“All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing
circumstances . . . they are all artificial and temporary.” – Strobe Talbott
The recent scandal regarding the government surveillance program “Prism” and the preoccupation of Congress with amnesty for illegals are not separate stories, but in fact perfectly entwined.
If you paid attention in the 1990’s, you saw the phrase “New World Order” develop a significant amount of recognition. Ironically, it was President George H. W. Bush who would send the conspiracy worlds of the political left and right into hysterics when he used the phrase in a various speeches as the Soviet Union was breaking up and coalition forces drove Iraq out of Kuwait. His definition of the term seemed rather banal as he talked about everyone living in harmony, fighting for the weak, and other bromides. However, the term New World Order had been around for many years, used by such diverse world leaders at Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill. It also reminded people or the semi-real/semi-fictitious Illuminati.
Move ahead to the Clinton era and you had many foreign policy wonks dropping hints about one-world government such as the aforementioned Strobe Talbott. As James Pinkerton wrote in 1999:
To the Strobe Talbotts of the world, it’s more than a promise: It’s a career opportunity. The tragic irony of John Lennon’s life is that the man who sang about “nothing to kill or die for” in “Imagine” was himself killed by a deranged stalker in 1980; surely there are even more armed and dangerous people loose in the world today. That’s bad news for American taxpayers, not to mention American soldiers on the cutting edge of intervention. But for Talbott types, looking beyond their own petty borders for new venues to think big thoughts and make big pronouncements and undertake big missions, it’s a global-government dream come true.
But as we move on to 2013, the explanation is not so simple as mere “career opportunity.” What we are witnessing is a very carefully crafted plan centuries in the making. The people behind the “New World Order,” if you wish to call it that, are working toward a world without borders, and a world where everyone is indeed tracked.
We were shocked (but some of us, not that shocked) to find that the American government, while not necessary listening to every phone call or reading every email in the country, was indeed tracking every phone call and usage of the internet and then, so we’re told, using algorithms to look for patterns. However, while the government has been able to keep tabs on Tea Party members and Sharyl Attkisson, it somehow wasn’t able to find any red flags (or if it did, it didn’t care) regarding the Tsarnaev Brothers.
Meanwhile, Congress is dealing with the most pressing issue of our time [insert sarcastic inflection here]. More pressing than a stagnant economy, high unemployment, high gas prices or the threat of Islamic terrorism. No, the most important issue in the country appears to be immigration…more specifically the legalization of illegals. Why? Well, most importantly, it creates more Democrat Party votes thus allowing the march toward the fabled New World Order to continue. When Tea Partiers talk about securing the borders, the amnesty Gang of 8 says, “Oh yeah, we’ll totally do that, just as soon as we get all the illegals citizenship.” However, inside their heads, they’re thinking “Stupid fools! Not only are we not going to secure the borders, we’re going to eliminate the concept of borders.” This is what Schumer is thinking. Rubio, however, is much more idealistic and thinks he’s doing good for the downtrodden and will be rewarded for it. Stupid fools, indeed.
The part I always struggle with when it comes to the men and women that wish to enslave their fellow men to the yoke of authoritarian (at a minimum) government is “what’s the payoff?” I mean, everybody dies. Why does one get up in the morning saying “I’m gonna work to roll back freedom as much as possible so people will eventually live under a watchful eye for centuries, long after I’m dead and gone.”? What’s the point to this? Why not just makes enough money to retire, then go fishing?
Well, it’s all goes back to the beginning of civilization itself, and the concept is eventually documented by a man you may have heard of, that Greek monster, Plato.
But first, we should look at the very, very beginning. Speaking of the early Mesopotamian and Egyptian societies, Norman Kantor wrote in his excellent book The Civilization of the Middle Ages:
In these early societies there were, in essence, only two social groups, or “classes” (to use a term that has been central to aristocratic thought since the nineteenth century). One class was the elite: the aristocratic group that controlled both rural and urban wealth and dominated the religious institutions, the government, and the bureaucracy. The other class was a mass peasantry, who may or may not have been slaves, but in any case were bound to till the soil in the interests of the ruling elite. We have no reliable statistical information about these early societies—indeed, it is difficult to give social statistics for any period before the Middle Ages—but a safe estimate would be that the elite compromised 5 percent of the total population. The vast majority of the population, somewhere around 80 percent, belonged to the peasantry.
In short, most of the history of civilization has been rulers and slaves. The rulers became rulers because they were willing to risk death for power. They went beyond the natural instincts of survival to give their lives a “higher purpose.”
This concept is explored in the Francis Fukuyama’s landmark work The End of History and the Last Man. Fukuyama’s overall thesis would nevertheless be proven wrong and after 9/11 he would go down with his sinking ship, but that’s another story for another time. Nonetheless, his scholarship in the book is superb. Regarding the concept of “recognition” and the various words used to describe it (Plato’s “thymos”; Nietzsche’s “beast with red cheeks,” et al) Fukuyama writes:
All of these terms refer to that part of man which feels the need to place value on things—himself in the first instance, but on the people, actions, or things around him as well. It is part of the personality which is the fundamental source of the emotions of pride, anger, and shame, and is not reducible to desire, on the one hand, or reasons on the other. The desire for recognition is the most specifically political part of the human personality because it is what drives men to want to assert themselves over other men, and thereby into Kant’s condition of “asocial sociability.”
In other words, man has a desire to force his will onto others. We all have the desire, but obviously, it varies in degrees person to person.
This takes me to our ol’ buddy Plato, who introduced the idea of the Philosopher King. Put simply, Plato argued that philosophers, i.e. the smart guys, the guys that read lots of books, pondered concept like “what is beauty?” for countless hours and generally knew more about life than anyone else, should be the kings that ruled societies. The 20th Century philosopher Karl Popper would lambast Plato, Hegel and Marx arguing that their philosophies were the road to totalitarianism. Debatable, in the case of the first two, but most of the evidence proves this theory even if the men themselves weren’t totally totalitarian. The Ayatollah Khomeini is said to have been influenced by Plato’s philosopher kings concept (though solid proof is a big hazy).
I speak of all this heavy stuff to point out that man’s desire to rule man has always been with us and is still with us. Jonah Goldberg points out in a recent column that the libertarian philosophy (i.e. liberty, man answering to no man) is the only new concept in recent history:
That phrase, “the wave of the future,” became famous thanks to a 1940 essay by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She argued that the time of liberal democratic capitalism was drawing to a close and the smart money was on statism of one flavor or another — fascism, Communism, socialism, etc. What was lost on her, and millions of others, was that this wasn’t progress toward the new, but regression to the past. These “waves of the future” were simply gussied-up tribalisms, anachronisms made gaudy with the trappings of modernity, like a gibbon in a spacesuit.
The only truly new political idea in the last couple thousand years is this libertarian idea, broadly understood. The revolution wrought by John Locke, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and the Founding Fathers is the only real revolution going. And it’s still unfolding.
The failure of Fukuyama’s thesis is his argument that ideological history is linear. Written as the Soviet Union crumbled, The End of History argued that liberal democracy had won the day, defeating all other political philosophies and, with no other concepts on the horizon, it was thus “the end of history.”
I have reached the conclusion that history is not linear but cyclical. As in nature, we have life and death, sunrise and sunset. Man is born a slave but eventually throws off his shackles, only to be enslaved again. From Athens to America and France, liberty was achieved and is now slipping away, but the free man will rise again…perhaps now or perhaps 100 years from now.
This brings me finally to George Orwell and 1984. Recent events concerning the IRS and the NSA have led to a recent spike in the novel’s sales. We’re not where Winston Smith found himself just yet, but said events lead many to believe we’re on our way. If so, what can we do about it? Well first, let’s understand what Big Brother wants from us. What may surprise you is that this was encapsulated in a simple scene from the movie Office Space. Watch closely:
Do you see what’s going on here? It’s not enough for Jen Aniston to simply do as the boss tells her to do. He wants her to agree with and be devoted to the concept of “pieces of flair” like that complete tool, Brian. It was the same with Winston Smith. It wasn’t enough that he should obey…he must also love Big Brother…and in the end (spoiler alert!) he found that he truly loved Big Brother as the long hoped-for bullet entered his brain.
So what can we do in this age of encroaching government? One word: defiance. By defiance, I don’t mean act like those Code Pink mutants and dress up like vaginas and shout during Congressional hearings. What I mean is defiance in the way you live your life. Big Brother plays “long ball.” He’ll work as long as it takes to make you love him. But if you let him know you’re ready to play long ball as well, he can never win. Put up an American flag, go to a Sarah Palin rally, give money to the Tea Party–not on the sly, but in the hope that Big Brother does notice. Let him try and scare you and let him know no matter how many audits or tapped phones you are subjected to, he’ll never have your mind, he’ll never have your love.
You want to fight this out for centuries? Game on.