Tag Archives: Republican

HOW RON PAUL CAN WIN AND SPOIL NOTHING

I ran across this recently in my wanderings and was amazed when I understood that Ron Paul has already won the election if he will avail himself of the opportunity that a third party run would give him. Read this and I think you will be wondering yourself if we are not on the brink of something akin to a revolution. 

Let us hope so at least for I fear if a radical shift does not occur politically it may   lead us into a very dark place. Forces are gathering and people want and are going to demand changes. If they do not see some sort of radical shift politically e.g. Ron Paul being elected, there may be an eruption of forces that cannot be controlled. E.

HOW RON PAUL CAN WIN & SPOIL NOTHING

 by James Jaeger

The fact that Ron Paul effectively tied for second place in IOWA — a very conservative state — and then won second place in NEW HAMPSHIRE — a much more liberal state, shows the enormous spectrum of Dr. Paul’s appeal.

For the Republicans (the GOP) this must be quite uncomfortable — the idea that they are being forced to modify some of their wayward views just because a principled, constitutionalist and WE THE PEOPLE demand it.

But here’s what really terrifies them: Ron Paul is not only in a position to hand the election of 2012 over to Barack Obama and be labled a “spoiler” — he’s in a position to be a “winner.”

Etymology of the term “spoiler”:

The term “spoiler” is a derogatory term that was dreamt up by statists in the Democratic and Republican parties. They use this term to make you feel guilty and to sucker the public into continuously voting for no one outside the Establishment. In other words, if you vote your conscience, YOU are a “spoiler.” If you run for office on principles dictated by your conscience and take votes away from an Establishment candidate, YOU are a “spoiler.”

Thus, since Ron Paul votes his conscience, since he rejects certain aspects of the Establishment — such as the Federal Reserve‘s abuse of the monetary system and its financing of the welfare-warfare empire we have now become — there is no way apparatchiks in the GOP will nominate Dr. Paul no matter what WE THE PEOPLE want.

And to this end, lackey pundits in the CFR-dominated, mainstream media continuously chant that Ron Paul has “no chance to get the Republican nomination.” They spew this so often, it’s obvious they don’t believe their own lies.

But here’s the joker: Ron Paul does not even need the GOP to win the general election. If he were to walk away for a third party, he would take at least 12% of the Republican vote with him. He would also take another 15% from the Independents and at least 11% from the Democrats. This would give him 38% — enough of the vote to win the Presidency in a 3-man race.

GOP strategists know all this and this is why you will never hear them utter these statistics in the mainstream media. If the public were to become too “hopeful” — if they were to understand the mathematics of the situation — even more people would vote for Ron Paul if for no other reason than to be on the winner’s bandwagon.

So, the GOP has some serious choices to make.

Either they morph into a small-government party and support the Ron Paul Revolution of “getting back to the Constitution,” or they risk loosing their power to a new political party. And a new political would not only mean just the demise of the Republican party, but the Democratic party as well.

Since the Democratic Party AND the Republican Parties are BOTH the parties of BIG government, a new political party of SMALL government would reveal to the public more than ever, what the two mainstream parties have become.

The two mainstream parties — the Democrats and Republicans — have become, in essence, two departments of the same police state. They are the same political party in effect: growing the government ever larger and ever more militaristic, both domestically and internationally. The PATRIOT Act expands the police state domestically, and the UN, IMF, WTO, NAFTA, GATT and NATO — which they BOTH continuously and blindly support — expand the police state internationally.

Due to serious abridgements of the U.S. Constitution and principles stated in the Declaration of Independence, the united States are now run by a dictating oligarchy known as the UNITED STATES. And this dictating oligarchy is dominated by cultural Marxists and corporate fascists who have hijacked the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively.

The “DemoPublicans” have established the Department of Homeland Security for the purpose of administering their police state and the PATRIOT Act has become their new Constitution.

If you accept the idea that the Democrats and Republicans (again the “DemoPublicans”) have become two departments of the same police state — two wings of the same ugly bird — you will have to accept that ultimately it does not matter whether a Democrat or Republican is elected to the presidency. It does not matter if Obama or Romney is elected President. Establishment politicians in either of these “two” parties will continue to use the Federal Reserve System to monetize debt (print money out of thin air) and use this fraudulentfiatcurrency to build their welfare-warfare state.

It could be said that Republicans specialize in printing money to build weapons and wage wars — Democrats specialize in printing money to address the sick and the poor. The Republicans thus CREATE the sick and the poor with their WAR-fare policies and the Democrats HEAL the sick and the poor with their WELL-fare policies.

Thus when an entity controls the HEALING and HURTING of Humankind, doesn’t that entity, in essence, CONTROL Human kind? Well, welcome to the DemoPublican control mechanism — something you might think about the next time you vote or mindlessly scream out for your Clinton-, Bush-, Obama-, Gingrich- or Romney-candidate.

Taken as a whole, the DemoPublican machine — now assembled more by supra-national, international banking families than American citizens — has destroyed U.S. politics that used to center on Constitutional principles. Controllers in this CFR-led embryonic world government have created a well-oiled machine to maximize the plunder of millions, if not billions of people, through the mechanism of central banking, debt and the hurting-healing cycle. Would it not be reasonable to posit that the Democratic and Republican Parties are thus primary tools in what seems to be a master plan of globalization?

Ron Paul — a strict limited-government Constitutionalist with an appreciation for ethnonationalism — does not fit in with the New World Order’s management plans. Therefore, whenever he wins ANYTHING: the DemoPublican controllers have a more serious problem.

Where Dr. Paul to ever get close to a GOP nomination, they would most likely either rig the elections or blackmail him by threatening his family, like they did when Ross Perot was getting too popular.

But if Dr. Paul walks away from the GOP to go Indy, in reality he will “spoil” nothing, for as discussed above, the Democrats and Republicans are the same political party in effect, so there is nothing that CAN be “spoiled”.

Since the DemoPublicans must continue the cockfight between them — so the illusion that they are “different” parties can be maintained — this fighting has been, of necessity, escalating to a GRIDLOCK. Note the endless fighting about extending payroll tax cuts, Obamacare and illegal immigration, and now Santorum is bringing religion and race into it. Thus, even if Ron Paul is labeled a “spoiler” — for thwarting the Establishment controller’s plan to get one of their cultural Marxist or corporate fascist puppets nominated or elected — he will spoil nothing.

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR RON PAUL TO BE A SPOILER, BECAUSE:

A) THE DEMS AND GOP ARE THE SAME PARTY IN EFFECT, AND;

B) EVEN IF OBAMA GETS REELECTED, THE DEMS AND GOP WILL BE GRIDLOCKED AND THUS NOTHING WILL GET DONE.

Message More Important Than Party:

Undoubtedly Ron Paul hopes his cause will be able to save the Republican Party, but surely he believes the greater cause is to save the country. For many the idea of reforming the Republican Party is a glorious dream — but for many more, it’s a pipe dream.

And the reason for this is simple. Ron Paul’s vision comes from the U.S. Constitution, a document that the GOP establishment wandered away from decades ago.

Thus, if Ron Paul is really serious about change, he probably knows that the VEHICLE he uses to deliver that change is not that important. His Constitutional VISION is more important than the PARTY that delivers it.

Thus the GOP is right to fear that Dr. Paul may “quit the party when the primaries are over and run as a third-party candidate on the Libertarian or some other line in the November election” as political analyst and author of Suicide of a Superpower, Patrick J. Buchanan, observes.(1)

This fear was also expressed by Reagan campaign strategist, Ed Rollins, when he said that “Ron Paul should be given the respect he deserves.”

Buchanan feels, however that it is assured that Dr. Paul will not go third party. This is “not going to happen. Such a decision would sunder the movement Paul has pulled together, bring about his own and his party’s certain defeat in November, and re-elect Barack Obama,” says Buchanan.

But if Paul does NOT go third party, his life’s work may NOT culminate.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with this statement depends on their philosophy of the GOP. If ones philosophy is that a tiger can change its stripes — that the GOP will somehow become the party of small government — then perhaps it makes sense for Dr. Paul to stick it out and be loyal. But is that really going to happen?

As evidenced by the current $15 trillion national debt, the Republican Party has become a big-government party similar to the Democratic party. This has happened on the watch of both parties. Both political parties are taking us down the “road to serfdom,” as F.A. Hayek might say. And the reason for this is the endless fiat money being issued by the Federal Reserve System (as we discuss in FIAT EMPIRE at http://youtu.be/5K41O2QfpjA ). Fiat currency funds the welfare state the Democrats want and the warfare state the Republicans want.

Again, neither major political party talks about this, or fiat money. Only Ron Paul talks about fiat money.

If the Democrats and Republicans won’t confront fiat money by discussing it, let alone by auditing and/or ending the Fed, THEN HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT EITHER PARTY WILL EVER BECOME A SMALL GOVERNMENT PARTY?

These two parties will thus destroy the dollar and eventually the U.S. as an industrial nation opening it up even more to the ravages of the PATRIOT Act mentality who value “security” more than freedom OR productivity. If this happens: THIS will be Ron Paul’s legacy, a coward that failed to go for the golden ring at a time when it could have made all the difference to millions.

The “movement Paul has pulled together” is unique in our times. It is nothing less than a revolution, and that’s why it’s called THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION. And contrary to Counsel on Foreign Relations propaganda, this revolution was the impetus for the Tea Party movement, a movement which now seems to have been co-opted and neutered by the GOP establishment.

BUT THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION CONTINUES IN SPITE OF THE GOP, NOT BECAUSE OF THE GOP.
The GOP is NOT Ron Paul’s friend:

The GOP has never REALLY been Ron Paul’s friend, nor will it ever be — unless the unthinkable happens, RON PAUL GETS CO-OPTED BY THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT ITSELF. His supporters, of course, know this would never happen. In fact many observes think the GOP is only now pretending to be Ron Paul’s friend because he has them backed into a political corner. And the Ron Paul butt-kissing is all over the mainstream media to prove it. But none of this is sincere. Remember the days in the Winter of 2008 when Ron Paul was winning one FOX poll after another and Sean Hannity, a perfect GOP specimen, was practically spitting bullets? In fact, Hannity was so arrogant and disparaging to Dr. Paul, his fans practically tackled the super-pundit when he was leaving his building one evening on 7 Jan 2008. See angry Ron Paul fans screaming at Hannity in the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5rJI5e0jBU if you have forgotten the days when the GOP was showing its real colors to the Fed-slaying political messiah.

And let’s not forget the disrespect GOP-hopeful, Rudy Giuliani, showed for Dr. Paul when, in the 15 May 2007 debate, he mocked him before the world for stating that “the terrorists are over here because we are over there,” an observation first made by Pat Buchanan. See this debate at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD7dnFDdwu0 if your memory of the GOP needs refreshing.

But don’t believe me, that the GOP once spat upon Ron Paul — Ed Rollins confirmed this treatment when he stated: “They didn’t treat him well, four years ago, when he (Ron Paul) stayed in the race to the bitter end.” See video of Ed stating this at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7JArNMd20

So today — as evidence that self-sufficiency makes stronger individuals than the nanny state makes the collective — the growth of the Libertarian-conservative RON PAUL REVOLUTION, again, shows that Dr. Paul does not even NEED the GOP to win a general election for if he were to walk away for a third party in July, he would take at least 12% of the Republican vote, another 15% from the Independents and at least 11% from the Democrats. This would give him 38% — enough to WIN the presidency in a 3-man race.

Another reason one can be assured GOP pundits are terrified by a Ron Paul third party run is because they are desperately attempting to get him to commit to NOT running. Witness Sean Hannity trying to get a commitment from Dr. to NOT go third party at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3p9s1cSzko

But, even if Ron Paul did walk away from the GOP he would not BECOME a pariah in his party, he already IS a pariah in his party. He always has been and he always will be. Those who watched Ron Paul argue with Alan Greenspan on C-SPAN back in the mid-1990s know Ron Paul is also a pariah with the Federal Reserve System. That, in fact, is how I discovered Ron Paul and interviewed him for the documentary film, FIAT EMPIRE — Why the Federal Reserve Violates the U.S. Constitution. At that time, there were no other congressmen arguing with Dr. Greenspan. There were not even any other congressmen that COULD argue with Dr. Greenspan. Only Ron Paul could because he not only understands economics, he understands the difference between Austrian economics and the Keynesian economics that is now burying the nation — and WORLD — in debt! This is why THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION runs philosophically deep.

This is why Dr. Paul has been able to be consistent and why he has consistently stated that he cannot endorse any of the other GOP candidates and he doesn’t see how he could possibly run on a ticket with any of them due to differences in principle. How could Ron Paul double up with someone that doesn’t understand the difference between Austrian and Keynesian economics? How could Ron Paul double up with or support someone that doesn’t even know what fiat money is or what Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states? How could Ron Paul support someone that has no idea where Congress gets most of its money? Dr. Paul, as a true Constitutionalist, knows all of these things. The others are ignoramuses who just give the Constitution and economics lip-service.

A Third Party Run’s Effect on Rand Paul:

Some have argued that, were Dr. Paul to run as a third party candidate, his son, Senator Rand Paul, would be forced to endorse his father and essentially abandon the GOP. Rand Paul’s career with the GOP would thus be ruined.

Actually, whether Rand Paul endorses his father or not is no ones business except Rand Paul’s and it’s not even relevant to THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION.

As great as it may be for a father to have a son follow in his footsteps, there are times when a greater concern outweighs family goals. If Rand Paul truly understands the importance of his father’s work, he will gladly support anything he does without personal concern. On the other hand, if Rand Paul would rather stay loyal to the GOP, that’s his prerogative. No rational person would stigmatize Rand Paul just because he made a different choice from his father.

But the greater question — given the great promise Rand Paul has so far demonstrated — is why would he even WANT to be a “future Republican leader” in a political party that was bringing the nation to ruin? With its profligate spending; empire-building ploys; debt-monetizing insanity, why would Rand Paul want to run the risk of becoming but a footnote in history by swimming counter to the currents of THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION?

Given the fact that the youth of the nation are endorsing THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION of small government, ending the Fed and an end to perpetual wars, the future of the GOP — which is against all these things — is NOT bright at all. In fact, the GOP, and the Democrats, are doomed. Like the sinking Titanic, all Republicans have been doing this past 30 years is re-arranging the deckchairs while the panem et circenses band plays on.

It is true that Ron Paul would be wise to stay with the GOP up until the last minute so he can maintain his media presence, but the very fact that he has to even DO this should tell us all something about the mainstream media. And that something is the fact that, like the GOP, the mainstream media is NOT any friend of Ron Paul or even of WE THE PEOPLE. So long as it endlessly consolidates and places its corporate advertisers’ interests above the public concerns, the mainstream media is a liability to a democratic market of ideas. Unfortunately, Ron Paul, a libertarian at heart, has been forced to operate on this media’s stage in order to get any play at all. Had Dr. Paul gone third party four years ago, he would have received almost no exposure and few today would know very much about his message. Note what happened to third party candidates, such as Ralph Nader, Harry Brown and Gary Johnson, etc. The exception was the multi-billionaire, Ross Perot, who got mainstream play ONLY because he self-financed his own media campaign.

Ron Paul started and represents a major populist CAUSE that millions endorse, yet the mainstream media still pushes the other candidates who just support the horse race for the status quo.

It is thus impossible for the GOP to “grow up” or change because it is locked into this competition with the Democratic Party. If the GOP stops with its program of handouts and entitlements, the public will always place Democrats in to power. This is the dilemma for the GOP and why no reform is possible, as we more fully discuss in the movie “SPOILER – How a Third Political Party Could Win.” See http://www.SpoilerUSA.org

Even still, Ron Paul giving his commitment to support the GOP is what apologists for the GOP want. But if Ron Paul does this, he will have compromised his principles. Even if the GOP promises to change its ways, many will have serious doubts they will keep their promise.

The GOP and the DEMS have had their chance. They have both brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy and totalitarianism over the past 98 years. They will never reform or be able to BE reformed. No placation-speech — allotted to Ron Paul at the Republican National Convention — is going to reform either entrenched party or rescind the PATRIOT Act. The ONLY possibility for reform will come if Dr. Paul goes Indy sometime after the GOP selects its CFR-approved, status-quo nominee. In going Indy, the only risk is that Dr. Paul might not get 38%, hence the presidency. If this happens then Obama DOES get back in; but again, so what! Only blind partisans — or people that don’t quite grok the fact that both parties are identical in effect — will be concerned about this. Mitt Romney can NEVER be Ron Paul’s friend. Mitt Romney is a corporate fascist, as we define in the movie, CORPORATE FASCISM at http://youtu.be/hTbvoiTJKIs. He has depended on the bogus, artificial interest rates afforded by fiat money for every major business venture he has ever been involved with. Mitt Romney would NEVER end the Fed because the Fed is what butters his bread. It is doubtful if he would ever even AUDIT the Fed. Same goes for Gingrich and Santorum. Both these guys are big government guys, especially Santorum who will expand the military-industrial complex to the high heavens.

Constitutional Constituency Trumps Party Constituency:

Ron Paul’s constituency is NOT unipolar. Ron Paul’s constituency falls ACROSS the political spectrum as it well should. People who want smaller government, who want to audit the fed; reduce the debt; get out of foreign wars and rebuild the middle class are NOT only in the GOP, they are also in the Democratic party, but mostly Independents. They are the youth and people in the military. At least 38% of the people in the country WANT Ron Paul and only 12% of these come from the GOP. Thus, Ron Paul is actually BIGGER than the GOP. THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION supersedes the GOP and any particular faction. That’s why what’s happening is so special and why WE THE PEOPLE sometimes have difficulty understanding the magnitude of these events.

RON PAUL’S ONLY CHANCE FOR A MEANIGFUL LEGACY IS TO GO INDY AND TAKE THE PRESEDENCY. EVEN IF THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN, HE WILL HAVE OPENED THE WAY FOR A FUTURE “RON PAUL” TO TAKE THE PRESIDENCY. RON PAUL IS THE JOHN C. FREMONT OF OUR TIMES. See “Who Will Be Our Modern-Day Jefferson” by Nelson Hultberg at http://www.jaegerresearchinstitute.org/articles/modern.htm

Ron Paul’s most salient issues: auditing the Fed and eventually ending the fiat-currency fraud; downsizing of the U.S. empire; closing many or most of the 900 military bases in 130 countries; and establishing a mind-our-own-business foreign policy will never happen in the business-as-usual GOP or welfare state-crazed Democratic Party.

Thus, if Dr. Paul fails to use the power he has at this critical moment in history he will never have it again, nor will anyone else for a long time. The mainstream media is substantially bought and paid for by the entrenched parties. You can bet the Washington establishment and the K-street corporate fascists that have hijacked Congress, once the race is over, all will turn on Dr. Paul and make him as much of a non-person as the J.P. Morgan/Thomas Edison Establishment of the day turned on Nikola Tesla and literally erased him from the front page of TIME.

POWER MUST BE SEIZED, NEVER ASKED FOR. RON PAUL MUST SEIZE POWER IF HE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY. ONLY FROM A POSITION OF POWER CAN THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION RESTORE TRUE CONSITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES.

THE WASHINGTON ESTABLISHMENT, NOR THE CORPORATOCRACY THAT DOMINATES CONGRESS, IS ABOUT TO SURRENDER THEIR FIAT MONEY SYSTEM OR THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX THAT SUPPLIES THE WORLD WITH WEAPONS AND FOMETS PERPETUAL WARS FOR PROFIT.

WE THE PEOPLE MUST TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK FROM THE TRATORS AND TYRANTS THAT HAVE USURPED POWER OVER THE PAST 100 YEARS BY BASTARDIZING THE CONSTITUTION. RON PAUL STANDS IN A POSITION TO START THIS PROCESS — BUT ONLY IF HE GOES INDY AND TAKES A SHOT AT THE STARS.

Again, since Dr. Paul’s constituency is supra GOP — even if he defects from the GOP and fails at a presidential run — he will only estrange the people in the GOP that are stuck in the partisan game of Democrats vs. Republicans. In other words, he will only estrange the “spoiler mentality.” More and more of the country, as witnessed by the growth of the Independents, now recognize that BOTH political parties are wings of the same ugly bird. These people are the future. Ron Paul AND Rand Paul should be more concerned about these people than propitiating to the GOP establishment for a token speech or career some advancement.

The fact that Ron Paul has an investment portfolio with 21% in real-estate, 14% in cash and about 65% gold should be absolute proof that Dr. Paul believes the fiat financial system is doomed. He is thus more than a prophet, he is leading the way out. This leadership takes rank over any other consideration.

Eric Hoffer wrote a book entitled, THE TRUE BELIEVER: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. In this work, Hoffer maintains that revolutions are usually accomplished with only a small percentage of a population – between 1% and 7%. The vast majority are inert. If Hoffer’s observations are correct, THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION has, or will shortly have, more than enough supporters to make its CAUSE quite real.

Summary:

The term “spoiler” is used by two groups of people:

1) the ignorant or IQ-challenged person who knows little or nothing about politics or the art of war, and;

2) the statist propaganda-merchant who is trying to give the public the illusion that there is a “difference” between the Democratic and Republican Parties.

The reason the statist propaganda-merchant is trying to perpetuate the meme that there is a difference between the two major parties is so the general public will not look elsewhere for the solution to their problems. If one can get the Democrats and Republicans fighting with each other, it gives the illusion that they are “different” to the degree they “fight.” Indeed they DO have “differences”, however the differences are over trivial issues. On all the major issues the Democrats and Republican’s are identical, overtly and covertly, thus they are the same political party in effect. You saw how many of Bush’s policies Obama kept in place when he came into office ostensibly to “change” things. The same thing will happen if the Republicans take back the White House, ad infinitum.

So this is why Ron Paul is such a threat to the Establishment. He’s running on the GOP ticket basically so he can get mainstream media exposure. The mainstream tried to ignore him in the last election. Remember how Hannity practically spat on Dr. Paul in the 2008 election? Remember how all the other pundits treated him? Then, when he suddenly raised millions of dollars with his “money bombs” and millions of voters started joining the grassroots Ron Paul Revolution — which kicked off the Tea Party Revolution — it wasn’t “politically correct” to spit on him any longer. Worse, they couldn’t ignore him into oblivion like they ignored all other dissenting candidates. Third party candidate Ross Perot was only able to get mainstream media exposure because he purchased it with his personal wealth. Ralph Nader nor Harry Brown, on the other hand, have been able to purchase such exposure, thus they have never been able to get an alternative vision into the public domain.

For Ron Paul to win and use the vote to destroy the cultural Marxist-infested, totalitarian fiat empire, being built by controllers of the “liberal world order” is incomprehensible to them even though Pat Buchanan details in his new book,Suicide of a Superpower, the reasons why the moment of globalism and “free” trade has passed.

But such is the power of the zeitgeist, for the world is in revolt, from the Middle East to Wall Street. The 99-percent don’t know exactly HOW they have been screwed, but they do know that they HAVE been screwed — at least for the past 100 years. From the Tea Partiers to the Wall Street Occupiers in America, WE THE PEOPLE are fed up with:

1) a Congress that has been bought and sold by corporate fascists;

2) Presidents that start wars and act like Marxist dictators;

3) an activist Supreme Court that legislates from the bench making one-size fits all laws that ignore the original intent of the Founders.

WE THE PEOPLE are fed up with many other things, but both the “Right” and the “Left” can agree with much of what Ron Paul offers, because his principles are American principles, and American principles are Constitutional Principles which accommodate both liberals and conservatives, Left or Right.

So don’t let CFR-infested, establishment propaganda spewed through the mainstream media or the DemoPublican police state dissuade you from voting for Ron Paul, whether he stays on the GOP ticket, goes Independent or starts a new party.

It is vital that all Americans stay true to their conscious, NOT their political parties. The U.S. Constitution does not even mention political parties; in fact many of the Founders warned us against them. The Founders called political parties “factions” and said that membership in them is dangerous to a democratic form of government. They warned us to stay away from entrenched political parties — such as the Democrats and Republicans — because entrenched political parties are only one step away from dictatorships. The Founders also warned us about entrenched politicians, and this is why no presidents ran for more than two terms up until the Grant presidency.

It is not too late to act. Vote out the incumbent congressmen, president and most of all, the incumbent DemoPublican political party. Vote in Ron Paul no matter what scare tactics the pundits on CNN, FOX NEWS or MSNBC proselytize with. Ron Paul CAN get 38% of the vote and win the presidency. This is not an opinion, it’s mathematical fact.

RON PAUL CAN WIN — AND NOT ONLY SPOIL NOTHING — BUT POSSIBLY SAVE THE REPUBLIC!



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“This Depressingly Vitriolic Presidential Campaign”

WRITTEN BY THOMAS L. KNAPP  

That’s how my friend, conservative political blogger Robert Stacy McCain, characterizes the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential primary race to date.

Note that McCain doesn’t argue that the campaign is unusually vitriolic. He’s smarter than that; thus far it has actually been quite pedestrian.

The “vulture capitalism” barbs aimed at Mitt Romney‘s career with Bain Capital, the Daily Beast’s “investigative reporting” on Karen Santorum‘s ex-boyfriend, even the Newt Gingrich “open marriage”

bombshell … none of these hold a candle to past negative campaigning.

In the 1800 campaign — America’s first competitive presidential election — Thomas Jefferson’s SuperPAC equivalents referred to John Adams as a “hideous hermaphroditical character;” in reply, Adams’s supporters described Jefferson as “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

It’s pretty much gone downhill from there.

In 2000, George W. Bush’s operatives spread rumors in South Carolina that John McCain — a former prisoner of war in Vietnam — might be a “Manchurian candidate,” and that his adopted daughter (of Bangladeshi

ancestry) was actually an out-of-wedlock “love child” from an affair with an African-American woman.

In 2008, we learned that Barack Obama not only “pals around with terrorists,” but is in actuality a Kenyan-born Muslim Communist, smuggled into the US and his birth records doctored so that he could someday destroy the United States from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And that Sarah Palin faked her own pregnancy. And that Mitt Romney was a robot. OK, that last one may be true. But anyway …

Negative campaigning is part and parcel of American politics for three reasons.

The first is that there’s a lot at stake. Even the least fiscally demanding of the Republican candidates, US Representative Ron Paul, only wants to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget. That means he’s running for executive control of $2.7 trillion, or more than $8,500 to be annually seized from each man, woman and child in the United States through taxation, inflation or debt assignation. I’ve seen customers and cashiers say nasty things about each other over a 39 cent discrepancy in the grocery checkout line. We’re not talking chump change here.

The second is that politicians have nothing to offer the public but fear. They can’t give you anything they haven’t first taken from you.

In the aggregate, that is: Yes, some pay more than others and some get less, but that’s the whole point, see? The pivotal exercise in electoral politics is convincing you that I’ll take something from Pete and give it to you, while that other guy — the big meanie who cheats on his wife, smokes crack on the campaign bus, and may actually be a secret Rwandan! — will take something from you and give it to Pete. Letting Pete keep his stuff and you yours is explicitly off the table. The game’s rigged that way from the start.

The third reason is that negative campaigning works. You — I’m speaking to voters here, and once again in the aggregate — say you don’t like it, but your voting patterns prove you respond to it exactly as its practitioners intend. “Shining city on a hill” and all that makes for nice stump speech filler, but it’s “keep your sheep locked up when my opponent’s around” that moves the poll results.

There’s only one way to get past negative campaigning, and that’s getting past campaigning itself. Getting past politics. Lowering the stakes by telling those boobs on the stage that your $8,500+ is yours, not theirs. That they can’t have it. That you don’t need them.

That happens to be the position of the non-voting American majority.

57% of Americans did not cast votes in the 2008 presidential election.

They withheld their consent to be ruled by the lying, thieving, fearmongering few. In 2012, let’s join them in their healthy rejection of politics.


Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).


Ron Paul Exploding

Ron Paul

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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TheAlexJonesChannel
August 16, 2011

The establishment media’s attempt to ignore Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign for president has become so blatant following his close-second finish in the Iowa straw poll, that even mainstream reporters cannot ignore the biased attempt to drown out his message. Despite their best efforts, Ron Paul continues to explode in popularity, surfacing repeatedly at the top of major polls as his message transcends the political gatekeepers.

Dr. Paul is reaching a tipping point which no one can ignore– emerging as the frontrunner in the GOP 2012 primary, despite attempts to feed the populace more empty suit, pro-war, big government candidates.

RELATED: Establishment Media Admits Conspiracy To Ignore Ron Paul

RELATED: Jon Stewart on the Media Ignoring Ron Paul


Obama Approves Indefinite Detention Without Trial

– News From Antiwar.com – http://news.antiwar.com

Posted By Jason Ditz On March 7, 2011 @ 8:07 pm 

President Obama today signed an executive order that will formalize the indefinite extralegal detention of terror suspects without charges as a permanent aspect of American life, while announcing that he intends to use this on detainees “who continue to pose a significant threat to national security” but against whom there is insufficient evidence to actually charge them with any crime.

The move came as the administration also ended a two year halt on new military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, allowing the administration to avoid actual real courts and instead use stacked military tribunals in those cases where they have at least some evidence and feel comfortable with proceding to something resembling a trial.

But this will likely be the exception rather than the rule, and the administration seems likely to pursue even tribunals unless it is confident of success, and the executive order will allow them to be selective in even attempting to charge detainees, in that it is no longer at all essential to keeping them in prison for the rest of their lives.

In 2009 President Obama had expressed discomfort with the notion of keeping people in prison for life without charges, but even then was seen as probably doing so, which indeed he now has.

Officials still, incredibly, insist President Obama hopes to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, a promise that he made as soon as he took office but has not mentioned in quite some time. Today’s moves, to the contrary, seem to be assuring that this closure will never happen.

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URL to article: http://news.antiwar.com/2011/03/07/obama-approves-indefinite-detention-without-trial/

Copyright © 2009 News From Antiwar.com. All rights reserved.

 

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The Real Ronald Reagan

I was a young man when Reagan ran for office. Disgusted with how my choice in Carter had turned out I voted for Reagan. It was many years until I saw the truth. Murray Rothbard saw it all along. Here is his impression of Reagan after he left office Although I am strongly pro-life, (Rothbard believed in free choice), nevertheless I find myself agreeing with almost everything else he says here. It is quite long, more essay than article, but well worth the effort to understand some of what has gone on the past 50 years or more in America. I am only sorry I did not discover Rothbard until recently since he passed in 1995. I might have come to my senses sooner. Enjoy (E)

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Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy

by Murray N. Rothbard
by Murray N. Rothbard

First published in Liberty, Vol. 2, No. 4, March 1989.


Eight years, eight dreary, miserable, mind-numbing years, the years of the Age of Reagan, are at long last coming to an end. These years have surely left an ominous legacy for the future: we shall undoubtedly suffer from the after-shocks of Reaganism for years to come. But at least Himself will not be there, and without the man Reagan, without what has been called his “charisma,” Reaganism cannot nearly be the same. Reagan’s heirs and assigns are a pale shadow of the Master, as we can see from the performance of George Bush. He might try to imitate the notes of Reagan, but the music just ain’t there. Only this provides a glimmer of hope for America: that Reaganism might not survive much beyond Reagan.

Reagan the Man

Many recent memoirs have filled out the details of what some of us have long suspected: that Reagan is basically a cretin who, as a long-time actor, is skilled in reading his assigned lines and performing his assigned tasks. Donald Regan and others have commented on Ronald Reagan’s strange passivity, his never asking questions or offering any ideas of his own, his willingness to wait until others place matters before him. Regan has also remarked that Reagan is happiest when following the set schedule that others have placed before him. The actor, having achieved at last the stardom that had eluded him in Hollywood, reads the lines and performs the action that others – his script-writers, his directors – have told him to follow.

Sometimes, Reagan’s retentive memory – important for an actor – gave his handlers trouble. Evidently lacking the capacity for reasoned thought, Reagan’s mind is filled with anecdotes, most of them dead wrong, that he has soaked up over the years in the course of reading Reader’s Digest or at idle conversation. Once an anecdote enters Reagan’s noodle, it is set in concrete and impossible to correct or dislodge. (Consider, for example, the famous story about the “Chicago welfare queen”: all wrong, but Reagan carried on regardless.)

In the early years of Reagan rule, the press busily checked out Reagan’s beloved anecdotes, and found that almost every one of them was full of holes. But Reagan never veered from his course. Why? God knows there are plenty of correct stories about welfare cheats that he could have clasped to his bosom; why stick to false ones? Evidently, the reason is that Reagan cares little about reality; he lives in his own Hollywood fantasy world, a world of myth, a world in which it is always Morning in America, a world where The Flag is always flying, but where Welfare Cheats mar the contentment of the Land of Oz. So who cares if theactual story is wrong? Let it stand, like a Hollywood story, as a surrogate for the welfare cheats whom everyone knows do exist.

The degree to which Reagan is out of touch with reality was best demonstrated in his concentration camp story. This was not simply a slip of the tongue, a Bushian confusion of December with September. When the Premier of Israel visited Reagan at the White House, the President went on and on for three quarters of an hour explaining why he was pro-Jewish: it was because, being in the Signal Corps in World War II, he visited Buchenwald shortly after the Nazi defeat and helped to take films of that camp. Reagan repeated this story the following day to an Israeli ambassador. But the truth was 180-degrees different; Reagan was not in Europe; he never saw a concentration camp; he spent the entire war in the safety of Hollywood, making films for the armed forces.

Well, what are we to make of this incident? This little saga stayed in the back pages of the press. By that point the media had realized that virtually nothing – no fact, no dark deed – could ever stick to the Teflon President. (Iran-Contra shook things up a bit, but in a few months even that was forgotten.)

There are only two ways to interpret the concentration camp story. Perhaps Reagan engaged in a bald-faced lie. But why? What would he have to gain? Especially after the lie was found out, as it soon would be. The only other way to explain this incident, and a far more plausible one, is that Ronnie lacks the capacity to distinguish fantasy from reality. He would, at least in retrospect, have liked to be filming at Buchenwald. Certainly, it made a better story than the facts. But what are we to call a man who cannot distinguish fantasy from reality?

It is surely frightening to think that the most powerful position in the world has been held for eight years by a man who cannot tell fact from fancy. Even more frightening is the defection of the media, who early lost heart and played the role of a submissive receptacle for photo opportunities and press-release handouts. One reason for this defection was the discovery of Reagan’s Teflon nature. Another likely reason was that journalists who were too feisty and independent would be deprived of their precious access to the Presidential plane or to inside scoops or leaks from the White House. And a third reason was probably the desire not to dwell on the vital and hair-raising fact that the President of the United States, “the leader of the free world” and all that jazz, is nothing more than a demented half-wit.

But why the Teflon? Because of the incredible love affair that Ronald Reagan has enjoyed with the American people. In all my years of fascination with American politics (my early childhood memories are couched in terms of who was President or who was Mayor of New York City or who won what election), I have never seen anything remotely like it. Anyone else universally beloved? Franklin D. Roosevelt was worshipped, to be sure, by most of the American electorate, but there was always a large and magnificent minority who detested every inch of his guts. Truman? He was almost universally reviled in his time; he has only been made an icon in retrospect by the conservative movement. Jack Kennedy, too, is only a hero now that he has been safely interred; before his assassination he was cordially detested by all conservatives. Nobody ever loved Nixon. The closest to universal lovability was Ike, and even he did not inspire the intense devotion accorded to Ronnie Reagan; with Ike it was more of a tranquilized sense of peace and contentment.

But with Reagan, it has been pure love: every nod of the head; every wistful “We-e-ll,” every dumb and flawed anecdote, every snappy salute, sends virtually every American into ecstasy. From all corners of the land came the cry, “I don’t like his policies very much, but I lo-o-ve the man.” Only a few malcontents, popping up here and there, in a few obscure corners of the land, emerged as dedicated and bitter opponents. As one of this tiny minority I can testify that it was a lonely eight years, even within the ranks of the libertarian movement. Sometimes I felt like a lone and unheeded prophet, bringing the plain truth to those who refused to understand. Very often I would be at free-market gatherings, from living rooms to conferences, and I would go on and on about the deficiencies of Reagan’s policies and person, and would be met with responses like “Well of course, he’s not a PhD.”

Me: “No, no, that’s not the point. The man is a blithering idiot. He makes Warren Harding tower like Aristotle.”

Responder: “Ronald Reagan has made us feel good about America.”

Perhaps that’s part of the explanation for the torrent of unconditional love that the American public has poured onto Ronald Reagan. Lost in Hollywood loony-land, Ronnie’s sincere optimism struck a responsive chord in the American masses. The ominous fact that he “made us” feel good about the American State and not just about the country is lost even on many libertarians.

But, in that case, why didn’t Hubert Humphrey’s egregious “politics of joy” evoke the same all-inclusive love? I don’t know the answer, but I’m convinced it’s not simply because Hubert was captive to the dreaded “L-word’ whereas Ronnie is a conservative. It’s lot deeper than that. One of the remarkably Teflon qualities of Reagan is that, even after many years as President, he is still able to act as if he were totally separate from the actions of the government. He can still denounce the government in the same ringing terms he used when he was out of power. And he gets away with it, probably because inside his head, he is still Ronnie Reagan, the mother of anti-government anecdotes as lecturer for General Electric.

In a deep sense, Reagan has not been a functioning part of the government for eight years. Off in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land he is the obedient actor who recites his lines and plays his appointed part. Some commentators have been critical of Reagan for napping in the afternoons, for falling asleep at crucial meetings, for taking long vacations at his beloved ranch. Well, why not? What else does he have to do? Reagan doesn’t actually have to do anything; like Peter Sellers in his last film, all he has to do is be there,the beloved icon, giving his vital sanction to the governmental process.

Reagan’s handlers perceived early on that one threat to Reagan’s Teflon rule would be allowing him to mix it up with members of the press. Away from his teleprompter, Ronnie was a real problem. So very soon, any sort of real press conference, including uninhibited questions and answers, was done away with. The only press “conferences” became shouted questions as Reagan walked quickly to and from the White House helicopter. One of his handlers has written that, despite all efforts, they couldn’t stop Reagan from exercising one peculiar personality trait: his compulsion to answer every question that he hears. But fortunately, not much was risked, since the noise of the helicopter engines would drown out most of the repartee.

The worst moment for the Reagan handlers came, of course during the first debate with Mondale in 1984. For one glorious moment, during the give and take of the debate, the real Reagan emerged: confused, befuddled, out of it. It was a shaky moment, but all the handlers needed to do was to reassure the shocked masses that their beloved President was still sentient, was still there to be a totem to his flock. The handlers blamed Reagan’s showing on “over coaching” they made sure that he slept a lot just before the second debate, and they fed him a snappy mock self-deprecating one-liner about his age. The old boy could still remember his jokes: he got off his lovable crack, and the American masses, with a sigh of relief, clasped him to their bosoms once again.

The Reagan Years: Libertarian Rhetoric, Statist Policies

How did Reagan manage to pursue egregiously statist policies in the name of liberty and of “getting government off our backs?” How was he able to follow this course of deception and mendacity?

Don’t try to get Ronnie off the hook by blaming Congress. Like the general public – and all too many libertarians – Congress was merely a passive receptacle for Ronnie’s wishes. Congress passed the Reagan budgets with a few marginal adjustments here and there – and gave him virtually all the legislation, and ratified all the personnel, he wanted. For one Bork there are thousands who made it. The last eight years have been a Reagan Administration for the Gipper to make or break.

There was no “Reagan Revolution.” Any “revolution” in the direction of liberty (in Ronnie’s words “to get government off our backs”) would reduce the total level of government spending. And that means reduce in absolute terms, not as proportion of the gross national product, or corrected for inflation, or anything else. There is no divine commandment that the federal government must always be at least as great a proportion of the national product as it was in 1980. If the government was a monstrous swollen Leviathan in 1980, as libertarians were surely convinced, as the inchoate American masses were apparently convinced and as Reagan and his cadre claimed to believe, then cutting government spending was in order. At the very least, federal government spending should have been frozen, in absolute terms, so that the rest of the economy would be allowed to grow in contrast. Instead, Ronald Reagan cut nothing, even in the heady first year, 1981.

At first, the only “cut” was in Carter’s last-minute loony-tunes estimates for the future. But in a few short years, Reagan’s spending surpassed even Carter’s irresponsible estimates. Instead, Reagan not only increased government spending by an enormous amount – so enormous that it would take a 40 percent cut to bring us back to Carter’s wild spending totals of 1980 – he even substantially increased the percentage of government spending to GNP. That’s a “revolution”?

The much-heralded 1981 tax cut was more than offset by two tax increases that year. One was “bracket creep,” by which just inflation wafted people into higher tax brackets, so that with the same real income (in terms of purchasing power) people found themselves paying a higher proportion of their income in taxes, even though the official tax rate went down. The other was the usual whopping increase in Social Security taxes which, however, don’t count, in the perverse semantics of our time, as “taxes”; they are only “insurance premiums.” In the ensuing years the Reagan Administration has constantly raised taxes – to punish us for the fake tax cut of 1981 – beginning in 1982 with the largest single tax increase in American history, costing taxpayers $100 billion.

Creative semantics is the way in which Ronnie was able to keep his pledge never to raise taxes while raising them all the time. Reagan’s handlers, as we have seen, annoyed by the stubborn old coot’s sticking to “no new taxes,” finessed the old boy by simply calling the phenomenon by a different name. If the Gipper was addled enough to fall for this trick, so did the American masses – and a large chuck of libertarians and self-proclaimed free-market economists as well! “Let’s close another loophole, Mr. President.” “We-e-ell, OK, then, so long as we’re not raising taxes.” (Definition of loophole: Any and all money the otherguy has earned and that hasn’t been taxed away yet. Your money, of course, has been fairly earned, and shouldn’t be taxed further.)

Income tax rates in the upper brackets have come down. But the odious bipartisan “loophole closing” of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 – an act engineered by our Jacobin egalitarian “free market” economists in the name of “fairness” – raised instead of lowered the income tax paid by most upper-income people. Again: what one hand of government giveth, the other taketh away, and then some. Thus, President-elect Bush has just abandoned his worthy plan to cut the capital gains tax in half, because it would violate the beloved tax fairness instituted by the bipartisan Reganite 1986 “reform.”

The bottom line is that tax revenues have gone up an enormous amount under the eight years of Reagan; the only positive thing we can say for them is that revenues as percentage of the gross national product are up only slightly since 1980. The result: the monstrous deficit, now apparently permanently fixed somewhere around $200 billion, and the accompanying tripling of the total federal debt in the eight blessed years of the Reagan Era. Is that what the highly touted “Reagan Revolution” amounts to, then? A tripling of the national debt?

We should also say a word about another of Ronnie’s great “libertarian” accomplishments. In the late 1970’s, it became obvious even to the man in the street that the Social Security System was bankrupt, kaput. For the first time in fifty years there was an excellent chance to get rid of the biggest single racket that acts as a gigantic Ponzi scheme to fleece the American taxpayer. Instead, Reagan brought in the famed “Randian libertarian” Alan Greenspan, who served as head of a bipartisan commission, performing the miracle of “saving Social Security” and the masses have rested content with the system ever since. How did he “save” it? By raising taxes (oops “premiums”), of course; by that route, the government can “save” any program. (Bipartisan: both parties acting in concert to put both of their hands in your pocket.)

The way Reagan-Greenspan saved Social Security is a superb paradigm of Reagan’s historical function in all areas of his realm; he acted to bail out statism and to co-opt and defuse any libertarian or quasi-libertarian opposition. The method worked brilliantly, for Social Security and other programs.

How about deregulation? Didn’t Ronnie at least deregulate the regulation-ridden economy inherited from the evil Carter? Just the opposite. The outstanding measures of deregulation were all passed by the Carter Administration, and, as is typical of that luckless President, the deregulation was phased in to take effect during the early Reagan years, so that the Gipper could claim the credit. Such was the story with oil and gas deregulation (which the Gipper did advance from September to January of 1981); airline deregulation and the actual abolition of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and deregulation of trucking. That was it.

The Gipper deregulated nothing, abolished nothing. Instead of keeping his pledge to abolish the Departments of Energy and Education, he strengthened them, and even wound up his years in office adding a new Cabinet post, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Overall, the quantity and degree of government regulation of the economy was greatly increased and intensified during the Reagan years. The hated OSHA, the scourge of small business and at the time the second most-hated agency of federal government (surely you need not ask which is the first most-hated), was not only not abolished; it too was strengthened and reinforced. Environmentalist restrictions were greatly accelerated, especially after the heady early years when selling off some public lands was briefly mentioned, and the proponents of actually using and developing locked-up government resources (James Watt, Anne Burford, Rita Lavelle) were disgraced and sent packing as a warning to any future “anti-environmentalists.”

The Reagan Administration, supposedly the champion of free trade, has been the most protectionist in American history, raising tariffs, imposing import quotas, and – as another neat bit of creative semantics – twisting the arms of the Japanese to impose “voluntary” export quotas on automobiles and microchips. It has made the farm program the most abysmal of this century: boosting price supports and production quotas, and paying many more billions of taxpayer money to farmers so that they can produce less and raise prices to consumers.

And we should never forget a disastrous and despotic program that has received unanimous support from the media and from the envious American public: the massive witch hunt and reign of terror against the victimless non-crime of “insider trading.” In a country where real criminals – muggers, rapists, and “inside” thieves – are allowed to run rampant, massive resources and publicity are directed toward outlawing the use of one’s superior knowledge and insight in order to make profits on the market.

In the course of this reign of terror, it is not surprising that freedom of speech was the first thing to go by the boards. Government spies and informers busily report conversations over martinis (“Hey Joe, I heard that XYZ Corp. is going to merge with ABC.”) All this is being done by the cartelizing and fascistic Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and its much-hailed Savanarola in New York, Rudolf Giuliani. All this is the work of the beloved Gipper, the “free-market,” “libertarian” Reagan Administration. And where are the “conservative libertarians”? Where are the “free market economists” to point this out and condemn it?

Foreign aid, a vast racket by which American taxpayers are mulcted in order to subsidize American export firms and foreign governments (mostly dictatorships), has been vastly expanded under Reagan. The Administration also encouraged the nation’s banks to inflate and pour money down Third World rat-holes; then bailed out the banks and tin-pot socialist dictatorships at the expense of U.S. taxpayers (via tax increases) and consumers (via inflation). Since the discrediting of Friedmanite monetarism by the end of the first Reagan term, the original monetarist policy of allowing the dollar to fluctuate freely has been superseded by Keynesian Secretary of Treasury James Baker, who has concerted with foreign central banks to try to freeze the dollar within various zones. The interference has been, as usual, futile and counterproductive, but that will not stop the soon-to-be even more powerful Baker from trying to fulfill, or at least move strongly toward, the old Keynesian dream of one world fiat paper currency (or at least fixed exchange rates of the various national currencies) issued by one world Central Bank – in short, economic world government.

But didn’t Ronnie “bring down inflation”? Sure, but he did it, not by some miracle, but the old-fashioned way: by the steepest recession (read: depression) since the 1930s. And now, as a result of his inflationary monetary policies, inflation is back with a roar – which the Teflon President will leave as one of his great legacies to the Bush Administration.

And then there is another charming legacy: the reckless inflationary course, encouraged by the Reagan Administration, of the nation’s savings-and-loan banks. Virtually the entire industry is now bankrupt, and FDIC – the federal agency supposedly “insuring” S&L depositors – is bankrupt. Instead of allowing the banks and their deluded depositors to pay the price of their profligacy, everyone of both parties, including our “free-market” Reaganauts, is prepared to use taxpayer money or the printing press to bail out the entire industry – to the tune of an estimated 50 to 100 billion dollars. (These estimates, by the way, come from government sources, which notoriously underestimate future costs of their programs.)

I have been cleaving to the strictly economic realm because even the staunchest pro-Reagan libertarian will not dare to claim that Ronnie has been a blessing for civil liberties. On the contrary. In addition to his reign of terror on Wall Street (who cares about the civil liberties of stock traders anyway?), Reagan worked to escalate toward infinity the insane “war against drugs.” Far from the 1970s movement toward repealing marijuana laws, an ever greater flow of men and resources – countless billions of dollars – are being hysterically poured into combating a drug “problem” that clearly gets worse in direct proportion to the intensity of the “war.”

The outbreak of drug fascism, moreover, is a superb illustration of the interconnectedness of civil liberty and economic freedom. Under cover of combating drugs, the government has cracked down on our economic and financial privacy, so that carrying cash has become prima fade evidence of “laundering” drug money. And so the government steps up its long-cherished campaign to get people to abstain from cash and into using government-controlled banks. The government is already insinuating foreign exchange controls – now the legal obligation to “report” large amounts of cash taken out of the country – into our personal and economic life.

And every day more evil drugs are being found that must be denounced and outlawed: the latest is the dread menace of anabolic steroids. As part of this futile war, we are being urged by the Reaganites to endure compulsory urine testing (supervised, of course, since otherwise the testee might be able to purchase and substitute black market drug-free urine). In this grotesque proposal, government is not onlynot off our backs, it is now also insisting on joining us in the bathroom.

And in the bedroom, too, if Ronnie has his way. Although abortion is not yet illegal, it is not for lack of effort by the Reagan Administration. The relentless Reaganite drive to conservatize the judiciary will likely recriminalize abortion soon, making criminals out of millions of American women each year. George Bush, for less than twenty-four glorious hours, was moved to take a consistent position: if abortion is murder, then all women who engage in abortion are murderers. But it took only a day for his handlers to pull George back from the abyss of logic, and to advocate only criminalizing the doctors, the hired hands of the women who get abortions.

Perhaps the Gipper cannot be directly blamed – but certainly he has set the moral climate – for the increasingly savage Puritanism of the 1980s: the virtual outlawry of smoking, the escalating prohibition of pornography, even the partial bringing back of Prohibition (outlawing drunken driving, raising the legal drinking age to 21, making bartenders – or friendly hosts – legally responsible for someone else’s drunken driving, etc.).

Under Reagan, the civil liberties balance has been retipped in favor of the government and against the people: restricting our freedom to obtain government documents under the Freedom of Information Act and stepping up the penalties on privately printed and disseminated news about activities of the government, on the one hand; more “freedom” for our runaway secret police, the CIA, to restrict the printing of news, and to wiretap private individuals, on the other. And to cap its hypocrisy, as it escalated its war on drugs, the Reagan Administration looked the other way on drug running by its own CIA.

On foreign policy, the best we can say about Ronnie is that he did not launch World War III. Apart from that, his foreign policy was a series of murdering blunders:

  • His idiotic know-nothing intervention into the cauldron of Lebanon, resulting in the murder of several hundred US Marines.
  • His failed attempt – lauded by Reaganites ever since – to murder Colonel Khadafy by an air strike – and succeeding instead in slaying his baby daughter, after which our media sneered at Khadafy for looking haggard, and commented that the baby was “only adopted.”
  • His stumblebum intervention into the Persian Gulf, safeguarding oil tankers of countries allied to Iraq in the Iraq–Iran war. (Ironically, the US. imports practically no oil from the Gulf, unlike Western Europe and Japan, where there was no hysteria and who certainly sent no warships to the Gulf.) In one of the most bizarre events in the history of warfare, the Iraqi sinking of the U.S.S. Stark was dismissed instantly – and without investigation, and in the teeth of considerable evidence to the contrary – as an “accident,” followed immediately by blaming Iran (and using the sinking as an excuse to step up our pro-Iraq intervention in the war). This was followed by a US warship’s sinking of a civilian Iranian airliner, murdering hundreds of civilians, and blaming – you guessed it! – the Iranian government for this catastrophe. More alarming than these actions of the Reagan Administration was the supine and pusillanimous behavior of the media, in allowing the Gipper to get away with all this.

As we all know only too well, the height of Reagan’s Teflon qualities came with Iran-Contra. At the time, I naïvely thought that the scandal would finish the bastard off. But no one saw anything wrong with the Administration’s jailing private arms salesmen to Iran, while at the very same time engaging in arms sales to Iran itself. In Reagan’s America, apparently anything, any crookery, any aggression or mass murder, is OK if allegedly performed for noble, patriotic motives. Only personal greed is considered a no-no.

I have not yet mentioned the great foreign-policy triumph of the Reagan Administration: the invasion and conquest of tiny Grenada, a pitiful little island-country with no army, air force, or navy. A “rescue” operation was launched to save US medical students who never sought our deliverance. Even though the enemy consisted of a handful of Cuban construction workers, it still took us a week to finish the Grenadans off, during the course of which the three wings of our armed forces tripped over each other and our military distinguished itself by bombing a Grenadan hospital. The operation was as much a botch as the Carter attempt to rescue the American hostages. The only difference was that this time the enemy was helpless.

But we won didn’t we? Didn’t we redeem the US loss in Vietnam and allow America to “stand tall”? Yes, we did win. We beat up on a teeny country; and even botched that! If that is supposed to make Americans stand tall, then far better we sit short. Anyway, it’s about time we learned that Short is Beautiful.

The US war against the Sandinistas on the other hand, which has been conducted at enormous expense and waged hand-in-hand with Guatemalan, Honduran, and Salvadoran dictators, is going down the drain, despite illegal CIA mining of harbors and injury to neutral shipping. Even the nearly comatose American public is giving up on the idea of supporting bandit guerrillas, so long as they are anti-Communist, despite the best efforts of Ollie and Secord and Singlaub and Abrams and all the rest of the war crowd.

The Reagan Administration’s continued aid and support to Pol Pot in Cambodia, the most genocidal butcher of our time, is more reprehensible but less visible to most Americans. As a result, Pol Pot’s thugs are mobilizing at this very moment on the Thai border to return and take over Cambodia as soon as the Vietnamese pull out, presumably to renew their bizarre mass murders. But you see, that’s okay with the Reaganites because the Cambodian Commies are guerrilla fighters against the Vietnamese (pro-Soviet) Commies, who by definition are evil. Pol Pot’s butchers as “freedom fighters” show us that, in the arsenal of the Reaganite Right, “freedom,” like “taxes” and many other crucial words, means, as in the case of Humpty Dumpty, whatever they choose it to.

Grenada was the perfect war as far as many conservatives (and apparently much of the American public) were concerned: it was quick and easy to win, with virtually no risk of loss, and allowed ample opportunities to promote the military (and their Commander-in-Chief) as heroes while bragging up the victory on television – in short, allowing the U.S. to glory in its status as a bully. (It helped eradicate the awful memory of Vietnam, which was the perfect war for American centrist liberals: virtually impossible to win, horribly expensive in terms of men and property – and best of all, it could go on forever without resolution, like the War on Poverty, fueling their sense of guilt while providing safe but exciting jobs for members of their techno-bureaucratic class.)

While the American masses do not want war with Russia or even aid to the bandit Contras, they do want an ever-expanding military and other aggravated symbols of a “strong,” “tough” America, an America that will, John Wayne-like, stomp on teeny pests like Commie Grenada, or, perhaps, any very small island that might possess the tone and the ideology of the Ayatollah.

Setting the Stage: The Anti-Government Rebellion of the 1970s

I am convinced that the historic function of Ronald Reagan was to co-opt, eviscerate and ultimately destroy the substantial wave of anti-governmental, and quasi-libertarian, sentiment that erupted in the U.S. during the 1970s. Did he perform this task consciously? Surely too difficult a feat for a man barely compos. No, Reagan was wheeled into performing this task by his Establishment handlers.

The task of co-optation needed to be done because the 1970s, particularly 1973–75, were marked by an unusual and striking conjunction of crisis – crises that fed on each other to lead to a sudden and cumulative disillusionment with the federal government. It was this symbiosis of anti-government reaction that led me to develop my “case for libertarian optimism” during the mid-1970’s, in the expectation of a rapid escalation of libertarian influence in America.

1973–74 saw the abject failure of the Nixon wage-price control program, and the development of something Keynesians assumed could never happen: the combination of double-digit inflation and a severe recession. High unemployment and high inflation happened again, even more intensely, during the greater recession of 1979–82. Since Keynesianism rests on the idea that government should pump in spending during recessions and take out spending during inflationary booms, what happenswhen both occur at the same time? As Rand would say: Blankout! There is no answer. And so, there was disillusionment in the government’s handling of the macro-economy, deepening during the accelerating inflation of the 1970s and the beginnings of recession in 1979.

At the same time, people began to be fed up, increasingly and vocally, with high taxes: income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, you name it. Especially in the West, an organized tax rebel movement developed, with its own periodicals and organizations However misguided strategically, the spread of the tax rebellion signaled a growing disillusion with big government. I was privileged to be living in California during the election year of 1978, when Proposition 13 was passed. It was a genuinely inspiring sight. In the face of hysterical opposition and smears from the entire California Establishment Democratic and Republican, Big Business and labor, academia, economists, and all of the press the groundswell for Prop 13 burgeoned. Everyone was against it but the people. If the eventual triumph of Ronald Reagan is the best case against “libertarian populism,” Prop. 13 was the best case in its favor.

Also exhilarating was the smashing defeat of US imperialism in Vietnam in 1975 – exhilarating because this first loss of a war by the United States, many of us believed, was bound to get Americans to rethink the disastrous warmongering bipartisan foreign policy that had plagued us since the unlamented days of Woodrow Wilson.

On the civil liberties front, the de facto legalization of marijuana was a sign that the nonsense of drug prohibition would soon be swept away. (Ye gods! Was that only a decade ago?) Inflationary recession; high taxes; prohibition laws; defeat in foreign war; across the board, the conditions seemed admirable for a growing and triumphant libertarianism.

And to top it off, the Watergate crisis (my particular favorite) destroyed the trust of the American masses in the Presidency. For the first time in over a hundred years, the concept of impeachment of the President became, first thinkable, and then a living and glorious process. For a while, I feared that Jimmy Carter, with his lovable cardigan sweater, would restore Americans’ faith in their president, but soon that fear proved groundless.

Surely, it is no accident that it was precisely in this glorious and sudden anti-government surge that libertarian ideas and libertarian scholarship began to spread rapidly in the United States. And it was in 1971 that the tiny Libertarian Party emerged, in 1972 that its first, embryonic presidential candidacy was launched, and 1973 when its first important race was run, for mayor of New York City. The Libertarian Party continued to grow rapidly, almost exponentially, during the 1970s, reaching a climax with the Clark campaign for governor of California during the Prop 13 year of 1978, and with the Clark campaign for the Presidency in 1980. The morning my first article on libertarianism appeared in the New York Times in 1971, a very bright editor at Macmillan, Tom Mandel, called me and asked me to write a book on the subject (it was to become For a New Liberty). Not a libertarian himself, Mandel told me that he believed that libertarianism would become a very important ideology in a few years – and he turned out to be right.

So libertarianism was on a roll in the 1970s. And then Something Happened.

Enter the Neocons

What happened was Ronald Wilson Blithering Reagan. Obviously Reagan did not suddenly descend out of the clouds in 1980. He had been the cherished candidate of the conservative movement, its chosen route to power, ever since Goldwater’s defeat. Goldwater was too blunt and candid, too much an unhandleable Real Person. What was needed was a lovable, manipulable icon. Moreover, Goldwater’s principles were too hard-edged: he was way too much a domestic libertarian, and he was too much an eager warmonger. Both his libertarianism and his passion for nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union scared the bejesus out of the American masses, as well as the more astute leadership of the conservative movement.

A reconstituted conservative movement would have to drop any libertarian ideology or concrete policies, except to provide a woolly and comfortable mood for suitably gaseous anti-government rhetoric and an improved foreign policy that would make sure that many more billions would go into the military-industrial complex, to step up global pressure against Communism, butavoiding an actual nuclear war. This last point was important: As much as they enjoy the role of the bully, neither the Establishment nor the American people want to risk nuclear war, which might, after all, blow them up as well. Once again, Ronnie Reagan looked like the Answer.

Two important new ingredients entered into, and helped reshape, the conservative movement during the mid 1970’s. One was the emergence of a small but vocal and politically powerful group of neo-conservatives (neocons), who were able, in a remarkably short time, to seize control of the think tanks, the opinion-molding institutions, and finally the politics, of the conservative movement. As ex-liberals, the neocons were greeted as important new converts from the enemy. More importantly, as ex-Trotskyites, the neocons were veteran politicos and organizers, schooled in Marxian cadre organizing and in manipulating the levers of power. They were shrewdly eager to place their own people in crucial opinion molding and money-raising positions, and in ousting those not willing to submit to the neocon program. Understanding the importance of financial support, the neocons knew how to sucker Old Right businessmen into giving them the monetary levers at their numerous foundations and think tanks. In contrast to free-market economists, for example, the neocons were eager to manipulate patriotic symbols and ethical doctrines, doing the microequivalent of Reagan and Bush’s wrapping themselves in the American Flag. Wrapping themselves, also, in such patriotic symbols as The Framers and the Constitution, as well as Family Values, the neocons were easily able to outflank free-market types and keep them narrowly confined to technical economic issues. In short the neocons were easily able to seize the moral and patriotic “high ground.”

The only group willing and able to challenge the neocons on their own moralizing on philosophic turf was, of course, the tiny handful of libertarians; and outright moral libertarianism, with its opposition to statism, theocracy, and foreign war, could never hope to get to first base with conservative businessmen, who, even at the best of times during the Old Right era, had never been happy about individual personal liberty, (e.g. allowing prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, or drugs) or with the libertarians’ individualism and conspicuous lack of piety toward the Pentagon, or toward the precious symbol of the Nation-State, the US flag.

The neocons were (and remain today) New Dealers, as they frankly describe themselves, remarkably without raising any conservative eyebrows. They are what used to be called, in more precise ideological days, “extreme right-wing Social Democrats.” In other words, they are still Roosevelt-Truman-Kennedy-Humphrey Democrats. Their objective, as they moved (partially) into the Republican Party and the conservative movement, was to reshape it to become, with minor changes, a Roosevelt-Truman-etc. movement; that is, a liberal movement shorn of the dread “L” word and of post-McGovern liberalism. To verify this point all we have to do is note how many times Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, et al., properly reviled by conservatives while they were alive, are now lauded, even canonized, by the current neocon-run movement, from Ronnie Reagan on down. And no one calls them on this Orwellian revision of conservative movement history.

As statists-to-the-core the neocons had no problem taking the lead in crusades to restrict individual liberties, whether it be in the name of rooting out “subversives,” or of inculcating broadly religious (“Judeo-Christian”) or moral values. They were happy to form a cozy alliance with the Moral Majority, the mass of fundamentalists who entered the arena of conservative politics in the mid-1970s. The fundamentalists were goaded out of their quietist millenarian dreams (e.g., the imminent approach of Armageddon) and into conservative political action by the accumulation of moral permissivism in American life. The legalization of abortion in Roe v. Wade was undoubtedly the trigger, but this decision came on top of a cumulative effect of the sexual revolution, the militant homosexual movement “out of the closet” and into the streets, the spread of pornography, and the visible decay of the public school system. The entry of the Moral Majority transformed American politics, not the least by furnishing the elite cadre of neocons with a mass base to guide and manipulate.

In economic matter, the neocons showed no more love of liberty, though this is obscured by the fact that the neocons wish to trim the welfare state of its post-Sixties excrescences, particularly since these were largely designed to aid black people. What the neocons want is a smaller, more “efficient” welfare state, within which bounds they would graciously allow the market to operate. The market is acceptable as a narrow instrumental device; their view of private property and the free market is essentially identical to Gorbachev’s in the Soviet Union.

Why did the Right permit itself to be bamboozled by the neocons? Largely because the conservatives had been inexorably drifting Stateward in the same manner. In response to the crushing defeat of Goldwater, the Right had become ever less libertarian and less principled, and ever more attuned to the “responsibilities” and moderations of Power. It is a far cry from three decades ago when Bill Buckley used to say that he too is an “anarchist” but that we have to put off all thoughts of liberty until the “international Communist conspiracy” is crushed. Those old Chodorovian libertarian days are long gone, and so isNational Review as any haven for libertarian ideas. War mongering, militarism, theocracy, and limited “free” markets – this is really what Buckleyism amounted to by the late 1970s.

The burgeoning neocons were able to confuse and addle the Democratic Party by breaking with the Carter Administration, at the same time militantly and successfully pressuring it from within. The neocons formed two noisy front groups, the Coalition for a Democratic Majority and the Committee on the Present Danger. By means of these two interlocking groups and their unusual access to influential media, the neocons were able to pressure the Carter Administration into breaking the détente with Russia over the Afghanistan imbroglio and influencing Carter to get rid of the dove Cyrus Vance as Secretary of State and to put foreign policy power into the hands of the Polish émigré hawk and Rockefeller Trilateralist, Zbigniew Brzezinski. In the meantime, the neocons pushed the hysterically hawkish CIA “B” Team report, wailing about alleged Soviet nuclear superiority, which in turn paved the way for the vast gift of spending handed to the military-industrial complex by the incoming Regan Administration. The Afghanistan and “B” Team hysterias, added to the humiliation by the Ayatollah, managed not only to kill off the bedeviled Carter Administration, but also to put the boots to non-intervention and to prepare the nation for a scrapping of the “post-Vietnam syndrome” and a return to the warmongering of the pre-Vietnam Era.

The Reagan candidacy of 1980 was brilliantly designed to weld a coalition providing the public’s instinctive anti-government mood with sweeping, but wholly nonspecific, libertarian rhetoric, as a convenient cover for the diametrically opposite policies designed to satisfy the savvy and politically effective members of that coalition: the neocons, the Buckleyite cons, the Moral Majority, the Rockefellers, the military-industrial complex, and the various Establishment special interests always clustering at the political trough.

Intellectual Corruption

In the face of the stark record, how were the Reaganites able to get away with it? Where did Ronnie get his thick coat of Teflon? Why was he able to follow statist policies and yet convince everyone, including many alleged libertarians, that he was successfully pursuing a “revolution” to get government off our backs?

The essential answer was provided a century ago by Lysander Spooner. Why does the public obey the State, and go further to endorse statist policies that benefit the Power Elite at the public’s own expense? The answer, wrote Spooner, is that the State is supported by three powerful groups: knaves, who know what is going on and benefit from State rule; dupes, who are fooled into thinking that State rule is in their and everyone else’s interest; and cowards, who know the truth but are afraid to proclaim that the emperor has no clothes. I think we can refine Spooner’s analysis and merge the Knave and Coward categories; after all, the renegade sellout confronts the carrot and the stick: the carrot of wealth, cushy jobs, and prestige if he goes along with the Emperor; and the stick of scorn, exclusion from wealth, prestige, and jobs – and perhaps worse – if he fails to go along. The reason that Reagan got away with it – in addition to his aw-shucks “lovability” – is that various powerful groups were either duped or knave-cowardly corrupted into hailing his alleged triumphs and deep-sixing his evident failures.

First, the powerful opinion-molding media. It is conventional wisdom that media people are biased in favor of liberalism, No doubt. But that is not important, because the media, especially elite media who have the most to lose, are also particularly subject to the knave/coward syndrome. If they pander to Reaganism, they get the approval of the deluded masses, their customers, and they get the much-sought-after access to the President and to other big-wigs in government. And access means scoops, carefully planted exclusive leaks, etc. Any sort of effective opposition to the President means, on the other hand, loss of access; the angering of Reagan-deluded masses; and also the angering of their bosses, the owners of the press and television, who are far more conservative than their journalist employees.

One of Reagan’s most notable achievements was his emasculation of the liberal media because of his personal popularity with the masses. Note, for example, the wimpy media treatment of Iran-Contra as compared to their glorious attack on Watergate. Ifthis is liberal media bias, then the liberals need to be saved from their friends.

If the media were willing to go along with Reaganite duplicity and hokum, then so were our quasi-libertarian intellectual leaders. It is true of the libertarian-inclined masses as it has been always true of the conservative masses: they tend to be not too swift in the upper story. During the late 1970s, libertarian intellectuals and free-market economists were growing in number, but they were very few, and they had not yet established institutions with firm ties to journalistic and mass opinion. Hence, the libertarian mood,but not the informed thought, of the masses, was ready for co-optation, especially if led by a charismatic, beloved President.

But we must not under weigh the importance of the traitorous role performed by quasi-libertarian intellectuals and free-market economists during the Reagan years. While their institutions were small and relatively weak, the power and consistency of libertarian thought had managed to bring them considerable prestige and political influence by 1980 – especially since they offered an attractive and consistent alternative to a statist system that was breaking down on all fronts.

But talk about your Knaves! In the history of ideological movements, there have always been people willing to sell their souls and their principles. But never in history have so many sold out for so pitifully little. Hordes of libertarian and free-market intellectuals and activists rushed to Washington to whore after lousy little jobs, crummy little grants, and sporadic little conferences. It is bad enough to sell out; it is far worse to be a two-bit whore. And worst of all in this sickening spectacle were those who went into the tank without so much as a clear offer: betraying the values and principles of a lifetime in order to position themselves in hopes of being propositioned. And so they wriggled around the seats of power in Washington. The intellectual corruption spread rapidly, in proportion to the height and length of jobs in the Reagan Administration. Lifelong opponents of budget deficits remarkably began to weave sophisticated and absurd apologias, now that the great Reagan was piling them up, claiming, very much like the hated left-wing Keynesians of yore, that “deficits don’t matter.”

Shorn of intellectual support, the half-formed libertarian instincts of the American masses remained content with Reaganite rhetoric, and the actual diametrically opposite policies got lost in the shuffle.

Reagan’s Legacy

Has the Reagan Administration done nothing good in its eight ghastly years on earth, you might ask? Yes, it has done one good thing; it has repealed the despotic 55-mile-per-hour highway speed limit. And that is it.

As the Gipper, at bloody long last, goes riding off into the sunset, he leaves us with a hideous legacy. He has succeeded in destroying the libertarian public mood of the late 1970’s, and replaced it with fatuous and menacing patriotic symbols of the Nation-State, especially The Flag, which he first whooped up in his vacuous reelection campaign in 1984, aided by the unfortunate coincidence of the Olympics being held at Los Angeles. (Who will soon forget the raucous baying of the chauvinist mobs: “USA! USA!” every time some American came in third in some petty event?) He has succeeded in corrupting libertarian and free-market intellectuals and institutions, although in Ronnie’s defense it must be noted that the fault lies with the corrupted and not with the corrupter.

It is generally agreed by political analysts that the ideological mood of the public, after eight years of Reaganism, is in support ofeconomic liberalism (that is, an expanded welfare state), and social conservatism (that is, the suppression of civil liberties and the theocratic outlawing of immoral behavior). And, on foreign policy, of course, they stand for militaristic chauvinism. After eight years of Ronnie, the mood of the American masses is to expand the goodies of the welfare-warfare state (though not to increase taxes to pay for these goodies), to swagger abroad and be very tough with nations that can’t fight back, and to crack down on the liberties of groups they don’t like or whose values or culture they disagree with.

It is a decidedly unlovely and unlibertarian wasteland, this picture of America 1989, and who do we have to thank for it? Several groups: the neocons who organized it; the vested interests and the Power Elite who run it; the libertarians and free marketeers who sold out for it; and above all, the universally beloved Ronald Wilson Reagan, Who Made It Possible.

As he rides off into retirement, glowing with the love of the American public, leaving his odious legacy behind, one wonders what this hallowed dimwit might possibly do in retirement that could be at all worthy of the rest of his political career. What very last triumph are we supposed to “win for the Gipper”?

He has tipped his hand: I have just read that as soon as he retires, the Gipper will go on a banquet tour on behalf of the repeal of the 22nd (“Anti-Third Term”) Amendment – the one decent thing the Republicans have accomplished. In the last four decades. The 22nd Amendment was a well-deserved retrospective slap at FDR. It is typical of the depths to which the GOP has fallen in the last few years that Republicans have been actually muttering about joining the effort to repeal this amendment. If they are successful, then Ronald Reagan might be elected again, and reelected well into the 21st century.

In our age of High Tech, I’m sure that his mere physical death could easily have been overcome by his handlers and media mavens. Ronald Reagan will be suitably mummified, trotted out in front of a giant American flag, and some puppet master would have gotten him to give his winsome headshake and some ventriloquist would have imitated the golden tones: “We-e-ell…” (Why not? After all, the living reality of the last four years has not been a helluva lot different.)

Perhaps, after all, Ronald Reagan and almost all the rest of us will finally get our fondest wish: the election forever and ever of the mummified con King Ronnie.

Now there is a legacy for our descendants!

Reprinted from Mises.org.

 

Murray N. Rothbard (1926–1995) was dean of the Austrian School, founder of modern libertarianism, and academic vice president of the Mises Institute. He was also editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, and appointed Lew as his literary executor. See his books.

The Best of Murray Rothbard



Why I Do Not Vote

by Butler Shaffer
Recently by Butler Shaffer: Lest We Forget

 

This originally appeared November 14, 2000.

With the 2000 election behind us – if, indeed, it will ever be behind us – I have now gone 36 years without participating in the voting process. It was not always thus. Upon my graduation from law school, my first full-time job was that of executive secretary of the Nebraska Republican Party. I later became a member of the State Central Committee, the Young Republican State Executive Committee, one of the incorporators of Barry Goldwater’s first national fund-raising campaign, and a member of the Nebraska delegation to the 1964 Republican National Convention. The Goldwater movement was the precursor to the modern Libertarian Party, and was largely energized by young men and women who were convinced that state power had become destructive of individual liberty and social order, and that “working within the system” could change all of that. My experiences in the Republican Party convinced me otherwise. Like Karl Hess, a man who was to become one of my dearest friends years later, I quickly lost my appetite for politics and have never returned.

Is there a case to be made for voting? Indeed there is, if one believes that social order is a quality that can be instilled, by violence and other coercive means, by political authorities. I do not accept this proposition. To the contrary, I believe that social order is the product of unseen, spontaneous influences of which most of us are not consciously aware. The study of economics helped me to understand how we respond, marginally, to fluctuations that are continuously generated by one another’s self-seeking pursuits. I also came to understand that politics – like a rock thrown through a spider’s web – disrupts these informal processes as well as the existing patterns of interconnectedness upon which any social order depends.

I suspect that most of those reading these words share my sense of liberty and social order, and so I shall not address the mindset of the statists herein. I understand the temptation, born largely of a sense of frustration, of wanting to participate in the political process in order to get persons elected who more closely reflect one’s views. The illusion of a short-term reduction in the rate of increase of state power clouds the longer-term consequences inherent in political participation. Political systems derive their power not from guns and prisons, but from the willingness of those who are to be ruled to expend their energies on their behalf. For state power to exist, a significant number of men and women must sanction the idea of being ruled by others, a sanction that depends, ultimately, upon the credibility of those who exercise such power. When we vote in an election, we are declaring, by our actions, our support for the process of some people ruling others by coercive means. Our motivations for such participation – even if they be openly expressed as a desire to bring state power to an end – do not mitigate the fact that our energies are being employed on behalf of the destructive principle that liberty and social order can best be fostered through the coercive machinery of the state.

One of the sadder comments that I heard, just prior to the recent election, was from a radio talk show host whose thoughtful and analytical mind I generally respect. In response to a caller who complained that Gov. Bush was philosophically inconsistent upon some issue, he declared that “politics is the art of compromise,” and that if one wanted principled consistency, one could find it “only in a religion.” It is this attitude upon which I wish to focus, for I believe that the conflicts we experience – both within ourselves as individuals and socially – derive from a sense of division. The attitude that one’s philosophic principles are nothing more than interesting “ideas” that have no relevance to how we behave with others – an attitude that is implicit in this talk show host’s remarks – is what is destroying us, both individually and societally. It derives from the same sentiment, articulated in the actions of Bill Clinton, that truth-telling is simply one of a number of strategies available in efforts to reach political “compromise”; that a lie is as good as the truth if you can get others to believe it. It is the notion that principles are nothing more than fungible commodities – to be traded according to the prices dictated by prevailing fashion – that now directs the seemingly endless cycle of vote recounts in Florida. As Groucho Marx put it: “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”

I have long found nourishment in the words of Richard Weaver: “ideas have consequences.” If I am of the view that politics is destroying our world – and let us not forget that politics managed to kill off some 200,000,000 of our fellow humans in the 20th century alone – am I prepared to direct my energies into such a destructive system? If I answer “yes,” which I would do if I voted, then do my philosophic principles have any real-world meaning to them, or are they simply amusing ideas to be talked about, debated, or dispersed across cyberspace? If I cannot end the division within myself by living with integrity (i.e., by having my behavior and my principles integrated into a coherent whole) then what hope is there for the rest of mankind doing so? I am mankind, as are you, and as Carl Jung so eloquently put it: “if the individual is not truly regenerated in spirit, society cannot be either”; that the individual must realize “that he is the one important factor and that the salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual soul.” To participate in politics is to consciously devote one’s energies to mass-mindedness; to the statist proposition that collective thinking and collective behavior preempt the will of the individual.

Still, there is a basis for optimism. Just as the marketplace generates its own responses to government regulatory schemes, there are informal processes at work undercutting the foundations of statism. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the discrediting of state socialism generally; anti-taxation and secessionist movements throughout the world; the study of chaos – whose major tenet that complex systems are unpredictable strips away any rationale for state planning and control; the Internet as an unrestrained expression of information and ideas; and, in America, the contributions of Clinton and Gore to bringing discredit upon and destroying the credibility not only of the presidency, but of government itself, have all been major contributors to the terminal condition of Leviathan. How remarkable, that the Internet – which Al Gore advised us he created! – should now be the undoing of the imperial presidency that he and Mr. Clinton sought to enlarge! What better confirmation of the power of unintended consequences!

At no period in my lifetime have the opportunities for reversing the dehumanizing nature of politically dominated societies been greater. Leviathan is dying as a consequence of its inner contradictions. Those of us who love liberty should rethink any temptations we might have to rush to the deathbed of statism and attempt to revivify its corpse by giving it a transfusion of our energies. The society upon which statism has fed will doubtless undergo a few headaches, fevers, and upset stomachs in the interim. But like a case of the flu, it may be better to let the sickness run its course rather than continue our habit of suppressing the symptoms.

Butler Shaffer [send him e-mail] teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938 and of Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival. His latest book is Boundaries of Order.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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