For Part 1, click here.
For Part 2, click here.
Most so-called journalists today, moneyed “professionals” whom Paul Craig Roberts bitterly calls presstitutes, would not know the truth if it walked up and hit them. Roberts, who served as Assistant Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan and afterwards as an assistant editor with the Wall Street Journal, was excommunicated from the mainstream in 2004 for questioning free trade orthodoxy, on the grounds that changed technology has exacted corresponding changes in how corporations operate since the days of David Ricardo. Comparative advantage, he argued, has been replaced with absolute advantage due to the present-day mobility of capital and its capacity to shift operations to third-world nations where labor is cheap and environmental regulations virtually nonexistent.
Roberts was attacked furiously by evangelists of free trade. It was his last appearance in a mainstream publication. He was, indeed, making assumptions: that laws regarding minimum wages and the environment serve a purpose, because, contrary to the evangelists, capital is not self-regulating. Roberts has since questioned several other mainstream official narratives, from 9/11 to the supposed killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan to the recent supposed chemical weapons attack in Syria. He also relies on boots-on-the-ground sources which almost inevitably conflict with official narratives.
His website was listed by PropOrNot as a source of “pro-Russia propaganda.” It, too, is struggling.
One reason Donald Trump won in 2016 was his command of media — all kinds. He bypassed the narrative-manufacturing “experts” and talked directly to his base — whose unhappiness with the cultural left and with the globalism dominating the GOP mainstream was manifest, made concrete with disdain for job outsourcing, illegal immigration, open borders, etc.
Hence a determined effort to take media back.
All of it.
A very-lopsided battle of wits and wills is going on before our eyes: lopsided because we have excommunicated and crowdfunded or self-funded truth-tellers out here in the boonies going up against billionaire-owned, well-connected enterprises from Google to The Washington Post and CNN in the centers of power and opulence.
A fuzzy center-left mindset controls the “brick & mortar” media leviathans, as it has for decades. This mindset gets warm and cozy with “diversity” and its social engineers, turning scathing at what bad men Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad are. This serves the interests of power — in the central banks and other financial centers, organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the CIA and other Deep State entities, Israel, and global corporations who profit from war and free trade evangelism, while well-paid “economists” provide the public with scare tactics about “protectionism” even as the Communist Chinese government protects the industries it owns!
An equally safe cultural left mindset controls the social media and technology behemoths. They would claim that the bulk of their young users accept identity-political mores, and with technology being global and therefore diverse, adopting them is simply good business. Their “good business” practices (as with those of many others) also play into the hands of those whose long-term goal, we should never forget, is establishing a corporation-controlled world state.
Some people believe such an entity is inevitable, and would be good. I think not! Under its watch, financially independent middle classes would be impossible. Very likely there would be stringent licensing of would-be entrepreneurs involving up-front fees most could not afford, leaving working people able only to trade time and labor for money, working ever longer hours for money with diminishing purchasing power: the actual new serfdom. The dollar would probably be replaced by IMF special drawing rights as the world’s reserve currency, which would rapidly drive down the standard of living inside the U.S.
Large corporations have never wanted competition, which John D. Rockefeller Sr. is alleged to have called “a sin.” Whether he really said that or not, it is known that he maneuvered to establish maximum control over the oil industry, while other corporate titans of his time established controls in other industries (Carnegie in steel, Vanderbilt in railroads, etc.; the latter, incidentally, would only carry Rockefeller oil).
For a long time, of course, upward mobility in many areas of the economy was possible through determination and work, alongside safety nets and a few sensible regulations on big business, but then we got the 1960s: a mixed bag of tricks by any description. Identity politics may have got its start in that decade with the writings of cultural Marxist philosophers such as Herbert Marcuse, but so did a great deal of political-economic enlightenment. The Deep State of the time was forced to scrap an unpopular war (Vietnam) its denizens had wanted very badly.
Since then, as part and parcel with the rise of the neoconservative-neoliberal axis, we’ve seen the rise of free trade ideology and open borders policies which are wrecking European nations even as I write: manifestations of kleptocrat globalism that have been fundamentally destructive of middle class existence. The latter depends on stable jobs with upward mobility within a relatively stable cultural environment, as opposed to outsourcing labor to third world countries or importing unassimilable populations from such places.
Precarious employment thus rules the day. Look at academia, which is self-destructing. Fully 70% of new faculty jobs are part-time, “adjunct” positions — while some university presidents are paid seven figures and the head football coach is usually a millionaire. The irony of academia is that while humanities / liberal arts fields have sunk ever more deeply into identity politics, the institutions themselves have become more and more corporatized. The fact that many students have gone into debt “voluntarily” and are graduating with five and sometimes six figures of student loan debt is proving to be an immense boon to their being controlled systemically. You cannot exactly protest the corporate state’s wars of choice when you cannot afford to move from under your parents’ roof due to massive debt and a lack of decent employment.
For “temp jobs” have become the norm in many arenas, not just academia. It’s called the gig economy. This represents control over labor itself, as precarity means uncertainty about one’s future and an inability to plan rationally. Forced into daily worry over their own situations, precarious laborers (Uber, anyone?) are less likely to protest the status quo and will probably not have time or motivation to watch what the kleptocrats are doing.
We are in an era not of mere “inequality,” but one of an unprecedented consolidation of wealth and power at the top, alongside the systemic destruction of conditions for upward mobility and financial independence on any large scale.
The cultural left misses most of it by gender-bending and swinging at windmills of generalized “white privilege.”
The right, including most Trump-supporters, is also missing something important: the impetus to replace human workers with robotics — the ultimate attack on employment from the top, done in the name of “market forces.” For far more jobs are threatened by changing technology than by immigration, legal or otherwise.
These sorts of things are what we should be focusing on, and there should be more focus on it within the Trump camp than there is.
I fear, though, that the cultural left dividers and other sources of theater are winning the day.
The truth again: the kleptocrats want us divided: blacks against whites, women against men, secularists and Muslims against Christians, anti-gunners against gun owners, etc. Divide and conquer has always been the oldest rule in the book. Actual and would-be totalitarians have been using it for centuries. Racism was created and fomented by corporate-state oligarchs of post-War Between the States America who feared that newly freed blacks and underprivileged whites would find common cause and form a populist alliance against them. The KKK came out of the conditions this mindset created.
Cultural leftists will never grasp this. The Real Matrix has them.
Divider ploys are in evidence everywhere today: me-too feminism, the high school kids who suddenly became experts on gun policy, (probably true) allegations against Trump from a porn star and other women of the same ilk, mainstream media providing hours of hysterical coverage of it all and enjoying the ratings as the dollars come rolling in.
The Trump administration faces real, existential threats. The most obvious is Robert Mueller’s hunt for collusion between Trump campaigners and Russia, which is morphing into a far more plausible consolidation of evidence that Trump obstructed justice when, e.g., he fired James Comey early last year. Other existential threats are subtler until they strike, like rattlesnakes. There have been snakes under Trump’s nose all along. One leaked an internal memo to The Washington Post following Trump’s call to Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulating him on his reelection.
The memo said: Do Not Congratulate!
Were I Trump, I would have been livid!
Were I Trump, I would not have signed that $1.3 trillion omnibus bill he signed on March 23, which brought upon him justified criticism from real conservatives as it gives plenty to Democrats and other countries in the form of foreign aid but apparently does not specifically appropriate funds for a border wall. We do not know all that it contains, because as Trump pointed out, again and obviously, no one can claim to have actually read its 2,000-plus pages.
It’s easy to believe we’re right back where we started, with out-of-control federal spending.
Trump’s promise never to sign such a bill again rings hollow. Maybe he won’t — until the next time.
More recently, Trump appears to have fallen hook, line and sinker for allegations of the chemical weapons attack at Douma, Syria, that in all probability did not happen as such.
Is the Trump administration itself part of the theater?!?!
There are long-term trends Trump should be paying attention to but apparently isn’t: for example, the national debt that just crossed the $21 trillion threshold, with no end in sight (total indebtedness is much, much higher, of course). Trump’s pick for Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, is another mainstreamer whose political-economic philosophy does not differ significantly from that of Yellen or Bernanke or even Alan Greenspan who gave us the original “bubble-nomics” of the 1990s. This was a disappointment, as Powell’s and other central bankers’ machinations could precipitate economic ruin on a level that would make 2008 look like a cakewalk by comparison.
Trump’s enemies would see to it that he was blamed. As a businessman and straight talker trying to operate in that rattlesnakes’ den known as Washington, D.C., I am very much unsure he understands even now what he’s up against.
Globalists do not believe in de jure national borders, and they are not above setting up someone who does for personal, political, and financial ruin. They do not care if the U.S. bankrupts itself, so long as (1) whatever disruptions ensue are manageable (using corporate media to whet fear and encourage compliance with the authorities in the name of security and safety has always worked in the past); and (2) the U.S. war machine emerges unscathed!
It need to be made clear as crystal: this administration, as understood by the base, is all that is standing in the way of a full-throttle return to the steady march into a corporation-controlled world state.
The Bush-Clinton-Obama axis was/is on board with that program, which is how they got away with murder — sometimes literally!
Some believe Trump is now on it, as he wants his presidency to survive. Perhaps he has been on board all along. What he signed right before Christmas last year contained an uncomfortable quantity of Christmas presents for corporate elites!
[Author’s note, April 17-18: in light of the carefully orchestrated attack on Syria which took place on April 13-14, the likelihood that Trump has been fully compromised now seems many times higher than it did when I wrote the above in late March, as his own remarks delivered Friday night, April 13, were the remarks of one who has gone full neocon. Second, even this assumes Trump was sincere from the beginning, which this throws into doubt. Third, I have not changed my position on the italicized paragraph above, which means that apparent superficial improvements in the U.S. economy will not last; we can safely predict another downturn for which Trump will be blamed as 2020 approaches whether or not he is able to remain in office. Then, during the 2020s, it will become evident to everyone with eyes to see that the U.S. empire has sunk into a terminal, irreversible decline — again except for its military machine.]
It is time to wrap up this discussion. Where do we go from here? What can we do? is a question I am sometimes asked, as if I could press a magic button and this thing I am typing on would spit out a response that applied to everyone.
I speak only for myself. What you do, is entirely your choice. I do not know your circumstances and cannot control your choices, including your choice of worldview. There is abundant information on what will offer you wise guidance. I’ve made my case for one worldview (cf. also here) and against another. Mine tells me this is a fallen world, and that there are therefore no perfect solutions. There are a few imperfect ones, such as actually supporting the persons and causes you believe are worth supporting, or developing a Plan B and freeing yourself from dominance of your daily activities by totalizing employment trading time for money, and by technology. The latter might involve getting off Facebook and Twitter, or putting down your gadget of “choice” long enough to perceive the real human beings around you.
If you believe something is wrong when the world’s supposed bastion of freedom also has the world’s highest incarceration rate — indeed, a higher incarceration rate than Communist China! — then investigate it and take a stand. A point made by Sheldon Wolin is that inverted totalitarianism involves an extremely harsh and punitive “justice” system calculated to inspire fear, especially in those without the money to defend themselves. In the present system, whether anyone likes it or not, money is what counts, not abstractions like justice. What happens when prisons are run by corporations for private profit should not be lost on us. Nor should the continuing epidemic of brutality and what amounts to cold blooded murder by police be lost on us. To the best of my knowledge, Trump’s appeal to a law-and-order America does not involve a stand against murder-by-cop (2017 and 2018)!
In the past I thought of myself as a libertarian, but now realize how naïve I was about how a money-centered economy really works in this fallen world. One might put it this way: media and technology empires are not in the truth business, they are in the money business. The kleptocrats above them are in the power business, as they have more money than they could spend in a dozen lifetimes and then some. They have no ideology as such. Understanding them and determining what to do requires freeing one’s thoughts from the mental self-policing of “isms” — capitalism, socialism, Marxism, liberalism, libertarianism, progressivism, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, anarcho-capitalism, etc. — and from dichotomous thinking and the need to find someone across the aisle to demonize: a conservitard, libtard, commie, fascist, Nazi, sexist, misogynist, racist, white supremacist….
The great twentieth-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951) described his discipline as “a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.”
Who is doing your thinking, you or your favorite “ism”?
Free your mind! Morpheus from The Matrix again: “I can only show you the door. You’re the one who has to walk through it.”
The truth-teller’s dilemma is that this is never palatable, much less marketable.
The film The Matrix made money, because it was exciting and entertaining. Truth-tellers generally do not, because their results are neither. In media-saturated and market-driven cultures where truth and evidence aren’t valued, those who try to sell them may survive on the margins but won’t prosper.
Two additional items of linguistic evidence illustrate the disdain for truth-tellers in Establishment media: the words truthiness (coined by Stephen Colbert) and truther, once attached to those skeptical of the official 9/11 narrative but more recently applied more broadly (e.g., “Sandy Hook truthers”). The purpose here is to present truth-tellers as deluded or malicious or hostile to “fact-based” or “evidence-based” reporting, this being part of the mainstream’s attempt to halt and reverse its vanishing credibility. (See also this and this, in which defenses of expertise rest ultimately on defenses of presently dominant paradigms of knowledge and scientific method, as if positive science was an enterprise frozen in time.)
I have begun two simultaneous projects. (1) Together, they will leave me unable to research and write the kind of philosophically as well as culturally-informed commentary I prefer to write, which is time-consuming and not easy to produce; (2) they will provide alternatives to the unsuccessful Patreon.com effort.
I conclude this swansong piece (at least for now) with the admonition that Huxley’s description of a “kinder, gentler” totalitarianism — Wolin’s inverted totalitarianism which is neither kind nor gentle if you inspect it closely — is your future if you remain where you are, complacent, standing by and doing nothing while everyone and everything that challenges real power or which tries to provoke you to think is driven into a digital ghetto.
If you care about truth-telling, support it! If not me, then choose some cause or site that stands for human life and personal or community autonomy against encroaching globalism and donate to it!
I’ve tried to tell the truth. But for now, I must fall silent.
[The intent of this final short paragraph: silent as regards this sort of commentary, as this piece was not originally destined for Lost Generation Philosopher. I will continue posting about philosophical matters and application to the problems of society and of life in general that seem to me important and useful.]