The Long-Hoped-For Bullet

An exceedingly excellent article in the New Yorker (surprising, given the lessons contained within) on the trial of Khmer Rouge killer Kaing Guek Eav a.k.a. “Duch” as seen through the eyes of journalist Thierry Cruvellier. The setup to the interview of Cruvellier has this interesting nugget:

Duch wasn’t one of the masterminds, but he was their zealous servant, and he was entrusted with the command of S-21, the prison where Khmer Rouge cadres were sent to be purged. The purges were constant. While ordinary Cambodian civilians were killed on an industrial scale and without ceremony, it was Duch’s mission to insure that everyone held at S-21 was broken down until they confessed to counter-revolutionary crimes—working for the C.I.A., say, or for the K.G.B., or for both, even though most prisoners had never heard of either agency before Duch’s torturers went to work—and then he had them slaughtered.

Duch didn’t expect to survive the revolution: he had sent most of his own mentors to their deaths, and, by the logic of S-21, his time, too, would come to confess and be condemned.

Thankfully, America is not Cambodia and no one is being put to death for their beliefs, but the mentality behind the likes of Duch is alive and well in the West where on a daily basis, celebrities, athletes, politicians and other members of the glitterati are forced to apologize for their beliefs and made, one way or another, to abandoned those beliefs for that of the Ayatollahs of Pop Culture. No, no one is killed in the literal sense, but nevertheless, America is home to a bloodsport of ruining lives that are lived out in the grand arena of fame and fortune. Many point out the folly of going along with such authoritarian actions for, ultimately, no one will be safe from the politically correct gulag. Duch always suspected the tables would be turned on him one day, and yet, it all made sense to him.

Where does this mentality come from? Another interesting snippet where Cruvellier is asked about left-wing vs. right-wing tribunals:

“There is a historical lineage between the far left and the human-rights movement. In the nineteen-sixties, after Stalin’s terror was widely acknowledged; in the seventies, after Solzhenitsyn’s denunciation of the Gulag; and then, finally, in the eighties, after the horrors of Pol Pot were fully revealed, many Western intellectuals moved from the discredited and disgraced Marxism-Leninism to the ideals of universal human rights. As opposed to the boredom of prosaic reforms, advocating for human rights is, in its own way, another grandiose and poetic enterprise where we, as a people, fight against exploiters. As the French philosopher Raymond Aron astutely noted, human rights, as a political philosophy, is based on a notion of purity. It’s not about taking responsibility for a decision “in unpredicted circumstances, based on incomplete knowledge”—that’s politics, said Aron. Instead, human rights function as a refuge for utopia.

“What was interesting to observe at the Khmer Rouge tribunal was that former Western Maoists or fellow-travellers were not transformed, when they became disillusioned with Communism, into skeptical minds. They now presented themselves as human-rights defenders. The appeal of “pure” ideologies seemed irresistible to them. Revolutionaries get indignant about police abuse or ruthless capitalism, and then forgive, in the name of the revolution, every injustice they had otherwise denounced. Interestingly, the moral indignation of human-rights activists can suddenly be silenced when institutions that they helped create and that were supposed to exemplify their ideals—such as international war-crimes tribunals—start violating the very principles they have claimed to stand for. They say that criticism would serve the “enemies” of justice. They begin to accept that the end justifies the means. Double standards widely apply. The drive that often made them efficient when they worked in a hostile environment now, when they are empowered, transforms into an intransigence that can make them very insensitive to realities that don’t fit their ideological paradigm. International tribunals can be a harsh reminder that injustice and unfairness are not incompatible with humanist intentions.”

Ruminate on that.


New World Defiance

“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.

America And Russia Fulfilling Their Orwellian Destinies

At the end of George Orwell’s famous novel Animal Farm, which was a metaphor for Stalinist Russia, the animals look through the window to see the pigs and the human playing cards and have a hard time telling the difference between the two. What was once a dream of an animal paradise had devolved into a despotic regime that closely resembled that of the humans they had ousted from power. Some great thinkers (though I can’t remember exactly who at this moment…might have been Orwell himself) took Orwell’s message a step further and predicted that this was the future of the USA and USSR. Someday, the two super powers would look at each other and see a mirror image. That was not to say that one idea, capitalism or communism, would triumph over the other, but rather each would move in the others direction until the similarities overshadowed the differences ten-fold.

I think this theory is sound and very close to becoming reality. The greatest trick history played on the United States was the fall of the Soviet Union. Foolishly (and I’m no different) we thought we had won. Freedom and liberty had triumphed over oppression, we stated with whimsy forgetting that while human beings still factored into the equation, ideas never die, they rise from the ashes like a phoenix wearing a cheap Mardi Gras mask. And we play the fools each and every time.

The one instance of such a prediction I can find was by a man named Dwayne O. Andreas, a crony-capitalist who headed Archer Daniels Midland Company for forever-and-a-day, who stated in 1989 that in about 30 years, the United States and the Soviet Union “won’t look that much different,” and both would look more like (then) West Germany: a semi-socialist state. (More details lie behind a Chicago Sun-Times pay-wall that I’m not jumping over unless someone starts paying me to write this crap.)

Whatever his reasoning, I think he’s spot on and despite the “fall of communism,” the theory is becoming reality and thanks to Obama and Putin might just meet his timeline.

In my mind, one of the most significant moves made by Putin during his never-ending presidency was the elimination of elected governors of the Russia’s federal districts. According to Wikipedia:

In July 2000, according to a law proposed by him and approved by the Federal Assembly of Russia, Putin gained the right to dismiss heads of the federal subjects. In 2004, the direct election of governors by popular vote was ended. This was seen by Putin as a necessary move to stop separatist tendencies and get rid of those governors who were connected with organised crime.

The last thing Putin wanted was a Russian federal districts taking a page out of Latvia’s playbook, but it also allowed Putin to tighten his control over the bureaucracy of the country and prevent any free-thinking governors from challenging his rule (Anybody remember Alexander Lebed?). Granted, this law was overturned in 2012 and while I’m no expert of Russian politics, I would wager a paycheck the “freely elected” governors aren’t much for making waves.

The reason I bring this is up is to draw parallels to the American situation. We now have a federal bureaucracy the likes of which Calvin Coolidge could have never imagined, but Americans do have some escape routes: they’re called Red States.

While we can never fully escape the hand of the Washington, D.C. and the federal taxes and regulations that come from it, it is still possible to live in well-run, prosperous regions of the United States. If you’ve had enough with high-taxes in California, you can move to Texas. If your business is being destroyed by state regulations in New York, you can move to Florida, or Idaho, or Nebraska. If you’re sick of crime in Chicago and not having the right to defend yourself there with firearms, you can move to Arizona.

Recently, Texas Governor Rick Perry has embraced the role of a shadow president in the shadow country of Texas. Everything the feds or blue states like Illinois and New York do wrong, Texas does right. Americans don’t have to leave their country for a change of domestic conditions the way someone in the UK or France must. Gerard Depardieu’s frustration with his taxes couldn’t be solved by leaving Paris and going to Lyon or Nice, he had to leave France altogether. And where did Depardieu chose to exile himself? Russia. (Someone left the irony on.)

So while Putin makes Russia attractive to rich actors, Obama makes Americans hate anyone who prospers. Thus, each super power steps a little closer to the other.

What may be America’s best hope is what I discussed earlier: States’ Rights. Now for liberals, this is a dog-whistle for slavery. The South fought in the name of states’ rights in the Civil War but their argument is forever tainted due to the fact that slavery was a part of that struggle. Those of us in reality know that when we talk about states’ rights we are not looking for a return to black slavery but a refuge from a (to put it mildly) heavy-handed central government.

This is the next step for the fifth columnists in the country. It probably won’t come to fruition in an Obama presidency or even Hillary Clinton’s inevitable presidency, but little by little, they will chip away at the 10th Amendment and eventually eliminate the possibility of places like Texas electing Rick Perry as their governor, or Indiana electing Mike Pence, and so on. It’ll happen slowly, subtly, so that people hardly notice.

This is why so many of us cry, “Let it burn!” As a close friend of mine said to me recently: “We want a FAST decline, not a new normal.  The bums can’t endure a fast decline.  Only winners can.”

It sounds harsh, but the alternative is the road to serfdom. Which path do you chose?

Of Anti-Semites and Winston Smith

I knew a day would come when facts no longer mattered, I just thought I would be old when said day arrived. Alas, here I am in my 41st year and the era of full-on Orwellian Newspeak is here.

I mentioned on Twitter last week that the fact Chuck Hagel has even one Senate vote of support is inexcusable. The Ron Paul-ites, or “PaulNuts,” immediately called me an anti-American and behold to the Jews. Now we learn that along with the rest of Hagel’s anti-Israeli language, he said in 2010 that Netanyahu is a radical and Israel is becoming an apartheid state. It’s a bit like saying I’m a radical because I don’t invite people that want to kill me to live in my house.

But no matter, these words only act as resume enhancements for Hagel since he has been nominated by a President that feels the exact same way about the Israelis if not all Jews in general. I’m old enough to remember a time when someone like Hagel, regardless of party affiliation, would be career-dead before you could say James Watt. But those days are now past for half of the political populace.

Happy Birthday, George Orwell

Today would be George Orwell’s 98th birthday, and though he is best known for his books 1984 and Animal Farm that gave horrifying examples of Stalinism, his books on poverty such as Keep the Aspidistra Flying and Down and Out in London and Paris are equally excellent and give one a perspective on not only the degradation of the poverty of the time but also the utter banality of and psychological addiction to this state of being. In other words, poverty can not only be an unfortunate circumstance but also a habit that many refuse to break. Highly recommended.

The Last European

Daniel Hannan has a look at Czech President Václav Klaus and an interesting little bit of trivial about George Orwell:

I learned something new from a Daily Telegraph editorial the other day. Apparently, the title which George Orwell had originally wanted for Nineteen-Eighty-Four, his dystopian classic, was The Last European. These days, the leader-writer observed, the last European is Václav Klaus, the brave, prickly, stubborn president of the Czech Republic. He alone stands for European values – the rule of law, personal freedom, representative government – against a system that depreciates liberty and despises democracy. He alone has yet to sign the Lisbon Treaty.

Long-standing readers of this blog will be familiar with Hannan’s First Law of Politics: no party is ever Euro-sceptic while in office. But President Klaus is not a party. Indeed, he left the party he had founded because he felt it was insufficiently robust in its Euro-scepticism. Will he be the first ever leader to take on the system and win? Will he do what Winston Smith couldn’t?

One can hope, but I’m sure Mr. Hannan will forgive me if I’m a bit pessimistic these days.

White House Attacks Drudge, Makes Orwellian Misfire

Good ol’ Matt Drudge. When he does the simple work that the MSM quit doing, like a Nexus or Google search, he’s attacked. Case in point, his posting of a video of President Obama from 2003 saying he would like to see single payer health care. In the ultimate “ignore the video behind the curtain” presentation, former ABC reporter hack and now White House Health Reform Communication Director Linda Douglas lashes back with a laughable video refuting the claim. Apparently, we’re supposed to believe that we didn’t see what we saw.

You know, people are generally gullible. I don’t say that to be mean, it’s the truth. I can be naive at times. With that in mind, I wish these politicians would just once say, “Look, yeah, I said that several years ago, but I’ve studied the issue and changed my mind.” Of course, if Obama said that, it would be a lie, but instead of giving us a plausible lie, they try and tell us that Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.