Poland.

exiled off mainstreet > , September 6, 2016 at 1:44 am GMT

@Darin Yes, why?

If you want to start a war, would you want to start with great defeat and loss of your fleet?

In the thirties, there were three cases of false flag attacks created to justify a war.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukden_Incident
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelling_of_Mainila

In none of these cases the attacker actually killed thousands of his own soldiers, what would be the point? I didn't notice Gleiwitz was mentioned in another posting before I mentioned it. I tend go along with you and suspect incompetence rather than purpose was the cause of the Pearl Harbor disaster, though the incompetence may have included failure to adequately warn those on the ground at Pearl Harbor. Personally, I don't back the "truther" version of the twin towers because that would have required a broader conspiracy than I think could have succeeded. My guess is that the neighboring building was destroyed as part of the cleanup effort. I do think, however, that the authorities knew something was up, didn't believe it could ever succeed and used it as a sort of Reichstag Fire incident to brush aside constitutional democracy in the US. I also suspect that the Mossad knew more than they let on. My guess is that if Gore rather than Bush had been in power that history would have been far different. I suspect that the anthrax thing was more likely started by the yankee regime as a home-grown conspiracy.

Decius > , September 6, 2016 at 1:51 am GMT

@Pat Casey Thanks for that response, gave me a better perspective of the man. I guess he did know who he was writing for. And I do think the way to write for history is to write history by disregarding topical preoccupations, except to damn them with faint praise. I have a master like that I always go back to on the topic I care about most.

And actually the one work of Strauss's I have picked up, years ago, is his Machiavelli; it's one of the thousands of books I've read--- not though one of the few I finished. Brushing up just now by way of wikipedia, it doesn't look like Strauss staked his claim strong enough, if an original reading is what he was writing.

By the way, I know the Irishman John Toland was the first to publish on the esoteric-exoteric distinction, and coined the term pantheist on a related occasion when he named what new beast Spinoza had born. That was when an esoteric mode of writing was really needed, and you will hear The Ethics called esoteric or cryptic, but I know the work well, and it is no more esoteric than any work of genius that teaches you to read closely right at the start.

Is The Prince an esoteric work? Did it entertain a conspiracy with special readers? I suppose only if Machiavelli had individuals in mind who might wonder were they all the while in mind when he was writing about how to dispose of them. The point is, there's nothing profound about observing that, it's almost common sense if you take into account the first thing about Machiavelli's circumstance.

I won't be glib and write Strauss's method off as typically paranoid; it's creative, but bound to be too creative by half. I think it might lead readers to have more fun than's good for learning. First, if you are at all interested in esotericism, I cannot recommend highly enough Philosophy Between the Lines by Meltzer. The only thing critical I can say about this book is that, if one is really an expert in one of the thinkers that Meltzer treats, one will read the passages on that thinker that Meltzer cites and say "So what? I've known that for years. He's shed no new light." Which is true. But irrelevant to what he's trying to do. The book presents an unassailable case that philosophy has been esoteric since Plato. Esotericism long predates Spinoza and has been discussed since ancient times. Strauss simply revived a concept that had been forgotten. Toland (who I am not that familiar with) wrote before esotericism as it were "lapsed." Strauss says that Goethe and Lessing were the last to write this way. When Strauss revived knowledge of esotericism in the late 1930s with the first Xenophon article, he was considered nuts.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

I would recommend in addition Strauss's book on Spinoza and especially the much later preface that he wrote when he felt he finally understood Spinoza's esotericism.

Yes, the Prince (and the Discourses , and Art of War , and Florentine Histories ) are esoteric. It's too complex to argue in a comment thread. Suffice it to say for now that the outrageous "kill that dude" teachings serve and exoteric purpose.

anonymous > , Disclaimer September 6, 2016 at 2:18 am GMT

@exiled off mainstreet I didn't notice Gleiwitz was mentioned in another posting before I mentioned it. I tend go along with you and suspect incompetence rather than purpose was the cause of the Pearl Harbor disaster, though the incompetence may have included failure to adequately warn those on the ground at Pearl Harbor. Personally, I don't back the "truther" version of the twin towers because that would have required a broader conspiracy than I think could have succeeded. My guess is that the neighboring building was destroyed as part of the cleanup effort. I do think, however, that the authorities knew something was up, didn't believe it could ever succeed and used it as a sort of Reichstag Fire incident to brush aside constitutional democracy in the US. I also suspect that the Mossad knew more than they let on. My guess is that if Gore rather than Bush had been in power that history would have been far different. I suspect that the anthrax thing was more likely started by the yankee regime as a home-grown conspiracy.

My guess is that if Gore rather than Bush had been in power that history would have been far different.

Joe Lieberman was Gore's running mate. Lieberman had the Patriot Act on a shelf waiting for an opportunity !

While holding the chair of the "Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs," Lieberman introduced on October 11, 2001, Senate Bill 1534, to establish the US Department of Homeland Security.

Anticipating the bill's certain passage, Lieberman gave himself automatic chairmanship after he changed the name of his committee to, "The Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Government Affairs."

Since then, Lieberman has been the main force behind legislation such as:
-1- The USA Patriot Act
-2- Protect America Act
-3- National Emergency Centers Establishment Act
-4- The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation Act
-5- The Terrorist Expatriation Act, and the proposed
-6- Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act.

Rurik > , September 6, 2016 at 2:40 am GMT

Thank you Mr. Unz, for this excellent- and circumspect and salient- article.

His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.

I'll just add that from what I've glimmered, (I'm definitely no expert on Leo Strauss), Strauss' philosophy contained more than just a careful consideration of 'conspiracy theories' and how they should be handled, but that what he advocated was a small group of highly motivated elite zealots (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, et al) who would not just use power to control the narrative vis-a-vis conspiracy theories, but more to the point, would be the men who would conspire to alter the realities that required a mocking of "conspiracy theories" in the first place.

From what I understand, one of his motivating themes was that his acolytes would come to understand that they shouldn't be guided by trite, pedestrian notions of morality when being the agents of change in the world. And that rather, they should use his teachings as a way to see the world as exceptional men, who would boldly do things others might shrink from, out of hackneyed notions of probity.

Perhaps the best quote I know of to describe Straussianism (as I understand it) was made by a man who wasn't one of his actual students, but who certainly would have been well acquainted and worked closely with others who were; Karl Rove, when speaking to an aid:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality!judiciously, as you will!we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

that quote for me, describes Straussianism to a T. And if so, certainty dovetails with what happened during the reign of Bush-the lesser. Especially with something as audacious as 911.

That at least, is how I've seen it

As for the control of the media, I think most of your readers are certainly aware of that particular conundrum and its consequences. It is literally impossible to be too cynical as regards our media and government and CIA and other shenanigans, IMHO.

Thanks again sir.

SolontoCroesus > , September 6, 2016 at 2:50 am GMT

@Decius First, if you are at all interested in esotericism, I cannot recommend highly enough Philosophy Between the Lines by Meltzer. The only thing critical I can say about this book is that, if one is really an expert in one of the thinkers that Meltzer treats, one will read the passages on that thinker that Meltzer cites and say "So what? I've known that for years. He's shed no new light." Which is true. But irrelevant to what he's trying to do. The book presents an unassailable case that philosophy has been esoteric since Plato. Esotericism long predates Spinoza and has been discussed since ancient times. Strauss simply revived a concept that had been forgotten. Toland (who I am not that familiar with) wrote before esotericism as it were "lapsed." Strauss says that Goethe and Lessing were the last to write this way. When Strauss revived knowledge of esotericism in the late 1930s with the first Xenophon article, he was considered nuts.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

I would recommend in addition Strauss's book on Spinoza and especially the much later preface that he wrote when he felt he finally understood Spinoza's esotericism.

Yes, the Prince (and the Discourses , and Art of War , and Florentine Histories ) are esoteric. It's too complex to argue in a comment thread. Suffice it to say for now that the outrageous "kill that dude" teachings serve and exoteric purpose.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

Nonsense.

Maurizio Viroli has dedicated his life to scholarship on Machiavelli. He reads and understands The Prince (and Machiavelli's other works and life) in the context in which they were written, taking account of the finest details of Machiavelli's human, psychological, and spiritual evolution in the course of career and writing. Viroli walks in Niccolo's footsteps; like Machiavelli, he "puts on the garments" of 15th century Florence, and Rome, and the French and Germanic cities where Machiavelli traveled to represent Florence.

Strauss may satisfy those inclined to engage in exercise in Talmudic argument, but Machiavelli was Italian, Florentine, and Roman; Dante was his constant companion; he was also conversant in Old and New Testament literature and, less extensively, with the relatively newly rediscovered Greek philosophers.

Strauss does not understand Machiavelli's thoughts on religion because he fails to separate Niccolo's Christian, Danteian spirituality from his disgust with the corruption of the Roman Catholic papacy and institutional church.

If you want intellectual showmanship and hair-splitting, Strauss on Machiavelli's your man. If you want to understand the soul of Niccolo Machiavelli and the complexities of political life in the Florence, Italy he lived in and loved, you can't do better than Maurizio Viroli.

Machiavelli and Republicanism

http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/history/history-ideas-and-intellectual-history/machiavelli-and-republicanism?format=PB

Redeeming the Prince

http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/681223

For Love of Country: An Essay on Patriotism and Nationalism

http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0198293585.001.0001/acprof-9780198293583

(Strauss twists Machiavelli's love of country into an evil act because it is not universal. Yet, as one reviewer noted of Strauss, "I would make the case that the best defense of Strauss lies in an understanding of Aristotle and Israel." https://www.amazon.com/German-Stranger-Strauss-National-Socialism/dp/0739147382 )

CanSpeccy > , Website September 6, 2016 at 2:50 am GMT

@biz


you are too quick to conflate 9/11 and the moon landings
Actually, it was Unz himself who stated a while back that if we admit that one of them is possible, then all are possible, or something more or less to that effect.

In an case, the 9/11 controlled demolition / missile / flight 93 is in a hangar in Cleveland stuff is just as implausible as faking the moon landings. Too many people and organizations and countries needing to be in on it, etc. biz, you obviously missed it. Bill Jones, above , debunked your argument even before you made it.

Pat Casey > , September 6, 2016 at 3:31 am GMT

@Rurik Thank you Mr. Unz, for this excellent- and circumspect and salient- article.


His main problem with "conspiracy theories" was not that they were always false, but they might often be true, and therefore their spread was potentially disruptive to the smooth functioning of society. So as a matter of self-defense, elites needed to actively suppress or otherwise undercut the unauthorized investigation of suspected conspiracies.
I'll just add that from what I've glimmered, (I'm definitely no expert on Leo Strauss), Strauss' philosophy contained more than just a careful consideration of 'conspiracy theories' and how they should be handled, but that what he advocated was a small group of highly motivated elite zealots (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, et al) who would not just use power to control the narrative vis-a-vis conspiracy theories, but more to the point, would be the men who would conspire to alter the realities that required a mocking of "conspiracy theories" in the first place.

From what I understand, one of his motivating themes was that his acolytes would come to understand that they shouldn't be guided by trite, pedestrian notions of morality when being the agents of change in the world. And that rather, they should use his teachings as a way to see the world as exceptional men, who would boldly do things others might shrink from, out of hackneyed notions of probity.

Perhaps the best quote I know of to describe Straussianism (as I understand it) was made by a man who wasn't one of his actual students, but who certainly would have been well acquainted and worked closely with others who were; Karl Rove, when speaking to an aid:

"That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality!judiciously, as you will!we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

that quote for me, describes Straussianism to a T. And if so, certainty dovetails with what happened during the reign of Bush-the lesser. Especially with something as audacious as 911.

That at least, is how I've seen it...

As for the control of the media, I think most of your readers are certainly aware of that particular conundrum and its consequences. It is literally impossible to be too cynical as regards our media and government and CIA and other shenanigans, IMHO.

Thanks again sir. Nice job. You roped the quote that ran across my mind! I swear these things are in the air. How do you say, the ghost of Leo Strauss was moving men to do what you can't pin on his memory? Well you said it and that settles it. Thank goodness.

Astuteobservor II > , September 6, 2016 at 3:32 am GMT

after snowden, every conspiracy theory got a 99% boost in credibility. he confirmed the big bad boogeymen watching and spying on us all. nothing else is impossible, nothing. every theory is now possible, everything.

Decius > , September 6, 2016 at 3:55 am GMT

@Pat Casey Nice job. You roped the quote that ran across my mind--- I swear these things are in the air. How do you say, the ghost of Leo Strauss was moving men to do what you can't pin on his memory? Well you said it and that settles it. Thank goodness. Wait, a quote from Rove that doesn't even mention Strauss explains everything about Strauss? Are you serious?

I gather you just need a boogeyman and Strauss is the one you've selected. Or, more accurately, have allowed others to select for you.

Decius > , September 6, 2016 at 4:03 am GMT

@SolontoCroesus

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.
Nonsense. Maurizio Viroli has dedicated his life to scholarship on Machiavelli. He reads and understands The Prince (and Machiavelli's other works and life) in the context in which they were written, taking account of the finest details of Machiavelli's human, psychological, and spiritual evolution in the course of career and writing. Viroli walks in Niccolo's footsteps; like Machiavelli, he "puts on the garments" of 15th century Florence, and Rome, and the French and Germanic cities where Machiavelli traveled to represent Florence.

Strauss may satisfy those inclined to engage in exercise in Talmudic argument, but Machiavelli was Italian, Florentine, and Roman; Dante was his constant companion; he was also conversant in Old and New Testament literature and, less extensively, with the relatively newly rediscovered Greek philosophers.

Strauss does not understand Machiavelli's thoughts on religion because he fails to separate Niccolo's Christian, Danteian spirituality from his disgust with the corruption of the Roman Catholic papacy and institutional church. If you want intellectual showmanship and hair-splitting, Strauss on Machiavelli's your man. If you want to understand the soul of Niccolo Machiavelli and the complexities of political life in the Florence, Italy he lived in and loved, you can't do better than Maurizio Viroli.

(Strauss twists Machiavelli's love of country into an evil act because it is not universal. Yet, as one reviewer noted of Strauss, "I would make the case that the best defense of Strauss lies in an understanding of Aristotle and Israel." https://www.amazon.com/German-Stranger-Strauss-National-Socialism/dp/0739147382 ) First, you are wrong that Strauss thinks Machiavelli's patriotism is in itself evil. Strauss says the exact opposite at several points. But he also says that recourse to patriotism does not in itself excuse Machiavelli's recommendations to do evil. Strauss himself comes up with the most persuasive justifications (which are higher than excuses) for Machiavelli's evil sayings. But to understand Strauss's arguments, you would have to read the book and spend a lot of time with it because it is hard.

Viroli is a scholar I respect for a lot of reasons, but not for philosophic depth. The argument about "context" diminishes Machiavelli (and all great thinkers) by presupposing that their thought is time-bound or that they could not think past the horizon of their time. The greatest minds transcend their times and even create new times. There aren't very many such, but Nick was one.

pyrrhus > , September 6, 2016 at 5:37 am GMT

The CIA's Project Mockingbird had all the network news anchors using the words "conspiracy theory" like the brainless parrots that they were. And Americans remain well brainwashed, although it's actually hard to get anything significant done without a "conspiracy."

Pat Casey > , September 6, 2016 at 5:37 am GMT

@Decius First, if you are at all interested in esotericism, I cannot recommend highly enough Philosophy Between the Lines by Meltzer. The only thing critical I can say about this book is that, if one is really an expert in one of the thinkers that Meltzer treats, one will read the passages on that thinker that Meltzer cites and say "So what? I've known that for years. He's shed no new light." Which is true. But irrelevant to what he's trying to do. The book presents an unassailable case that philosophy has been esoteric since Plato. Esotericism long predates Spinoza and has been discussed since ancient times. Strauss simply revived a concept that had been forgotten. Toland (who I am not that familiar with) wrote before esotericism as it were "lapsed." Strauss says that Goethe and Lessing were the last to write this way. When Strauss revived knowledge of esotericism in the late 1930s with the first Xenophon article, he was considered nuts.

Strauss's Machiavelli book is my favorite and I think his best. It is totally "original" in the sense that he took a wildly new path from all previous scholarship. It has basically defined the debate to this day. All subsequent scholarship either follows him, opposes him, or tries to ignore him.

I would recommend in addition Strauss's book on Spinoza and especially the much later preface that he wrote when he felt he finally understood Spinoza's esotericism.

Yes, the Prince (and the Discourses , and Art of War , and Florentine Histories ) are esoteric. It's too complex to argue in a comment thread. Suffice it to say for now that the outrageous "kill that dude" teachings serve and exoteric purpose. Steve weighed in on this a while back and made the point that what we have, what has been handed down to us, that probably is the esoteric stuff. I don't think he even mentioned in the piece how interesting it is that what we have of Aristotle seem to be lecture notes. I suspect that is just because: Aristotle taught Alexander!the teacher knew no felt need to live on as a writer like Plato did. One thing we can say about those lecture notes, we can pretty well imagine they were not written in his prime, hence we're still learning how much good stuff is there; if you know your stuff, you know as late as the late Richard Taylor that the philosopher was yet outdoing us moderns in a point he makes like an afterthought but could not matter more. But so anyways, what we have is the distilled Aristotle probably from his golden years; if we also had it in any other form, it might read comparatively mercilessly for being too esoteric. As we know him it is impossible to imagine Aristotle writing dialogues, debating other voices ; one need not name rivals when one has none and he was the King's philosopher. What you can't say is no he was being disorganized on purpose to be esoteric, right?

But take Plato. I assume if you could read ancient Greek as well as Plato could, you would find many a double meaning at crucial turns but I really have no idea save the gut instinct that the man was an inspired writer when he wrote which is to say a poet. And what a poet does is let the muse speak and summon such nice lines as "The Beauty is not the Madness/ Though my errors and wrecks lie about me/and I am not a demigod, I cannot make it cohere." The errors that lie about him strewn about him as it were, they lie about how good he was when he was at his best. A tongue like a double-bladed sword says the Bible. I imagine some of Ezra Pound's radio rants need a second listen with less tense nerves; they say the Italians suspected he was transmitting code. Anyways. Imagine how much can be said for the stories we tell ourselves .how many former selves does any one wind up with? you have to ask your self.

Scholasticism, well you could almost say that's all about no secret handshake shit. Make sure them key words get nailed down and no tricks or to the tower you got cause to go.

Spinoza, oh we know exactly where his mystery lies. Edwin Curley said:

"In responding to this objection, I think I had best begin by confessing candidly that in spite of many years of study, I still do not feel that I understand this part of the Ethics at all adequately. I feel the freedom to confess that, of course, because I also believe that no one else understands it adequately either"

What objection? The one that says, nothing of the mind should remain eternal after the body has been destroyed if there is only one substance! We could have gone to grad school on this paper is what the man said, but first pay respects to what that meant to him personally, cause he probably escaped with his life when he did, but he knew his disciples would keep his mind alive. But seriously I should touch this up and send it somewhere:

It must be said that the elegance of this deduction is striking. God's idea of the human body corresponds with the mind's idea of the human body. The crucial move that turns the correspondence into a startling claim is that God's idea expresses the essence of the body, while the mind's idea expresses the essence of the mind. Through the initial correspondence, God's eternal essence expressed as an idea of the body adopts the essence of the mind. Thus, when the body dies, something of the essence of the mind remains eternal. With that, Spinoza culminates his masterpiece.

" Since what is conceived, with a certain eternal necessity, through God's essence itself, is nevertheless something, this something that pertains to the essence of the mind will necessarily be eternal." Besides being an Eternalist, Spinoza is also an Idealist. It fits then that he should leave something of the mind remaining eternally, rather than what a strict Eternalist would leave, that is, something of the mind and body. But recall that Spinoza's something that pertains to the essence of the mind is the idea of the body . In the final analysis, his system coheres.

That's terribly poignant too, because it shows he went back to his roots in the end: "The soul will blame the body for its actions."

Anyways I've spent myself and who wants to talk about Nietzsche, really. That guy was an antenna for a frequency that was broadcasting Noh drama directly into his soul while he wrote his Zarathustra, and I don't believe he ever came back from that!he had all the inside jokes he could tell to himself in perpetuity. But I gotta say, one time I ran into this guys blog who had let Nietzsche drive him insane, and he had comprehensively worked out to an absolute end the thesis his whole philosophy was to understand that a formal Matriarchy was what's good and here's why that's the necessity. If that is true its too hysterical to ever argue with no hint of mania. So I felt bad for the guy.

But what the other guy said rings truest to me. And I'd just add that Paul Gottfried's observation that Strauss winds up treating a text a lot like the Deconstructions do does not entirely fail Strauss for me. The fundamental truth to them is something every one of us around can understand: these words we type, the ain't alive on quick lips, which is what gets some of us into more trouble than others.

I definitely check out the book, but one must be cautious when resurrecting phantoms.

Pat Casey > , September 6, 2016 at 6:18 am GMT

@Decius Wait, a quote from Rove that doesn't even mention Strauss explains everything about Strauss? Are you serious?

I gather you just need a boogeyman and Strauss is the one you've selected. Or, more accurately, have allowed others to select for you. Don't miss my longer reply, in the cue, plus this one, but put the boogeyman business to bed and put your defenses down . I can't say it any other way: I think the spirit of Leo Strauss may well have moved men to move mountains and mountains otherwise called federal bureaucracies and divisions of armies. It might explain not "everything" about Strauss but indeed whats essential about Strauss, which is that you are right, I suspect he was special. Step back for a second and forget that those Bush bastards were bastards and just estimate the nerve it takes to pull off 9/11 and then go into Afghanistan and Iraq. We can all at least agree, that's somthin.

5371 > , September 6, 2016 at 6:20 am GMT

@Decius At any rate it's sort of absurd to watch you people chase your tails. All that you "know" or think you know is that Strauss is bad. But Schmitt is good. But Strauss is derivative of Schmitt. Doesn't that make Strauss good, or Schmitt bad?

Schmitt is famous for arguing in favor of the essential particularity of politics--i.e., against alleged neocon universalism. So if Strauss is derivative of Schmitt, how can he be a neocon universalist?

Strauss in fact agrees with Schmitt on the essential particularity of politics and says so, but finds a deeper source, with deeper arguments, in Plato. Schmitt admitted that his own attempt to fortify his particularism was build on the quick-sandy foundation of modern rationalism, which Strauss taught him to see through. When you can pin Strauss down to a definite meaning, it is false, banal or both. He is usually too obfuscatory to be pinned down. Schmitt is easy to understand and shows you true things you had not thought of before.

dismasdolben > , September 6, 2016 at 6:23 am GMT

My favourite historical conspiracy is the so-called "Gunpowder Plot," which is still, despite all of the evidence that has been discovered in more modern times, represented in history books, as being exclusively the work of disgruntled Catholic noblemen and their Jesuit confessors. It was actually a government projection of the Cecil ministry, completely riddled with moles who nurtured it along, right up until the point when it could be revealed to the public for maximum political effect, and to the King, so that he would become more terrorified, and, thus, more dependent upon the Cecils and their "constitutionalist" Puritan proteges. The "evidence" has, indeed, always been in plain sight, and it has been dealt with in numerous books, such as The Gunpowder Plot, Faith and Treason , by Antonia Fraser, and another book, entitled "God's Secret Agents,' but, still, to this day, the myth of conspiring priests is still propagated in atavistic anti-Catholic British history.

Wizard of Oz > , September 6, 2016 at 7:42 am GMT

@Miro23 Being smart has nothing to do with it.

For example the government says that WTC7 completely collapsed in 7 seconds due to fire. You don't need to be smart to see something is wrong here (hint: most of the structural pillars were untouched by fire). I see the biggest problem about a conspiratorial explanation for the WTC 7 collapse is motive. How does it make sense for those who wanted the big splash that hitting buildings 1 and 2 would give? The other major difficulty is the video footage of fires burning all day which had to have heated the steel and therefore potentially weakened it to a critical point. Where's the mystery?

Old fogey > , September 6, 2016 at 8:28 am GMT

@Laurel The best strategy is to foster implausible conspiracy theories to create a cloud of disinformation. This technique was used very effectively after 9/11, such that it's very hard to discuss a coverup without being labeled a truther. Thank you for inserting the word "truther" into the conversation. It has always fascinated me that someone searching for the truth about a political issue is now automatically considered a conspiracy theorist.

Moi > , September 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm GMT

@Rehmat There are more so-called "conspiracy theories" claimed by the US government, CIA, and organized Jewry than the Jews may have been killed by the Nazis. The "conspiracy theorists" like the "terrorists" are chosen by the Zionist-controlled mainstream media.

Like the September 11, 2001 attacks, the lie that Iran's president Ahmadinejad called, WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP, is still kept alive by the Organized Jewry even though Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor admitted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said Iran wanted to "wipe Israel off the face of the map" in an interview with Al Jazeera in April 2012.

American investigative writer and author, Robert Parry, claimed on September 19, 2009 that Ahmadinejad never denied Holocaust. He just challenged Israel and the western powers to allow an open debate to find the truth behind the Zionist Holy Cow, "Six Million Died".

In reality, the only country that has been 'wiped off the map' is the 5,000-year-old Palestine by Europe's unwanted Jews.

Iran's current president Dr. Hassan Rouhani like Dr. Ahmadinejad, is also blamed for denying the Zionist Holy Holocaust as parroted by Wiesel, which he never did, saying it's up to historians to decide who's lying.

https://rehmat1.com/2013/09/28/holocaust-the-word-rouhani-never-uttered/ If the Zionists can lie so much about Israeli history (e.g. The Arabs encouraged Palestinians to flee, that the Arabs were about to attack Israel in 1967, land without a people for a people without a land, etc.), one can only wonder about the official holocaust narrative of 6M dead, gas chambers, etc.).

I've not read Elie Weisel's book Night, but I understand that no where does he mention gas chambers in Auschwitz .

[Sep 21, 2017] Hysteria in America -- Congress Filled With Totalitarians Who Oppose

Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, American legislators have published a bill that could potentially block Russian broadcasters from being shown in the US. It could allow US content providers to break their contracts, leaving Russian channels without any legal recourse. ..."
"... "prohibit multichannel video programming distributors from being required to carry certain video content that is owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation" ..."
"... Why the focus on Russia, in what's supposed to be an annual defense spending bill? ..."
"... As we mentioned, various foreign governments fund TV channels in America, but only Russia gets a mention in this bill. Is that a case of double-standards? Should the attention just solely be on Russia? ..."
"... Does it look like this measure has been deliberately buried in a huge defense bill to avoid scrutiny? Or do you expect debate on this? ..."
"... 'Investigate Russia' ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from RT . ..."
Sep 21, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

'Free Market of Ideas' by RT

There are members of Congress who don't want anyone on TV saying America's foreign policy is a disaster and it costs a fortune, Daniel McAdams, executive director, Ron Paul Institute, told RT.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the fiscal year 2018, which passed the US Senate earlier this week, carries some added provisions that have little in common with the military.

Indeed, American legislators have published a bill that could potentially block Russian broadcasters from being shown in the US. It could allow US content providers to break their contracts, leaving Russian channels without any legal recourse.

The plan is buried inside a tiny amendment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The part about Russia is summarized in just a few lines, between details on funding of the US military.

Amendment No 1096 , which aims to "prohibit multichannel video programming distributors from being required to carry certain video content that is owned or controlled by the Government of the Russian Federation" .

RT: Why the focus on Russia, in what's supposed to be an annual defense spending bill?

Daniel McAdams: There is an obsession on Capitol Hill and within the mainstream media with RT because RT is effective and RT is watched. But also, and this is very important because RT carries perspectives that are not available in the mainstream media. Commentators on RT that I know would say the same thing that they say on RT if they were invited by any of the mainstream media, but they won't. The matter of fact is that John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the people who were behind this amendment, the Atlantic Council and the others are trying to silence RT. They are the totalitarians, they are the enemies of free speech; they're the enemies of the First Amendment; they don't want anyone coming on television saying that America's foreign policy is a disaster; it is broken; it is making us more vulnerable to attack, and it's costing a fortune. It cannot stand competition in the area of ideas.

RT: As we mentioned, various foreign governments fund TV channels in America, but only Russia gets a mention in this bill. Is that a case of double-standards? Should the attention just solely be on Russia?

DM: The attention should be on none of these stations. It should be viewer beware. If you're watching RT and you know that it is funded, or its funding comes from the Russian government, you take that into consideration just as any intelligent person would do. When I watch France 24, when I watch the BBC, I know that that takes the perspectives of the British government into consideration, because it is funded by that.

This is a free market of ideas; this is what this is all about. But the people on Capitol Hill are again totalitarians – they don't want a free market in ideas. They want to control the debate. They don't want Americans to wake up and see that the foreign policy that they are pushing is resulting in a charred Earth and a disaster that is coming home to roost.

RT: Does it look like this measure has been deliberately buried in a huge defense bill to avoid scrutiny? Or do you expect debate on this?

DM: This is how it's done, absolutely. I have read a million defense spending bills in my 15 years on the Hill. This is called planting a seed – you plant this kernel, and it starts to grow. If someone objects, later on, you can say – this is already passed in the defense bill; you've already voted on this; this is already part of the law; this is just suggesting, clarifying, or going further. This is how they do things: you bury it in a huge bill like this; you plant a seed and you watch it grow.

I don't know the exact language in the bill; I am sure Russia is not only the flavor of the month, it is the flavor of the year. There is the 'Investigate Russia' committee , where a bunch of Hollywood liberals got together with a bunch of neocons and are finding reds under our beds. There is a hysteria going on in America. I still would like to believe that the average American thinks it's absolutely nuts; I hope it stays that way. Hopefully, this will blow over at some point, and not blow up .

Hollywood was once on the receiving end of McCarthyism in the 50s, and now it looks like they want to dish out McCarthyism on everyone else.

Reprinted with permission from RT .


Related

[Sep 17, 2017] How to effectively resist truth-killing efforts of various agencies not interested in revealing the truth on the particular subject

Notable quotes:
"... In all those discussions, be it Obamacare, neoclassical economics, neoliberalism, globalization, automation, or supposed Russian interference in elections the key question is how to effectively resist truth-killing efforts of various agencies not interested in revealing the truth on the particular subject. ..."
"... Now those disinformation efforts can be easily amplified via Internet, which serves as a kind of echo-chamber. For example, just a half-dozen of like-minded people can drive Internet discussion in the necessary direction and spam or smear opponents. Essentially such informal cliques are quite capable to dominate discussion in popular blogs. ..."
"... The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth - factual reality - is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. ..."
"... Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. ..."
Jun 27, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova June 27, 2017 at 10:50 AM

In all those discussions, be it Obamacare, neoclassical economics, neoliberalism, globalization, automation, or supposed Russian interference in elections the key question is how to effectively resist truth-killing efforts of various agencies not interested in revealing the truth on the particular subject.

Now those disinformation efforts can be easily amplified via Internet, which serves as a kind of echo-chamber. For example, just a half-dozen of like-minded people can drive Internet discussion in the necessary direction and spam or smear opponents. Essentially such informal cliques are quite capable to dominate discussion in popular blogs.

Paul R. Pillar in his May 2 essay in National interest provided an interesting overview of this problem. While his analyses is related to Trump climate change policies some points have wider applicability:

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/truth-killing-meta-issue-20452?page=2

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth - factual reality - is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject.

Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently.

To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

[Sep 17, 2017] The best technique of obtaining soundbytes and posturing for neoliberal elite is based on so-called wedge issues by Piotr Berman

Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump used alt-right messaging to get into the White House, but he and his third-rate staff haven't the slightest clue of what gave rise to the deplorables in the first place and how to address the root despair of the western working class ..."
"... And all authorities suggest to exploit the despair with soundbites and posturing. Granted, this is a platitude, but how to obtain compelling soundbites and posturing? I think that the best technique is based on so-called wedge issues. ..."
"... A good wedge issue should raise passions on "both sides" but not so much in the "center", mostly clueless undecided voters. ..."
"... Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat. ..."
www.moonofalabama.org
Piotr Berman | May 18, 2017 10:04:50 PM | 77
"Donald Trump used alt-right messaging to get into the White House, but he and his third-rate staff haven't the slightest clue of what gave rise to the deplorables in the first place and how to address the root despair of the western working class." VietnamVet

I do not know how highly rated the staff was, but it was sufficiently high. If the opponent has fourth-rate staff, it would be wasteful to use anything better than third-rate. Figuring what gave rise to the deplorable is a wasted effort, sociologist differ, and in politics the "root causes" matter only a little.

And all authorities suggest to exploit the despair with soundbites and posturing. Granted, this is a platitude, but how to obtain compelling soundbites and posturing? I think that the best technique is based on so-called wedge issues.

A good wedge issue should raise passions on "both sides" but not so much in the "center", mostly clueless undecided voters.

Calibrate your position so it is a good scrap of meat for your "base" while it drives the adversaries to conniptions, the conniptions provide talking points and together, drive the clueless in your direction. Wash, repeat.

[Sep 17, 2017] Joy Reids Politics of Tribalism and Punching Sideways

Sep 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

(Never mind that if Thomas Frank is correct, and the Democrats are the party of the professional classes, the Democrats cannot possibly be the party of "marginalized" people.) Being the sort of person I am, my first thought was to ask myself what the heck Reid could mean by "tribe," and how a "tribe" can act as a political entity.[1] Naturally, I looked to the Internet and did a cursory search; and it turns out that, at least at the scholarly level, the very notion of "tribe" is both contested and a product of colonialism. David Wiley, Department of Sociology and African Studies, Michigan State University, 2013

Tribe, a concept that has endeared itself to Western scholars, journalists, and the public for a century, is primarily a means to reduce for readers the complexity of the non-Western societies of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the American plains. It is no accident that the contemporary uses of the term tribe were developed during the 19th-century rise of evolutionary and racist theories to designate alien non-white peoples as inferior or less civilized and as having not yet evolved from a simpler, primal state. The uses and definitions of 'tribe' in the sociological and anthropological literature are varied and conflicting. Some authors appear to define tribe as common language, others as common culture, some as ancestral lineages, and others as common government or rulers. As anthropologist Michael Olen notes, "The term tribe has never satisfied anthropologists, because of its many uses and connotations. Societies that are classified as tribal seem to be very diverse in their organization, having little in common." Morton H. Fried and this author contend that "the term is so ambiguous and confusing that it should be abandoned by social scientists."

Even more striking is the invention of ethnic (labeled tribal) identities and their varied and plastic salience across the African continent. In some cases, "tribal identifies" have been invented in order to unite colonial and post-colonial clerical workers or other occupational and social groups to serve the interests of the members even though they were not bound together by language or lineage.

In the United States, where similar derogatory language of tribe has been used to characterize and stereotype Native American or First Nations peoples, the identity has been reified in federal legislation that requires "tribes," formerly under the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to accept that formal tribal identification in order to access the hunting, fishing, farming, and casino rights of reservations. Almost humorously, the Menominee peoples of Wisconsin decided to decline that nomenclature because many members lived in Milwaukee and other non-reservation sites; however, they then learned they must reverse that vote and re-declare themselves as "a tribe" in order to regain their reservation rights.

So, from the 30,000 foot level, it seems unlikely that what scholars mean (or do not mean) by "tribe" is the same as what Reid means, simply because there is no coherent meaning to be had.[2] My second thought was to try to fit "tribe" into the framework of identity politics, where tribes would be identities, or possibly bundles of allied[3] identities. Here's a handy chart showing the various ways that identity can be conceptualized, from Jessica A. Clarke*, "Identity and Form," California Law Review , 2015:

(Clarke gives definitions of ascriptive, elective, and formal identity -- for Adolph Reed on ascriptive identity, see here -- but I think the definitions are clear enough for our purposes from the examples in the table.) However, if we look back to Reid's quote, we see that she conflates ascriptive identity ("black or brown") with elective identity ("the sort of Pabst Blue Ribbon voter, the kind of Coors Lite-drinking voter")[4], and also conflates both of those with formal identity (if one's ethnicity be defined by one's own citizenship papers, or those of one's parents, or a changed surname; one thinks of Asian cultures putting the family name last in American culture, for example). So there is no coherence to be found here, either.

Let's return then to Reid's words, and look to her operational definition:

which party goes out and find more people who are like them

It's not clear to me whether Reid conceptualize parties as tribes, or as meta-tribes of tribes bundled together; I'm guessing the latter. Here is an example of Reid's conceptualizations ("like" each other) in action. From Teen Vogue , "Amandla Stenberg and Janelle Monáe Open Up About Racism and Where They Were During the Election" (2017). Somewhat too much of this, but the build-up is important:

AMANDLA STENBERG: Janelle frigging Monáe!?

JANELLE MONÁE: Hi, sweetie. You know I love, love, love you. First: pronouns! I want to make sure that I'm being respectful of how I'm referring to you. I know that the way we view ourselves and how we want to be addressed can change depending on where we are in life.

AS: I love that you asked me! Thank you. I have felt at times that she/her pronouns weren't entirely fitting, but I've never felt uncomfortable with them. It's more important for me to open up that conversation around pronouns and how gender itself is a construct that doesn't make much sense in our society.

JM: Got it. I remember seeing you for the first time in Colombiana, and then, like many people, I was drawn to your character in The Hunger Games as Rue. I'm a huge sci-fi nerd, so just seeing this little black girl in a dystopian world being a hero for an oppressed community, I was intrigued! The way you embodied this character felt like you were mature enough to understand how important she was to the movie but also how important the Rues all over the world are to our society.

AS: That's one of the best compliments that I've received! I remember we saw each other at the Tyler, the Creator show; we took a picture with Solange. You were wearing a jacket that said "black girl magic" on it, and I flipped out.

JM: Me, too! I was like, I am right between you and Solange, two people who are the epitome of black girl magic! I saw you later on, and you had just shot Everything, Everything, which, by the way, you are incredible in. The original story was written by a black woman [NicolaYoon], and your director [Stella Meghie] is also a black woman. What was going through your mind as you were considering the role?

AS: I kind of wrote it off initially because I figured it was one of those instances where I was receiving a script for a YA romance project that was intended for a white actress. I thought maybe they'd float the idea of casting it in a more diverse manner but that ultimately it wouldn't end up going that direction, because that's happened to me a lot. Then I realized that this project was based on a book written by a black woman and that the casting was intentionally diverse. I'd never seen a story like this made for an interracial couple. I'm not someone who generally has a pop or mainstream sensibility, but I see the incredible power of infiltrating these larger movies that show a lot of people who we are and how diverse and beautiful our community is. I thought it would be really powerful to see a black girl [lead] character like Maddy who is joyous and creative and dimensional specifically marketed to teenagers and young adults. We don't always get to see black women carrying that energy. That's one of the reasons why I respect and love you so much!because I feel like you perpetuate such whimsy and joy!

JM: Aw! Well, whenever I see you doing your thing, I feel like we're from the same tribe because I take a similar approach when I'm choosing projects. With the roles of Teresa in Moonlight and Ms. Mary Jackson in Hidden Figures , they're two women of color from totally different backgrounds and eras!from the hood to NASA, these black women were the backbones of their communities. I thought it was so important to let the rest of the world know that we're not monolithic. And with Hidden Figures in particular, I was so proud to be a part of exposing that if it were not for these women, we would not have gone to space. That's American history! Black history is part of American history, and it should be treated as such.

(Note in passing that I loathe the phrase "open up," which I define as "carefully engineered for a celebrity by public relations professionals." ) Of course, both actors are -- and rightly -- proud of their work, but note the carefully calibrated ways they establish that they are (as Joy Reid says) "like" each other. Oh, and do note the caption: "Miu Miu dress, price upon request." Class snuck in there, didn't it? In fact, we might go so far as to formalize Reid's definition of "tribe" as follows:

Tribes are people who are "like" each other when class is not taken into account

With that, let's take an alternative approach to conceptualizing tribes and tribalism, one that incorporates class. From former Arab Spring activist Iyad El-Baghdadi , I present the following charts, taken from the Twittter . (I'll present each chart, then comment briefly on it.) There are five:

Figure 1: Tribal Divisions

Comment: I'm taking El-Baghdadi's "ethnic affiliation," as a proxy for Reid's "tribe"; the verticality is clearly the same.)

Figure 2: Class Divisions

Comment: El-Baghdadi's representation of class divisions is fine as a visual shorthand, but I don't think it's an accurate representation. I picture the class structure of the United States not as a "normal distribution" with a fat "middle class" (I don't even accept "middle class" as a category) but as a power curve with a very few people at the head of the curve ( the "1%," more like the 0.01% ), followed by a steep shoulder of the 10% (white collar professionals, from Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal ), and trailed by a long tail of wage workers (and unwaged workers, as I suppose we might call the disemployed, unpaid caregivers, System D people like loosie-selling Eric Garner, and so on). If you want to find who hasn't had a raise in forty years, look to the long tail, which I would call l "working class," rather than "lower class."

Figure 3: Privilege Divisions

Comment: Taking once again El-Baghdadi's "ethnic affiliation," as a proxy for Reid's "tribe," and conceptualizing WASPs as a tribe, it's clear to me, if I look at my own history, that I'm more likely ti have good luck than some other tribes. I'm more likely to have intergenerational wealth in the form of a house, or even financial assets, more likely to be highly educated, more likely to have the markers and locutions that enable me to interact successfully with bureaucratic functionaries, etc. I didn't earn any of those advantages; I would have had to have chosen to be born to different parents to avoid them. I think we can agree that if we were looking for an operational definition of justice, this wouldn't be it.

Figure 4: Punching Sideways

Comment: Classically, we have owners following Gould's maxim by bringing in (mostly black) scabs to break the Homestead Strike in 1892, with a resulting "tribal" conflict -- although those scabs might protest -- and rightly -- that (a) they were only trying to provide for their families and (b) that the Jim Crow system had denied them the "good jobs" that in justice would have given them (leaving aside the question of who implemented Jim Crow, and for what material benefits). In modern times we have "tribes" (white, black, Asian, at the least) battling on the field of "affirmative action" having weaponized their ascriptive identities. Here again, representatives of some "tribes" would protest -- and rightly -- that systems like "legacy admissions" give some "tribes" unjust advantage over others, but the hidden assumption is one of resource constraint; given a pie of fixed size, if Tribe A is to have more, Tribe B must have less. Note that programs like "tuition-free college" tend to eliminate the resource constraint, but are "politically feasible" only if Tribes A and B solve their collective action problem, which is unlikely to be done based on tribalism.

Figure 5: Punching Up

Comment: This diagram implies that the only "legitimate" form of seeking justice is vertical, "punching up." This eliminates clear cases where justice is needed within and not between classes, like auto collisions, for example, or the household division of labor. More centrally, the nice thing about thinking vertically is that it eliminates obvious absurdities like "Justice for black people means making the CEO of a major bank black (ignoring the injustices perpetrated using class-based tools disproportionately against black people in, say, the foreclosure crisis, where a generation's-worth of black household wealth was wiped out under America's first black President). Or obvious absurdities where justice is conceived of as a woman, instead of a man, using the power of office to kill thousands of black and brown people, many of them women, to further America's imperial mission.

* * *

Concluding a discussion on politics and power that has barely begun -- and is of great importance if you believe, as I do, that we're on the midst of and ongoing and highly volatile legitimacy crisis that involves the break-up and/or realignment of both major parties -- it seems to me that El-Baghdadi visual representation, which fits tribalism into a class-driven framework, is both analytically coherent (as Reid's usage of "tribe" is not) and points to a way forward from our current political arrangements (as Reid's strategy of bundling "punching sideways" tribes into parties while ignoring class does not). More to come .

NOTES

[Sep 17, 2017] Society has always been divided into two classes: those who write the script, and those who live it; the programmers and the users.

Notable quotes:
"... The narratives are, after all not intended to reveal any truths, but to get their subjects to do something the elites want them to do, and in the course their doing it, to cement the elites' power. Subjects, being what they are, have fallen for lies since the Pharoahs told whoppers to get their peasants to invest in pyramids, or the Archdruids got their's to die hauling and arranging 20T rocks on a dreary plain. ..."
"... As long as a subject can internalize the narrative and live his life as if it was true, that's good enough for him. He simply doesn't need, or even want more truth than that. He never has, and he never will. Elites have known this since the dawn of the Neolithic, maybe earlier. That's what made them elites. Nothing else. ..."
"... Much more interesting is what happens when narratives break down ..."
Sep 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

Anonymous, Disclaimer September 15, 2017 at 8:22 am GMT

@Erebus

This is their starting position: It is a hoax until proven otherwise.
If it's turned out to be a hoax the last 20x it happened, why would you insist on starting at the opposite end? Seems inefficient, no?

What is perhaps even more inefficient on the part of Dinh and Revusky is to go interminably 'round and 'round this spot. Ok, we know that the narratives elites feed their subjects are invariably false. They have to be, or they wouldn't work. Twas ever thus.

The narratives are, after all not intended to reveal any truths, but to get their subjects to do something the elites want them to do, and in the course their doing it, to cement the elites' power. Subjects, being what they are, have fallen for lies since the Pharoahs told whoppers to get their peasants to invest in pyramids, or the Archdruids got their's to die hauling and arranging 20T rocks on a dreary plain.

As long as a subject can internalize the narrative and live his life as if it was true, that's good enough for him. He simply doesn't need, or even want more truth than that. He never has, and he never will. Elites have known this since the dawn of the Neolithic, maybe earlier. That's what made them elites. Nothing else.

Much more interesting is what happens when narratives break down, which is why Dinh's vignettes from the fraying seams of the American Narrative are more fascinating than these half-baked, pseudo-forensic analyses of "terror events". Maybe he thinks too many people still believe these bugaboos and should be brought around to enlightenment. That's as may be, but one wonders whether he understands that if enough people "come around", the forces unleashed are far more disruptive than when they accept, if not believe, the lies.

As long as a subject can internalize the narrative and live his life as if it was true, that's good enough for him. He simply doesn't need, or even want more truth than that. He never has, and he never will. Elites have known this since the dawn of the Neolithic, maybe earlier. That's what made them elites. Nothing else.

In other words, society has always been divided into two classes: those who write the script, and those who live it; the programmers and the users.

What's gone wrong? Are too many people finding the root shell?

[Sep 17, 2017] Anyone using the words, conspiracy theories implicitly subscribe to MSM narrative of events and lack of intellectual patience to analyze events himself. Even if the rumor (aka conspiracy theory ) is wrong if often raises important issues about the weaknesses of the official MSM narrative -- politically correct explanation of the same events

The narratives are, after all not intended to reveal any truths, but to get their subjects to do something the elites want them to do, and in the course their doing it, to cement the elites' power.
Subjects, being what they are, have fallen for lies since the Pharoahs...
As long as a subject can internalize the narrative and live his life as if it was true, that's good enough for him. He simply doesn't need, or even want more truth than that. He never has, and he never will. Elites have known this since the dawn of the Neolithic, maybe earlier. That's what made them elites. Nothing else. Much more interesting is what happens when narratives break down. That's why half-baked, pseudo-forensic analyses of "terror events" falls under the scrutiny lately. One wonders whether he understands that if enough people "come around", the forces unleashed are far more disruptive than when the the lemmings accept, if not believe, the lies.
Notable quotes:
"... Anyone using the words, "conspiracy theories" as used above really shouldn't be lecturing anyone about their lack of good sense or their lack of intellectual patience. In fact, using such mass media promulgated terms shows a gross lack of brain power as well as a paucity of experience, a high degree of susceptibility to propaganda, high titer of naivete, not enough sense to question much, if anything, and poor judgement overall. ..."
"... Someone other than myself coined the term, "coincidence theorist" and that appropriately applies to those who parrot mass media generated concepts and is much more damning. ..."
"... Millions of us have been aware of the "Empire" for years now Linh. We just don't have access to the media expression as you do. We tend to be quiet about it until we sense a person or group is open to this Truth. Most people think inside the box because it's safe, comforting, and lacks unpleasant reactions. We who want the Truth value your articles, because we really do believe that "The Truth will set you free." ..."
Sep 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

jacques sheete, September 15, 2017 at 12:39 pm GMT

@Hairway To Steven Conspiracy theories like those expressed in this article and in many of the comments are for those either lacking the good sense to appreciate that the world is complex or the intellectual patience to sort through that complexity. In the absence of these qualities, conspiracy nuts come up with unified theories that "explain everything" (e.g., the Jews control the world). Actually moving out of the basement of their mom's house, or even losing their virginity, might help, but most of these sweaty little pamphleteers are lost causes whose lives rarely extend beyond a circle of like-minded friends and the insular concerns expressed in their over-heated and under-read blogs.

Conspiracy theories like those expressed in this article and in many of the comments are for those either lacking the good sense to appreciate that the world is complex or the intellectual patience to sort through that complexity.

Or they could be lacking in gullibility, which is much more likely.

Anyone using the words, "conspiracy theories" as used above really shouldn't be lecturing anyone about their lack of good sense or their lack of intellectual patience. In fact, using such mass media promulgated terms shows a gross lack of brain power as well as a paucity of experience, a high degree of susceptibility to propaganda, high titer of naivete, not enough sense to question much, if anything, and poor judgement overall.

Someone other than myself coined the term, "coincidence theorist" and that appropriately applies to those who parrot mass media generated concepts and is much more damning.

Joe Hide, September 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Millions of us have been aware of the "Empire" for years now Linh. We just don't have access to the media expression as you do. We tend to be quiet about it until we sense a person or group is open to this Truth. Most people think inside the box because it's safe, comforting, and lacks unpleasant reactions. We who want the Truth value your articles, because we really do believe that "The Truth will set you free."

[Sep 17, 2017] "Growing more and more unaccustomed to reflect and form any opinions of their own, people will begin to talk in the same tone as we because we alone shall be offering them new directions for thought."

While from a quite questionable source ( The Protocols of the Elders of Zio -- Wikipedia suggests that it was a forgery attributed iether to Russian journalists Matvei Golovinski (Golovinski's role in the writing of the Protocols is disputed by Michael Hagemeister, Richard Levy and Cesare De Michelis) and Manasevich-Manuilov at the direction of Pyotr Rachkovsky , Chief of the Russian secret service in Paris; it was also traced back to works of Goedsche and Jacques Crétineau-Joly Lucien Wolf (an English Jewish journalist). But a dramatic exposé occurred in the series of articles in The Times by its Constantinople reporter, Philip Graves , who discovered the plagiarism from the work of Maurice Joly ). Still the phase reflects the essence of brainwashing pretty well...
Sep 17, 2017 | en.wikipedia.org

[Sep 17, 2017] People fear independent thought for concern that they will be deterred from upward employment mobility. In short, we suffer the enforcement of an institutional hindance to Free Speech.

Sep 17, 2017 | www.unz.com

Art > , September 15, 2017 at 11:24 pm GMT

Fear is "a powerful thing" and such zeitgeist pervades America to an extent that people fear independent thought for concern that they will be deterred from upward employment mobility. In short, we suffer the enforcement of an institutional hindance to Free Speech.

Call it what it is – TERRORISM.

"Terror"
1. Intense, overpowering fear.
2. One that instills intense fear.
3. The ability to instill intense fear.
4. Violence committed or threatened by a group, especially against civilians , in the pursuit of political goals.

... ... ...

[Sep 05, 2017] Is the World Slouching Toward a Grave Systemic Crisis by Philip Zelikow

Highly recommended!
This is a weak and way too long article. That demonstrated inability to think in scientific terms such neoliberalism, neocolonialism and end of cheap oil. Intead it quckly deteriorated into muchy propaganda. But it touches on legacy of Troskyst Burnham, who was one of God fathers of neoliberalism.
Zelikov is the guy who whitewashed 9/11. This neocon does not use the term neoliberalism even once but he writes like a real neoliberal Trotskyite.
Notable quotes:
"... The Managerial State ..."
"... Orwell was profoundly disturbed by Burnham's vision of the emerging "managerial state." All too convincing. Yet he also noticed how, when Burnham described the new superstates and their demigod rulers, Burnham exhibited "a sort of fascinated admiration." ..."
"... Burnham had predicted Nazi victory. Later, Burnham had predicted the Soviet conquest of all Eurasia. By 1947 Burnham was calling for the U.S. to launch a preventive nuclear war against the Soviet Union to head off the coming disaster. ..."
"... Orwell saw a pattern. Such views seemed symptoms of "a major mental disease, and its roots," he argued, which, "lie partly in cowardice and partly in the worship of power, which is not fully separable from cowardice." ..."
"... Orwell had another critique. He deplored the fact that, "The tendency of writers like Burnham, whose key concept is 'realism,' is to overrate the part played in human affairs by sheer force." Orwell went on. "I do not say that he is wrong all the time. But somehow his picture of the world is always slightly distorted." ..."
"... "the fact that certain rules of conduct have to be observed if human society is to hold together at all." ..."
"... Nineteen Eighty-Four. ..."
"... By that time, Burnham had become a consultant to the CIA, advising its new office for covert action. That was the capacity in which Burnham met the young William F. Buckley. Burnham mentored Buckley. It was with Buckley that Burnham became one of the original editors of the National Review ..."
"... Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism ..."
"... What about our current president? Last month he urged his listeners to be ready to fight to the death for the "values" of the West. He named two: "individual freedom and sovereignty. ..."
"... Certainly our history counsels modesty. Americans and the American government have a very mixed and confusing record in the way we have, in practice, related values in foreign governance to what our ..."
"... "A stable world order needs a careful balance between power and legitimacy. Legitimacy is upheld when states, no matter how powerful, observe norms of state behavior." India, Saran said, had the "civilizational attributes." ..."
Sep 05, 2017 | www.theatlantic.com

My first prophet was a man named James Burnham. In 1941 Burnham was 35 years old. From a wealthy family -- railroad money -- he was a star student at Princeton, then on to Balliol College, Oxford. Burnham was an avowed Communist. He joined with Trotsky during the 1930s.

By 1941, Burnham had moved on, as he published his first great book of prophecy, called The Managerial State . The book made him a celebrity. It was widely discussed on both sides of the Atlantic.

Burnham's vision of the future is one where the old ideologies, like socialism, have been left behind. The rulers are really beyond all that. They are the managerial elite, the technocrats, the scientists, and the bureaucrats who manage the all-powerful enterprises and agencies.

You know this vision. You have seen it so often at the movies. It is the vision in all those science fiction dystopias. You know, with the gilded masterminds ruling all from their swank towers and conference rooms.

It's a quite contemporary vision. For instance, it is not far at all from the way I think the rulers of China imagine themselves and their future.

In this and other writings, Burnham held up Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany as the pure exemplars of these emerging managerial states. They were showing the way to the future. By comparison, FDR's New Deal was a primitive version. And he thought it would lose.

Burnham's views were not so unusual among the leading thinkers of the 1940s, like Joseph Schumpeter or Karl Polanyi. All were pessimistic about the future of free societies, including Friedrich Hayek, who really believed that once-free countries were on the "road to serfdom." But Burnham took the logic further.

Just after the second world war ended, my other prophet decided to answer Burnham. You know him as George Orwell.

Eric Blair, who used George Orwell as his pen name, was about Burnham's age. Their backgrounds were very different. Orwell was English. Poor. Orwell's lungs were pretty rotten and he would not live long. Orwell was a democratic socialist who came to loathe Soviet communism. He had volunteered to fight in Spain, was shot through the throat. Didn't stop his writing.

Orwell was profoundly disturbed by Burnham's vision of the emerging "managerial state." All too convincing. Yet he also noticed how, when Burnham described the new superstates and their demigod rulers, Burnham exhibited "a sort of fascinated admiration."

Orwell wrote : For Burnham, "Communism may be wicked, but at any rate it is big: it is a terrible, all-devouring monster which one fights against but which one cannot help admiring." To Orwell, Burnham's mystical picture of "terrifying, irresistible power" amounted to "an act of homage, and even of self-abasement." irresistible power" amounted to "an act of homage, and even of self-abasement."

Burnham had predicted Nazi victory. Later, Burnham had predicted the Soviet conquest of all Eurasia. By 1947 Burnham was calling for the U.S. to launch a preventive nuclear war against the Soviet Union to head off the coming disaster.

Orwell saw a pattern. Such views seemed symptoms of "a major mental disease, and its roots," he argued, which, "lie partly in cowardice and partly in the worship of power, which is not fully separable from cowardice."

Orwell thought that "power worship blurs political judgment because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible."

Orwell had another critique. He deplored the fact that, "The tendency of writers like Burnham, whose key concept is 'realism,' is to overrate the part played in human affairs by sheer force." Orwell went on. "I do not say that he is wrong all the time. But somehow his picture of the world is always slightly distorted."

Finally, Orwell thought Burnham overestimated the resilience of the managerial state model and underestimated the qualities of open and civilized societies. Burnham's vision did not allow enough play for "the fact that certain rules of conduct have to be observed if human society is to hold together at all."

Having written these critical essays, Orwell then tried to make his case against Burnham in another way. This anti-Burnham argument became a novel -- the novel called Nineteen Eighty-Four.

That book came out in 1949. Orwell died the next year.

By that time, Burnham had become a consultant to the CIA, advising its new office for covert action. That was the capacity in which Burnham met the young William F. Buckley. Burnham mentored Buckley. It was with Buckley that Burnham became one of the original editors of the National Review and a major conservative commentator. In 1983, President Reagan awarded Burnham the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Not that Burnham's core vision had changed. In 1964, he published another book of prophecy. This was entitled Suicide of the West: An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism . The Soviet Union and its allies had the will to power. Liberalism and its defenders did not. "The primary issue before Western civilization today, and before its member nations, is survival." (Sound familiar?)

And it was liberalism, Burnham argued, with its self-criticism and lack of commitment, that would pull our civilization down from within. Suicide.

So was Burnham wrong? Was Orwell right? This is a first-class historical question. Burnham's ideal of the "managerial state" is so alive today.

State the questions another way: Do open societies really work better than closed ones? Is a more open and civilized world really safer and better for Americans? If we think yes, then what is the best way to prove that point?

My answer comes in three parts. The first is about how to express our core values. American leaders tend to describe their global aims as the promotion of the right values. Notice that these are values in how other countries are governed. President Obama's call for an "international order of laws and institutions," had the objective of winning a clash of domestic governance models around the world. This clash he called: "authoritarianism versus liberalism."

Yet look at how many values he felt "liberalism" had to include. For Obama the "road of true democracy," included a commitment to "liberty, equality, justice, and fairness" and curbing the "excesses of capitalism."

What about our current president? Last month he urged his listeners to be ready to fight to the death for the "values" of the West. He named two: "individual freedom and sovereignty. "

A week later, two of his chief aides, Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster, doubled down on the theme that America was promoting, with its friends, the values that "drive progress throughout the world." They too had a laundry list. They omitted "sovereignty." But then, narrowing the list only to the "most important," they listed: "[T]he dignity of every person equality of women innovation freedom of speech and of religion and free and fair markets."

By contrast, the anti-liberal core values seem simple. The anti-liberals are for authority and against anarchy and disorder. And they are for community and against the subversive, disruptive outsider.

There are of course many ways to define a "community" -- including tribal, religious, political, or professional. It is a source of identity, of common norms of behavior, of shared ways of life.

Devotees of freedom and liberalism do not dwell as much on "community." Except to urge that everybody be included, and treated fairly.

But beliefs about "community" have always been vital to human societies. In many ways, the last 200 years have been battles about how local communities try to adapt or fight back against growing global pressures -- especially economic and cultural, but often political and even military.

So much of the divide between anti-liberals or liberals is cultural. Little has to do with "policy" preferences. Mass politics are defined around magnetic poles of cultural attraction. If Americans engage this culture war on a global scale, I plead for modesty and simplicity. As few words as possible, as fundamental as possible.

Certainly our history counsels modesty. Americans and the American government have a very mixed and confusing record in the way we have, in practice, related values in foreign governance to what our government does.

Also, until the late 19th century, "democracy" was never at the core of liberal thinking. Liberal thinkers were very interested in the design of republics. But classical liberal thinkers, including many of the American founders, always had a troubled relationship with democracy. There were always two issues.

First, liberals were devoted, above all, to liberty of thought and reason. Pace Tom Paine, the people were often regarded as intolerant, ill-informed, and superstitious -- unreliable judges of scientific truth, historical facts, moral duty, and legal disputes. The other problem is that democracy used to be considered a synonym for mob rule. Elections can be a supreme check on tyranny. But sometimes the people have exalted their dictators and have not cared overmuch about the rule of law. It therefore still puzzles me: Why is there so much debate about which people are "ready for democracy"? Few of the old theorists thought any people were ready for such a thing.

It was thought, though, that any civilized people might be persuaded to reject tyranny. Any civilized community might prefer a suitably designed and confining constitution, limiting powers and working at a reliable rule of law.

By the way, that "rule of law" was a value that Mr. Cohn and General McMaster left off of their "most important" list -- yet is anything more essential to our way of life?

Aside from the relation with democracy, the other great ideal that any liberal order finds necessary, yet troubling, is the one about community: nationalism.

Consider the case of Poland. For 250 years, Poland has been a great symbol to the rest of Europe. For much of Polish and European history, nationalism was an ally of liberalism. Versus Czarist tyranny, versus aristocratic oligarchs.

But sometimes not. Today, Poland's governing Law and Justice party is all about being anti-Russian, anti-Communist, and pro-Catholic. They are all about "authority" and "community." At the expense of ? Poland's president has just had to intervene when the rule of law itself seemed to be at stake.

We Americans and our friends should define what we stand for. Define it in a way that builds a really big tent. In 1989, working for the elder President Bush, I was able to get the phrase, "commonwealth of free nations," into a couple of the president's speeches. It didn't stick. Nearly 20 years later, in 2008, the late Harvard historian Ernest May and I came up with a better formulation. We thought that through human history the most adaptable and successful societies had turned out to be the ones that were "open and civilized."

Rather than the word, "liberal," the word "open" seems more useful. It is the essence of liberty. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi uses it in his speeches; Karl Popper puts it at the core of his philosophy; Anne-Marie Slaughter makes it a touchstone in her latest book. That's a big tent right there.

Also the ideal of being "civilized." Not such an old-fashioned ideal. It gestures to the yearning for community. Not only a rule of law, also community norms, the norms that reassure society and regulate rulers -- whether in a constitution or in holy scripture.

Chinese leaders extol the value of being civilized -- naturally, they commingle it with Sinification. Muslims take pride in a heritage that embraces norms of appropriate conduct by rulers. And, of course, in an open society, community norms can be contested and do evolve.

The retired Indian statesman, Shyam Saran, recently lectured on, "Is a China-centric world inevitable?" To Saran, "A stable world order needs a careful balance between power and legitimacy. Legitimacy is upheld when states, no matter how powerful, observe norms of state behavior." India, Saran said, had the "civilizational attributes."

... ... ...

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia, and is a former executive director of the 9/11 Commission.

[Sep 05, 2017] Iconoclasm And Violence by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... Houston Chronicle ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Who Are We? The Challenges To America's National Identity. ..."
"... The New White Nationalism In America ..."
"... ABC News/Washington Post ..."
"... But it is plain that most Republicans do not believe Trump violated that taboo. ..."
Aug 22, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

On Sunday night, Social Justice Warriors in Baltimore filmed themselves desecrating and damaging a 225-year-old monument to Christopher Columbus -- this, in the name of racial and economic justice:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/iFSW0id36FA?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Late last week, someone desecrated a statue of St. Junipero Serra in Mission Hills, Calif. The Franciscan priest is hated by Social Justice Warriors for his work in establishing mission churches in the 18th century.

In New Orleans earlier this summer, vandals spray-painted 'TEAR IT DOWN' on a statue of St. Joan of Arc standing in Jackson Square. Take 'Em Down NOLA is the name of the activist group that successfully brought down four of the city's statues of Confederate figures. The organization said that those opposed to taking down the statues was "the racist white capitalist establishment in New Orleans, seeking to preserve white sup