THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 848, November 22, 2015
Waiting is a tactical disadvantage,
but it's the good-guy's burden.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
A great many people have likened the current system of having misanthropic psychopaths run the United States government, slaughter world leaders for a hundred years, attack peace activists in the United States, spy on everyone, disrupt freedom initiatives both domestically and overseas, arrange extreme profits for the military- industrial-financial-pharmaceutical complex, and take vast liberties with what should be a free market to create enormous wealth for a tiny coterie of insiders and cronies as "being on the Titanic."
Yes, people went aboard the RMS Titanic under the mistaken idea that they could believe the White Star Line's propaganda, that they would be steaming across the Atlantic Ocean in safety and in some cases luxury, and they did so willingly. Of course, the idea behind using the Titanic as a metaphor for the system that keeps the status quo in place in the United States is that the people aboard the Titanic didn't know that they were heading to their deaths. So, when the ship struck an iceberg and various events caused the ship to be no longer seaworthy, a great many people died as a result.
They died not only because of the slipshod ways in which the Titanic was built and equipped (for example, with fewer berths on the life boats than the passenger and crew complement of the vessel), not only because of the brazen way in which it was operated (racing into an iceberg zone in order to make a high speed transit to New York) but also because very little innovative thinking was applied to the matter of keeping as many people alive as possible. Neither the radio operators on nearby ships who refused to accept the distress signals from Titanic because they were using a different coding scheme, nor the passengers and crew who had enough floating material to build a raft surrounded by lifeboats sufficient to save all their lives, nor the captain who could have steamed back to the iceberg and transferred everyone to its surface, were willing to take up the challenge of "bucking the system" and innovating.
Now, as a metaphor, you can see where the Titanic has a lot going for it. People went to their doom. They were unable to save the people aboard within the confines of their thinking and their culture. They didn't want to die, but they died anyway. The blame for their deaths can be assigned, after the fact, to a great many different persons and choices, but, in the end, the ship went down. Its passing is a sad event, and we mourn the loss of lives.
But is that the correct metaphor for the United States? Are the people who willingly pay taxes and support the troops figures of tragedy who are going to their doom expecting a reasonably pleasant ocean voyage? I don't think so.
A better analogy would be the KMS Bismarck, the extremely large battleship commissioned in 1940 by the Nazi "Kriegsmarine" to attack Allied shipping in the Atlantic. The purpose of the Bismarck was war. The military contracts to build it benefited the cronies of the Nazi state. The people who were aboard were military personnel. Had they succeeded in their purposes, they would have destroyed not only British military vessels, they would have killed not only British sailors and officers, but also they would have attacked and destroyed merchant vessels from various countries and killed the officers and crew of those ships. Instead, their ship was sunk by British war ships. Only 114 men survived out of a ship's complement of 2,200.
In other words, the people who are going to their doom aboard the metaphorical KMS Bismarck are actively pursuing profit through the deaths, incarceration, and subjugation of Americans and people around the world. They don't deserve our sympathy. Their system doesn't deserve our support. They are part of a nationalist, socialist, militarist death machine and their suffering and demise is not a reason to be unhappy. If their system collapses and they die, it is what they deserve. In a truly just world, they would be made to give up all their wealth, all their assets, their pensions, and work the rest of their lives at hard labour to pay back all the victims of their wrongdoing. It is necessary to remember that we do not live in a just world.
The Devil's Chessboard
In his biography of Allen Dulles, The Devil's Chessboard, author David Talbot reveals quite a large number of exceedingly unpleasant truths about the United States. Within the first fifty pages he illustrates the role that Allen Dulles and his brother John Foster Dulles, had in collaborating with the Nazi hierarchy. Allen Dulles would go on to head the Central Intelligence Agency and, I believe Talbot illustrates brilliantly, organise and orchestrate the assassination of John F. Kennedy and cover up his role in the assassination.
All of which is very bad, certainly, but, things are much, much worse yet. The cruise ship Saint Louis attempts to dock at Havana, Cuba, and is turned away because of Nazi agitation. In June 1939, having been refused any option to dock in the United States, the ship returns to Europe, leaves its Jewish refugees in Belgium, and, subsequently 250 of these men, women, and children become victims of the Holocaust.
Although Franklin Roosevelt wanted to create places for Jewish refugees in ten countries, including America, the United States state department deliberately prevented the approval of applications for at least 190,000 Jews to enter the United States, in order to hasten their extermination by the Nazis.
The man primarily in charge of that effort was Breckinridge Long, the assistant secretary of state for immigration. In June 1940 he circulated a memo encouraging state department officials to obfuscate and delay processing applications, knowing that the anti-Semitic views prevalent throughout the department would help him ensure the deaths of a great many Jews. As a direct result of his efforts, ninety percent of the places for Jewish refugees from Europe were not filled, and 190,000 men, women, and children who would have been safe in America were, instead, slaughtered. Long would resign from public service in November 1944 and live until 1958 enjoying the luxuries of his lifestyle, because arranging for the deaths of a great many men, women, and children is an essential aspect of working for the United States government.
Furthermore, when a German industrialist, Eduard Schulte who was operating a mining concern near Auschwitz, brought extensive evidence of the use of IG Farben chemical poisons to exterminate Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz to Switzerland, the United States state department, including the secretary of state Cordell Hull, deliberately refused to convey these facts to the World Jewish Congress in New York, despite repeated requests from Gerhart M. Riegner and other people in possession of the facts. Who finally got the facts out? The British diplomatic service did. Like Long, Hull resigned in November 1944, after the scandal of the state department's delays became public.
When Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise held a press conference to relate the facts of the extermination camps, including the deaths of two million Jews in Nazi captivity, the mainstream media in the United States buried the story. The New York Times deliberately minimised the story and hid it on page 10. The Washington Post deliberately minimised the story and hid it on page 6. Their excuse, as implausible as it clearly is, was that they didn't have official government sources to quote.
So to say that the KMS Bismarck on which we all seem to be at sea is not being driven properly or to say it has some problems in certain areas of intelligence, command, and control, would be not saying enough. It is not enough to note that Wall Street bankers and Wall Street lawyers (like the Dulles brothers) supported the Nazi regime, protected Nazi property in the United States, helped war criminals like the IG Farben, Merck, and Volkswagen company executives escape prosecution, and worked to support Hitler's regime. It is not enough to note that the support of Nazi actions in turning Europe into an occupied region was widespread within the United States government of the time. It is not enough to note that agencies of the United States, including the State Department, supported the extermination of Jewish lives in occupied Europe. One must also note that American society included an enormous number of supporters of Nazi methods, and that the hierarchical system represented by the NY Times and the Washington Post was complicit in attempting to keep these facts from the American people.
Washington DC area clubs representing the upper caste of American society refused to admit blacks, Jews, or women until long after World War Two. Why? Because the people who were in charge of the United States were racist, religious bigots, misogynists, sexists, and hated all those who weren't part of their historically "white" Anglo Saxon "protestant" cohort. Their bigotry is embedded in fundamental ways in the United States government, and has been for over a century.
The "Nazi ratlines" which saved the lives of thousands of Nazi war criminals by helping them leave Europe and reach places like Argentina, Brazil, and even the United States were assisted by the men and women of Washington society who identified with Nazi ideals. Operation Paperclip by the military's Office of Strategic Services (OSS) brought Nazi war criminal and mass murderer Werner von Braun to the United States where he was rewarded for bombing London, Belgium, and France with V2 rockets and operating slave labour camps like Mittelwerk by being given control of the American space programme. Werner von Braun joined every Nazi group he could find before the war. By way of contrast, Walter Dornberger invoked the Weimar Republic's rule that a military officer couldn't be required to join a political party, and only joined a Nazi hunting club because otherwise he wouldn't be able to hunt. He said that he "preferred deer to politics."
Operation Paperclip also brought over about 1,500 other Nazi technicians, scientists, engineers, and people from Imperial Japan. A great many of these people were guilty of war crimes, of experimenting on human subjects with chemical and biological agents, of complicity in the operation of forced labour camps in Occupied Europe and Japanese Occupied Asia. Even attempts by veterans and former prisoners of some of these camps to obtain justice were deliberately thwarted by the United States government. Why? To protect America from communist threats in Europe and Asia, or to advance the interests of the bigoted men and women in charge of crony capitalism at the heart of the United States system?
Now, you may believe, if you wish, that the people who run America's national government have changed, but I do not. I don't believe that they have a culture of inclusion, or even any interest in individual liberty. The people who run things in DC are misanthropic psychopaths who hate freedom and want to subjugate everyone in the world. They believe that the rest of humanity are suited only to be saddled and ridden by themselves. If we refuse to be broken to the saddle, they will kill us and send us off to the glue factory. This ideology is fundamental to their way of being. They believe in their privileges, in their power, and in forcing other people to do as they will. The analogy to the Titanic is a badly mistaken one.
The Nine Classes
In April 2014, author Charles Hugh Smith described a hierarchy of Nine Classes. He groups Americans into the following categories:
1. The Deep State
You can read more about these categories on his essay page. All of these groups are either dependent on the United States government to survive (state dependents, about 20% of households he thinks); are impoverished by the policies of the state (the working poor and the middle class, about 50% of households by his estimate), or are direct and egregious beneficiaries of the system (categories one through five above, perhaps 9.01% of the American people, with the top 0.01% getting the vast majority of the benefits) except for: the mobile creatives.
In Smith's view, the mobile creatives are about ten million people who move from one network, system, and paradigm to another (and sometimes from physical place to place) to generate a living. These are people who have taken it upon themselves to create their own opportunities and do not trust the government or the system to provide for them. Many of them have joined this group involuntarily, says Smith, as a result of layoffs, say.
To apply these groups to my analogy, the deep state, oligarchs, new nobility, upper caste, and state nomenklatura are all involved in the operations of the KMS Bismarck. They work very hard to keep the system going, to keep everyone else subjugated, to make money for the financiers and war profiteers, to keep the wars going, to spy on people, to regulate and tax industries, to prevent individuals from having freedom to pursue careers in regulated activities (don't try to practice medicine or law without a licence, for examples), and to make sure that lots and lots and lots of people die so that the United States government system can thrive. These are the officers and sailors who make sure the Bismarck keeps sending artillery shells at other ships.
The middle class, working poor, and state dependents are, for the most part, along for the ride. Some of them work for the agencies and businesses that depend on the state for their existence. Some have pensions that are invested in the bonds and bills of the United States government. Some have IRAs and 401Ks that are invested in the stocks of the companies that gain enormous advantage from government interventions in the market. So, it isn't entirely clear that these people don't financially gain from the system. They may not feel like they can get away from the system, they may feel oppressed by the system, or they may feel that the system is good the way it is and nothing needs to be done about it. As with all attempts to categorise people, it is hard to know where a particular person fits in without knowing that person in considerable detail. Many people are probably not accurately described by any of these categories.
But, you'll notice that it is possible, and in the view of Smith, operational for millions of Americans, to be outside the system, neither dependent on it, nor contributing to its success. I think this point is critical. If there is a way out, if there is an "outside," then people should learn about that situation, make an effort to reduce their support for the system, and avoid contributing to its success.
I'm not confident that the percentages and numbers Smith assigns to the various categories are correct. Nor do I feel any certainty that these are the sum total of possible categories. Probably, for example, some mobile creatives are also enthusiastic about the government. But I do think that he is correct in noticing that for millions of people, the United States government and all its many tentacles, cronies, and captured industrial partners is not essential for their survival. To me, these are the people who, on the Titanic, would have figured out how to make a raft of the available materials that float -- but since that wasn't done, presumably they represent a new way of doing things that wasn't consistent with the more rigid hierarchies of 1912.
One further thought on Smith: I couldn't help but feel disappointment in seeing him use the Titanic metaphor in a recent essay. I do agree, though, that the status quo is doomed. It is failing and it will be replaced.
The System of Empire
You probably don't need me to tell you that the United States is an empire. If you do, I'd be happy to offer a class for you to take for, say, $80, in which I would review the centuries of American imperialism beginning with the Whiskey Rebellion, many wars on Native American peoples, continuing into the annexation of Texas, the Mexican-American war, the war of Northern Aggression, the military occupation of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and other territories in the Spanish-American war, and the extensive efforts of the CIA under Allen Dulles and others to overthrow governments and assassinate world leaders in the 20th and 21st Centuries. It would have to be a survey course, and it might take two weeks to fill you in on many of the details. Or you could read USA: RIP and do your own research.
You are probably already aware, thanks to the writings of Ron Paul among many others, that the United States has hundreds of military bases all over the world. You are probably aware of the vast military, diplomatic, industrial, financial, and other economic interests pursued by the United States government on behalf of a small number of extremely powerful corporations. If not, you certainly can get familiar with these things without me burdening this essay with further material. Suffice it to say that the United States Empire exists, occupies many countries around the world with its military, and acts against peaceful individuals who disagree with it.
The truth about the United States government has been told by Wikileaks, by whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, by journalists like Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, and by many others. So I'm not going to add a huge number of links here.
The system of empire exploits the members of the military who are recruited from poverty in many cases, deployed to hell-holes, and told to die for ill-conceived objectives. The system of empire exploits the people in foreign countries who wish to have their own government, or overthrow their government, or do anything that in any way interferes with supposed United States "interests," or who are simply where the bombs the United States government drops. Sick and demented persons like Madeleine Albright say that depriving Iraq of food through sanctions in a manner that killed 500,000 Iraqi children was "worth it."
Sick and demented persons like Secretary of State Warren Christopher say that unless people can be forced to live in multi-ethnic countries (and, in my opinion, unless the lines drawn on world maps by diplomats are viewed as sacrosanct) pretty soon there would be five thousand countries in the world. Which, obviously, doesn't upset me. But Warren Christopher hated this idea because it would mean so much more work for the state department, so many more "national desks" to maintain, and, after all, those people wanting their own sovereignty are not important to him.
Sick and demented persons like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton make a huge effort to overthrow the governments of Libya and Syria. When the consequences of her direct choices resulted in deaths in Benghazi, Libya, among other places, she wasn't there to be hurt. Much like the decision of her friend Janet Reno to exterminate the lives of everyone at Mount Carmel in 1993, it isn't those in power who suffer when their choices get other people killed.
The consequences of United States government policies, including imperial policies, including institutional racism, including bombing civilians all over the world, have fallen, not on those ordering the policies, not typically on those implementing the policies -- with a few exceptions, but on other people. People in other countries, and in the United States, pay for the policies of the war on terror, the war on Iraq, the war on Afghanistan, the war on Libya, the war on Yemen, the war on Somalia, the war on Kosovo, the war on drugs, and many other wars. The people who demand these policies and benefit from them, especially those in comfortable suburban homes near Washington, DC, don't suffer.
The blowback from their policies doesn't hurt them. So they don't mind. You suffer. I suffer. Others suffer. Police brutalising American civilians, civil asset forfeiture grabbing everyone's property (which claimed about $600 million more last year from Americans than all home burglaries combined), pilots carpet bombing cities, drone operators slaughtering wedding parties, "terrorist" criminal attackers slaughtering people in subways and concert halls. Do you think the people in Washington, DC in the posh clubs and cushy offices expect to ever suffer any of these dangers, indignities, or violations?
Of course not. They not only don't expect to be under attack, they revel in the added money their budgets get when other people are attacked. They don't believe that blowback will ever come to them.
You should read what David Stockman has written on the subject of blowback. He points out that the military-industrial-espionage complex in Washington DC was very sad about the "peace dividend" in 1989 to 1991. So they deliberately created a global "threat" and committed various terrorist attacks to gain enormous financial benefits. The CIA, NSA, and DoD hate you for your freedom and are determined to make you a slave.
In past essays published in L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise, I have pointed out that well over 150 million Americans are not voters. Well over 120 million Americans are not filing income tax papers. Over 100 million Americans didn't respond to the 2010 census. Something over 120 million Americans "entitled" to some government benefit or other are not applying for those funds. Today, about 94 million Americans are not working in the registered, regulated, inspected, monitored economy. It is probably a mistaken idea to suppose that these groups of Americans are entirely overlapping. But there is a very substantial correlation among the numbers.
It isn't my job to tell you what to do. If you feel that the votes are being counted, if you believe that your vote matters, if you wish to register to vote, I don't agree with you. I suspect that a very good case can be made for the view the voting is initiatory force because you are agreeing to the prospect of someone being elected to take choices for many others. But I'm not going to stand in your way.
Similarly, if you feel that working in the lamestream economy, having money withheld from every pay packet, and filing papers in the first months of next year to get a "refund" of money that was taken from you in excess of any amount you owed and without interest on those funds, I'm not going to talk you down from your ledge. Hey, they have life insurance plans you can pay into to bet against your life, and health insurance plans so you can bet against your health. You can have even more money extracted from your pay to fund a 401K that you probably won't have any control over, which will invest in things you don't agree with, and which won't be available to you until after you retire unless you pay hefty "penalties" for early withdrawal of your own money. If you work at it, you can arrange to have nearly all of your income either deducted from your pay or taken immediately out of the bank account where your remaining pay is direct deposited to pay for utilities and credit card purchases. If you have these suicidal impulses to contribute to the system that oppresses you, I'm not inclined to deter you from your mission. On the contrary, I think of it as evolution in action, to paraphrase from Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's very fine novel Oath of Fealty.
In one of those essays, I quoted Buckminster Fuller. "You never change the existing reality by fighting it. Instead, create a new model that makes the old one obsolete."
The political and economic philosophy of agorism is that new model. You see it all around you, today. Since 2010 when I wrote about these ideas, Bitcoin, Uber, airBnB, and many other enterprises and blockchain technologies have arisen to disrupt existing industries. There are now more than 635 crypto-currencies to choose from -- far more than all the national currencies of the 198 UN-recognised nation states in the world. Five of those new currencies are available in SilentVault and Digital Cash Alliance wallets which operate without a central server, keep no records of transactions unless you want a receipt in your wallet only, and pass transaction messages using XMPP, strongly encrypted.
Many years ago, author Isaac Asimov wrote about a foundation and an empire. The galactic empire was corrupt, fragile, and failing. One of the main characters pointed out that the longer the empire lasted, the worse the subsequent fall into darkness would be.
So if my analogy is a better one, if the current United States system, including the deep state, the oligarchs, the new nobility, the upper caste, the state nomenklatura, is more like the KMS Bismarck than the RMS Titanic, then you should ask: is its passing a sad event? Should we mourn the lives lost in the destruction of the Nazi war machine?
If you support the existing system, or work for it, or depend on it, then you won't like me calling the United States government a Nazi war machine. But the national government is nationalistic, it is socialist in very extreme ways, it is highly militaristic, it is an empire, it operates as a war machine. It sends troops into foreign countries to slaughter civilians. It isn't at all like a passenger liner. It is much more like a Nazi battleship. And while there are probably going to be some lives lost when it falls apart, some period of "darkness" as people sort out how to live without this vast imperial menace in their lives, I believe Asimov's insight is correct. The longer it lasts, the worse the subsequent fall into darkness will be.
Like Étienne de la Boétie before me, I do not ask that you push over the tyranny. Only that you please withdraw your support. I have.
As a sovereign individual, Jim knows that it is resolution and determination which separate sovereign from servant. In the words of Étienne de la Boétie, "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces."
As an entrepreneur, Jim has been involved in dozens of start-up ventures in industries ranging from banking, aerospace, real estate, software, and e-commerce to space travel, data havens, and longevity research. He has worked in companies founded by others and in companies of his own creation. Entrepreneurs know that many companies end in failure. It is the fear of failure which prevents a great many people from ever being entrepreneurs or sovereign.
As an author, Jim has written essays, articles, poetry, fiction, and is developing a book on the new country trend. Words about him have appeared in Time magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other major publications. Words by him have appeared in The Libertarian Enterprise, Final Frontier magazine, Space News, The Houston Post, The Houston Chronicle, and other publications. An earlier book, The Atlantis Papers was published in 1994 and is available from After Dark Publications. His collection of essays Being Sovereign is available from Amazon.com and his collection Being Libertarian is available from Lulu.com.
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