Karl Popper is famous publicly for his political treatise The Open Society and Its Enemies, but he is also well-known among academics for his work in the philosophy of science. Readers may recognize in the above-cited title the phrase “open society” – it is shared by the mainstay organizing and funding arm of billionaire activist George Soros.
The controversial philanthropist did not agree with everything Karl Popper wrote, and therefore one must be careful not to consider the men as analogous thinkers. For example, George Soros criticized the theorist in an editorial by claiming, “Popper failed to recognise that in democratic politics, gathering public support takes precedence over the pursuit of truth.”
To say Popper believed in pursuing the truth is quite slippery indeed. In the theorist’s view, the truth can only be approached, never finally apprehended. Popper’s ideology is skeptical to an extreme; it presupposes that there can be no such thing as certainty in a theorem or maxim, and therefore, the best a scientist can do is to falsify hypotheses. What withstands falsification over an extended period of time, with repeated trials, can be held contingently as a theory.
A USA Today/Gallup Poll shows that most Americans need more education about the radical left and its political tactics. A snippet of the poll is shown below:
As discussed earlier on this blog, the protests are being backed by the organized left, and in accordance with the New Left’s “Critical Theory,” they will remain necessarily vague in order to draw in various kinds of left-leaning individuals, including: anarchists, socialists, communists, liberals, progressives, self-styled independents, New Age hippies, zombie street performers, trust fund yippies, and others simply disenchanted by “the system.”
This amorphous mob of activists are incrementally radicalized further, through sleep deprivation, the shared experience of collective inconvenience, and group cohesion activities; manipulated, through such known leftist tactics as the Delphi technique, which forms an artificial consensus out of disparate elements (“up twinkles, down twinkles“); and then mobilized behind a radical set of demands that would achieve some specific goals in accordance with the organizers’ plans.
The goals may not be explicitly listed in the demands, but may instead be part of a meta-strategy: such as radicalizing local or national politics, mobilizing the political base, recruiting left-wing activists in the short-term and long-term, deflecting attention from undesirable public matters, redirecting focus or blame away from one target to another target, creating political confrontation that can lead to violent clashes, which can then be used to intimidate the opposition, provoke police brutality for public relations purposes, or in a more long-range scheme, foster state repression and the furtherance of the left-wing agenda by authoritarian means.
The left veils its goals by necessity, and when a leftist is called out, he invariably plays dumb. The leftist will misdirect, ridicule the messenger, engage in ad hominem attacks, or flat-out deny. If you find one who will engage and make arguments or counter-arguments in a rational and sane manner, you are dealing with the rare leftist of integrity, or not a leftist at all.
The murder of Western culture by the left’s secular prophets left a gaping void in the souls of men; one yearning for a worldly master to seize control from the deposed heavenly one. The Unholy Trinity of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Frederic Nietzsche laid the foundation for the totalitarian state on God’s chalky sepulchre, on whose pyre man erected vast marbled monuments to ego, massive ziggurats down whose steps the blood from human sacrifices would pour.in
The angst of being born into a universe profoundly alone, and the pathos of being consigned to death from one’s conception, led to modern man’s cognitive demand for emancipatory release from the strains and constraints of this world. The palliative sought was found in the demoralizing yet liberating anthem of Nietzsche for man to move “beyond good and evil.”
The disavowal of morality is freedom caved in upon itself; it is the void that results when one rejects God, and then goes one step further, by refusing to acknowledge the individual’s right to live for himself. Self-control becomes an obstacle to elites who seek power outside themselves to fill their spiritual emptiness within. Resultant political madness leads to destabilization, and crisis leads to the cries of the cowering masses for normalization on any terms.
The rationalization of elites who crave power is nonetheless inevitably parsed in the language of good and evil; their proposals are intrinsically good, and those of their opposition are intrinsically evil. This switch from universal objective morality to personal subjective morality is a key to understanding power elites who divorce morality from means and who elevate ends that invariably provide them with more personal arbitrary power over the lives of others.
The great tactician of today’s New Left, Saul Alinsky, was quite Machiavellian in that he called for “radical pragmatists” not to become separated from reality. But it appears to be a truism that serial deceivers on the left who proffer their warped vision of the good as an excuse to use immoral means to attain power for its own sake inevitably wind up believing their own lies.
But if the pragmatism of these radicals in some sense represents the imbuing of amorality into political decision-making, the ideology nonetheless leads to unimaginable immorality when exercised.
If one doesn’t believe in right and wrong, one can commit greater evil than even if one desired to be evil. Why? Because at least with the man who believes in good and evil and rejects the good, there is still the presence of a conscience, and the possibility that he can either see the unnecessary cruelty of his ways or grow weary of them as the emotional gratification or high of inflicting pain on others wears off.
The cold-blooded “radical pragmatists” on the left are fully capable of coolly and pseudo-rationally abusing power in a methodical and relentless matter to break down all opposition to their plans for human domination, including the opposition of humane morality itself. Once morality goes, and more specifically, respect for individual human life, the world can easily become an abattoir.
Foreseeably, due to the inherently totalitarian nature of radical environmentalism, or more fashionably, sustainability, humans could once again become sacrificial fodder for elites’ abstract causes, that is to say, their personal security. The supposed human herd could be thinned through wars, engineered famines, poisonings, sterilizations, or manmade diseases, everything and anything is on the table for the radical pragmatists. And suffice it to say, with our present state of technology, these demented elites’ power base would be great indeed should they somehow consolidate global power.
Fortunately, there are a number of potential flaws in the creation and function of any totalitarian human system that one can draw some hope from:
1) When egomaniacs conspire to dominate the world, the end is the fracturing of the coalition. It comes down typically to the fact that one party will not yield power to another, or for the greater interest of the grand coalition. Mutual distrust reigns and the coalition splits or the parties tear each other apart in a mad scramble for the top.
2) When a complex human system gets more centralized, there is a tendency for there to be more chaos, not less. Lack of information abounds, leading to inefficiencies. While it is true that technology can mitigate some of the problems past centralized regimes experienced, there are still too many variables taking place in real-time for elites to administer a massive polity and maintain control over the long-term. In sum, reality is a bitch.
3) Humans are not infinitely malleable. While in some scenarios they may crave outside control, they are intrinsically driven by biological motives to live one’s own life and to succeed relative to others. Frustration of human desires leads to demoralization, which leads to corruption, economic decay, and collapse in the long run. To quote from Aristotle, “Tyrannies tend to be short-lived.”
These are not overly optimistic claims, but are rather inferred from objective reality and human nature. If elites want to construct a staticof a world, they would have to make human beings static and without motivations of their own. It is no accident that the ancient Greek word for revolution was stasis. If elites think they can avoid stasis through massive waves of propaganda, it is a fact of neuroscience that repetitive agitation leads to desensitization. There is no circumventing the fact that demoralization comes inevitably from the frustration of man’s natural desires, and particularly, his desire for happiness.
Adding complication to the would-be tyrants’ schemes, the global masterminds need to avoid death in order to found and continue any comprehensive regime. Plans beyond the revolutionary stage involve preserving the institution they founded; that is, if they desire it to remain in tact. If the elites choose to have institutional stability by following a singular global despot, there is the danger of intra-organizational tumult during transitions, especially those connected with death. If the elites allow the despot to choose his successor, then the despot may choose a weak one to mitigate threat of assassination.
Personal dynamics of exclusive groups wielding greatthat there is great instability at the top, as the vicissitudes of immoral characters and their interactions are amplified throughout the system, leading to shockwaves and unimaginable consequences.
If the elites opt for an egalitarian power-sharing arrangement, various unspoken coalitions of like-minded individuals will form and shift, and the organization will take on the trappings of high school politics, as petty recriminations and hurt feelings will rule the day, and distract the politicians from effectively ruling the state. Without ample threat from the masses to rise up and overthrow them all, the organization will simply decay into power-struggling coalitions. The world economic order will likewise decay, as the ruling group destroys itself.
Ironically enough, even in the worst totalitarian system, it is the fact of human death that can give subjects the greatest hope. For no set of rulers can live forever, and it is the nature of egomaniacs, particularly sheltered ones, to seek meaning in grandiose plans. This necessarily entails overturning the existing order.
Whether challengers to any totalitarian state would seek to overturn the existing order based on lies, or on eternal truths, is the key question. For one might suppose that elites who have lived within a deceptive ruling class might seek something greater and more glorious for themselves; and that requires founding an order based on truth, human life, and the promotion of happiness.
For who can be happy for long enslaving people who are not grateful for their enslavement? Such a state of affairs where rulers easily preside over perpetually miserable human beings would not only represent a hollow victory over others, one not garnered by merit but by the accident of technological superiority, it would get quite boring.
Immorality can only perpetuate itself for so long before it collapses in on itself; thus sparking the innate drive for the true, the just, and what is conducive to human life and happiness; if only to be contrarian, people would eventually seek to be right.
Our Current State
It is virtually undeniable that the centralization of government under the Obama administration is taking place at breakneck speed. Upon the election of the media-anointed candidate, an unknown with a shadowy history of rabble rousing, the Democrat-controlled government immediately launched an obviously premeditated and comprehensive program of “progressive” policies. Capitalizing upon the national uncertainty springing from a banking and housing crisis, a backdrop so vital to Obama’s election, both the departing and incoming governments grossly rewarded financial and corporate backers with the hard-earned money of their tax-paying subjects. This alerted many shrewd observers that the politicians might be positioning themselves to murder liberty. As the father of this country pointed out, “The last official act of any government is to loot the treasury.”
Shifting into high gear in the drive toward statism by engaging the transmission belt of monetary destruction, the radicals both loosened fiscal restraints and bought precious time to implement their transformational program at the expense of our futures. Using the monetary value of our currency to buffer the shock of economic reality, they bought valuable time to lay the foundation of institutional transfiguration and yet potentially repeat victory in the national elections. In accordance with their statist designs, the radicals installed tighter financial regulations, coordinated support of big labor unions, accrued vast swathes of state-administered property, captured the scientific community through the funding of anthropogenic climate change research, harmonized state and industrial interests under the nouveau rubric of environmentalism, swelled the bureaucracy and staffed it with unaccountable “czars,” and set the stage for the institutionalization of nationalized healthcare. This welfare state engine, fueled by fiat currency and lubricated by massive debt, is destined to overheat, and the eventual breakdown of our economic system is certain.
While the disruption caused by the regime’s radical policies is causing millions of Americans acute distress, others sheltered by the government from personally experiencing the destruction remain oblivious. National misery has been veiled among the welfare dependent, and among the overpaid and insular government bureaucrats, due partly to mass media propaganda intent on omitting, understating, or suppressing the critics of the negative effects of the regime’s policies. While it is true that due to the open nature of the Internet the media stonewalling campaign is easier to circumvent, due to the entertainment-obsessed, and one might surmise, intentionally miseducated and generally ignorant mentality of millions of voting Americans, the political demise of the regime in the upcoming national elections is far from certain.
Historical Comparisons to Modern Germany
Though comparisons between the current state of affairs to the rise of the Third Reich seem unhelpful in persuading those who conflate reason with emotional temperance of the dire trajectory of our national path, perhaps a necessarily rudimentary analysis extending back to Bismarckian Germany brought through the Weimar Republic period to the Third Reich would assist in elucidating America’s distinctly Germanic drive towards unification.
The Third Reich towers over the rest of modern German history in the public consciousness as the culmination of the particular German spirit. Nationalistic, romantic, and anti-Semitic, the peculiarities of the Hitlerian form of totalitarianism seem to circumscribe and limit useful generalizations between the behaviors of any regime and those of the Third Reich, both within the lay and academic communities. William Shirer, in his popular The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, adopts a Sonderweg interpretation on the German people‘s national path to the supposed ultimate in state-led heinousness. Shirer argues that the Third Reich represented the pinnacle of the German spirit – a continuity of national character extending from Martin Luther to Adolph Hitler, thereby implying that any “lessons” one might draw from the German case regarding any causal processes that may lead a nation to the committal of mass acts of evil are severely limited in scope.
Nazi Germany, for example, defies comparisons to Stalinist Russia on the left, though the latter killed far more innocent people and displayed similar institutional and behavioral characteristics; including nationalism during the “Great Patriotic War,” which both totalitarian states initially embarked upon together. Despite its parallels with Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Russia remains aloof from public criticism in our mass culture, and even garners praise among sequestered academics, because among tacit and avowed socialists, apparently, there are no “enemies on the left.” Such a blase attitude towards the mass-murdering tendencies of one of the left’s own, and one can add to Stalin fellow mass murderer Mao Tse Tong, should worry us, especially as the left remains oblivious to introspection of any kind.
Beneath the bloodspattered historical canvas of twentieth century Germany, and its denouement the Third Reich, is the forgotten harbinger of today’s welfare state, the Second Reich of Bismarckian Germany. Numerous policies of nominally socialist and fascist regimes – and we must be careful not to subsume comparison of them under a false dichotomy of “left” and “right,” which is indicative of an “us-them” mentality resistant to sober analysis – have drawn on the innovations of Otto von Bismarck, Imperial Chancellor of Germany. While it is widely acknowledged that Bismarck was the father of the modern welfare state, having introduced old age pensions, unemployment insurance, and universal medical care, and whose policies presage Social Security, unemployment, nationalized healthcare, and numerous other welfare programs, it is sometimes lost why Bismarck adopted these policies: to co-opt the thrust of the international socialists’ platform. By tracing back the inception of the welfare state and examining its development in its original country, this short article seeks to show is that it is legitimate and valid to see parallels and linkages between contemporary America and modern Germany.
Bismarck, Primat Der Innenpolitik, and Welfare Statism
First, we shall briefly discuss Bismarck’s political career and his shifting views on unification, before his domestic and economic policies. When Bismarck became a representative in the Prussian legislature, he was averse to unification with other German principalities, because he thought it would undermine Prussian sovereignty. After the radical 1848 revolutions, however, he saw the need for the royalists and the centralist liberal democrats to band together against burgeoning threats against imperial authority, and was converted over time to endorse the view of forging one great power that could resist French and Russian encroachments into continental Europe. The unification drive would not be easy. After he became prime minister under the new Prussian monarch Wilhelm I, Bismarck set upon a course of coalescing principalities into one federation, and diplomatically maneuvering Prussia for war against Austria. The defeat of Austria at The Battle of Sadowa would relegate Austria to a junior neighbor, and would clear the way to the strongly bound “Dual Alliance” of Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1879. Such a loose “unification,” with Austria the cowed partner of Prussia, would be repeated with the Anschluss unification under Hitler.
Such an absolutely scant narrative of events nonetheless shows the aspect of truth to the Primat der Innenpolitik, or “primacy of the domestic,” interpretation of Wilhelmine history. From this school of thinking, the foreign policy actions of Bismarck were intended to forge a united Germany, and to prevent the rise of a radical insurgent movement that could topple the crown. To cite Han Ulrich-Wehler, who is considered a seminal scholar of the socio-political analysis of foreign policy:
“From a consideration of these two theoretical questions first, the problems of uneven economic growth, and second, the need for an authoritarian system to legitimate itself – there emerges one fundamental point for the following discussion: German imperialism is to be seen primarily as the result of endogenous socio-economic and political forces, and not as a reaction to exogenous pressure nor as a means of defending traditional foreign interest.” (“Bismarck’s Imperialism,” Past and Present, 148)
One need not follow Wehler into his mode of socialist class warfare interpretation of social and political phenomenon to gather the key point: that for Bismarck, his diplomacy and foreign policy were aspects of his need to build power and to unify Germany against its internal and external enemies. The relevance of this point is that such a manner of thinking greatly sheds light on the foreign policy actions of Barack Obama. As former ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton bluntly put it for purposes of simplification, “(President Obama) just doesn’t care about national security.” Put another way, Obama cares primarily about the security of his power base, and those of his associates. When Obama launches an undeclared war against Libya, in defiance aforehand to any objection by Congress, he acts in a very Bismarckian manner. Bismarck led Germany to war in 1866 against Austria in disregard of parliamentary opposition. When the German Federation was dissolved into one entity after the successful war with Austria, the new Chancellor’s budgets for the last four years were approved by the liberal parliament, implying that Bismarck had funded his wars against Denmark and Austria without Congressional approval.
The Winding Road to Hitler
An ineffective parliament leading to a rubber-stamping parliament on behalf of an executive power foreshadows national disaster in the Western world. In addition to Bismarck’s gradually more obeisant parliament, one can add, conceding numerous particularistic caveats, Adolph Hitler’s heeling Reichstag. Should people need reminding, Hitler was elected to Reichschancellor in 1933, and soon absorbed the parliament into his totalitarian program of Gleichschaltung. Such a brazen act would only be tolerated in light of the hapless and ineffectual parliament of the Weimar Republic. In a supreme abdication of popular authority, the Reichstag yielded its power to the National Socialists in March 1933 under the Enabling Act.
While international socialists like to separate themselves from being lumped in with the national socialists, and commonly point out that Hitler himself persecuted communists and disbanded trade unions, they rarely, if ever, mention that the social democrats, communists, and Nazis were all enemies of their antithetical ideology – classical liberalism. If classical liberalism is a force that divides state power and thus prevents the rise of a dictatorial state, modern collectivist ideologies seek to use the state to reign in all aspects of human life under the elites’ control. Such a fact makes any comparison of the American right and Nazis nonsensical, since conservatives in America stand for liberty, an unfettered economy, and the individual. As for the “shattered unions,” they were soon replaced by the German Labour Front, which had compulsory membership. Card check, anyone?
But going outside of the German cases to illuminate further similarities between weak parliaments and the rise of strong executives, there is also the case of the Duma under Nicholas II, which was dominated for a period by the state-loyalist Sergei Witte. The toothless parliament led to the feckless and unstable Provisional Government of 1917, whose inability to handle the national crisis of the first world war set the groundwork for the Bolshevik putsch, and the installation of a nominally communist, effectively fascist, dictatorship comprised of a dedicated revolutionary minority. The policies that underscore the fascistic tendencies of the Bolsheviks are war communism, the retention of currency, and finally, Lenin’s New Economic Policy, which he called “state capitalism.”
In addition to classical liberals, another common enemy between the proto-fascists, National Socialists, and the communists, was organized religion. While the hostility to organized religion is well-known among communists, the Nazis relationship to Christianity is complex. Scholar of fascism Stanley Payne notes that: “fundamental to fascism was the foundation of a purely materialistic ‘civic religion’ that would ‘displace preceding structures of belief and relegate supernatural religion to a secondary role, or to none at all,’ and that ‘though there were specific examples of religious or would-be ‘Christian fascists,’ fascism presupposed a post-Christian, post-religious, secular, and immanent frame of reference.” (A History of Fascism, 9)
Preceding the communist and fascist attacks on organized religion was Otto von Bismarck’s Kulturkampf, which waged ideological war on The Catholic Church, because it fostered a powerful alternative form of identity and loyalty. It should be noted that Bismarck’s plan did not work, and only mobilized the Catholics to defend themselves, showing that religion is perhaps the strongest bond of shared identity, possibly rivaled only by shared tongue. (See the Hungarians’ uprising against and overthrow of the communist Bela Kun government after Minister of Culture Gyorgi Lukacs attempted to destroy Christianity by trying to sexualize youths in the state-run schools, for another example.) Bismarck was forced back to the middle, where he commandeered socialist causes by initiating a series of welfare state programs. Such usurpation of the left can be suspected as a tactic of President Obama, given that he garnered far more contributions by corporate donors in nearly all separate sectors of the economy. (One can follow these links to compare Obama’s contributions by industry to those of his top competitor McCain.)
While Bismarck was a proponent of trade protectionism, a policy that Obama does not share across the board due to the nature of our weakly based credit and debt-fueled consumer economy, Bismarck, Hitler, and Obama are advocates of welfare statism and increasing the dependence of the people on the state. It should be pointed out here that the German philosophical point of view encapsulating Bismarck’s and Hitler’s domestic policies is not Marxian, but rather Hegelian. Karl Marx’s teacher G.W.F. Hegel, known as the father of totalitarianism, is the red thread connecting Bismarck’s policies to those of Hitler and through the Frankfurt School of the New Left to Obama. A distinction can be made between the German dictators in that Bismarck was a coolly rational but bellicose practitioner of realpolitik, while Hitler was a rabid, romantic, and nihilistic mass-murderer and warmonger. There is a great deal of difference in tactics, but the strategy of promoting “unity in the state” is the same.
State-directed industry, retirement pensions, unemployment insurance, universal healthcare, economic crisis leading to consolidation of national power, an obeisant and unpopular parliament yielding to an empowered executive, a bellicose and cynical foreign policy, these are not glancing similarities, but fundamental parallels among the Second Reich, the Third Reich, and our potentially burgeoning Fourth Reich. The historical accident of anti-Semitism in the Third Reich does not rule out all tactical and policy similarities between the three polities. While the National Socialists were racialists, and despised the Jews for the nature of their diaspora, their alien and conservative culture, and their penchant for capitalist accumulation, one might say that some on the American left, but not all, are anti-Semitic because the Jews are successful capitalists, and the Jewish state is both a painfully glaring example of relatively successful, though American-subsidized liberal democracy, and a foil to the backwards and despotic regimes of the Middle East that the left non-coincidentally has a soft spot for.
Potential Benefits of Thoughtful Historical Analogies, Dangers of Crude or Superficial Analogies
One must be careful when making such arguments to state up front that claiming some parallels among political phenomena is not the same as claiming all parallels, or that they lead, as if in a vacuum, to the same results. World War I is a rift in German history that makes a straightforward “continuity” argument between Bismarckian Germany and Hitlerian Germany simplistic; harsh reparations and national humiliation added insult to injury in a German defeat that was far from certain. By extension, comparing future America to the the Weimar republic, marked by currency devaluation to pay war reparations, hyper-inflation, an ineffective parliament enjoying low confidence, and in general, economic crisis leading to the rise of a popular demagogue to the status of dictator, make for potentially fruitful, but admittedly treacherous terrain for exploration. But the shared overriding context of the centralization and accumulation of immense amounts of state power over the economy, and thus all aspects of national life, make comparison possibly illuminating. The parallels along the most important state and economic lines are too uncomfortably similar for sane citizens to ignore. But in no wise is the author claiming that something like a Holocaust is impending in America; indeed, we may have on our hands a “smiley-faced fascism,” as Jonah Goldberg believes comedian George Carlin was prescient to point out. The insidious nature of Obama’s unaccountable czars, including avowed communists and hardcore environmentalists, suggest to me that the Obama regime is nonetheless extremely dangerous. This is a hypothesis, not a statement of fact. I hold out sincere hope that I am completely wrong, and invite any reader to disprove me using counter-factuals that strike at the core of my informed speculation.
What the author of this argument needs to point out in order to gain fuller plausibility for what may simply be superficial similarities that may be shared among, say, even the most benevolent of regimes, are linkages and the likelihood of conspiratorial designs hidden by deception. The latter, in my opinion, can be shown to be the case due to the bizarre manner in which Barack Obama was mentored and subsidized by communists and Islamists; was steadily elevated throughout his career, without an accessible and demonstrable record of achievement; and was propelled to the presidency by a completely fawning, disingenuous, and almost uniformly laudatory mainstream press. The mythos of Barack Obama, along with the deceptive covering of his radical past, demonstrates all the hallmarks of cultural Marxist fabrication, and de facto, some kind of conspiracy.
Ideological and Institutional Linkages Between Modern Germany and Contemporary America
With this in mind, the New Left is a crucial linkage that substantively ties this argument together. While the nature and importance of the Frankfurt School is beyond the scope of this essay to fully explore, suffice it to say, that it is a little-known but absolutely indispensable institution for conservatives to be aware of, and whose contribution to the formation of the New Left explains the great majority of the radicals’ behavior. While Obama’s ideological mentor Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals, is a key to understanding the president’s tactics, the architect of his grand strategy must be understood to be Italian communist Antonio Gramsci. The New Left mastermind instructed radicals to infiltrate the institutions of cultural and information dissemination in Western countries, and to make a “long march” through the universities, schools, entertainment and news media, and courts in order to transform the culture before transforming the economy to meet popular demands.
This Gramscian strategy of tandem cultural manipulation and economic manipulation would eventually recreate the European class warfare conditions necessary to foment a socialist revolution and for radicals to take power. It should be noted that in regards to Alinsky’s writings, it is quite glaring that power is both the means and ends of the New Left’s radicalism; and the lack of ideological principle therein, in accordance with nihilism, is a major driving force shared between the New Left and National Socialism. For more cultural linkages between America and pre-Nazi Germany, one can refer to Professor Allan Bloom’s irreplaceable text, The Closing of the American Mind. For similarities between America’s compulsory universal education system, and the German innovations that drive it, one can consult John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education.
In addition to the similarities in ideology between the rise to power of the German dictators and the ascendancy of the New Left in America, the nihilistic lack of principle and the Hegelian statist philosophy, there are political linkages extending back a century. Woodrow Wilson can be seen as the progenitor of left-leaning American progressivism in mainstream politics, and again, his contribution to the similarities between the United States’ trajectory and that of Germany since Bismarck are too extensive to mention here. One can, however, point out that Wilson was a great admirer and student of two politicians: Abraham Lincoln and Otto von Bismarck. Why did Wilson revere Bismarck? To quote Jonah Goldberg’s masterful book Liberal Fascism, “[Bismarck's] top-down socialism was a Machiavellian masterstroke because it made the middle class dependent on the state.” What better summation of the left’s drive since Wilson can be encapsulated?
In addition to Wilson’s reverence for Bismarckian domestic policies, he laid the institutional groundwork through which the left could “fundamentally transform” America into a state-dominated nation. The foundation of a central bank and the institution of a progressive income tax were not merely agencies of statist greed, but two planks straight out of the Communist Manifesto. Though it is conceivable that such institutions can be put into place by a state without communist motivations, that is to say, without subscribing to the full Marxist program, the destruction of the currency by The Federal Reserve System has been so stark, and its aiding of state-accumulated debt so critical to the left’s program, that one with an appreciation for history might rightfully be apprehensive about a purposive recreation of Weimar-like hyper-inflation. This is particularly a real possibility in an economy whose industrial capability has been decimated by a crusade of environmental regulation and the second highest corporate taxes in the world. America’s dependence on presumed future antagonist China not only for debt-financing, but for manufactured goods, make the likelihood that such a program is mere coincidence somewhat beyond the stretch of this person’s imagination.
One would also be remiss not to point out that the master of Nazi propaganda Joseph Goebbels indeed studied and learned greatly from the propaganda techniques of the Wilson administration. The American president enacted numerous anti-speech and anti-liberty policies, and called on public relations guru Edward Bernays to help lead the Committee on Public Information, which pioneered public propaganda techniques later borrowed by numerous regimes. Goebbels was indeed a student of Bernays, as has been documented. Circumventing the watchdogs of information, one can find the similarities online by simply researching the connections between “Bernays and Goebbels”, rather than “Wilson and Goebbels”, which solicits numerous left-wing denials.
The last linkage to be cited here is economics. The central bank’s destruction of the currency and subsequent inflation is a crucial linkage because it creates the class warfare conditions that make socialism of any stripe possible (recall that the hyper-inflation of Weimar was due to the excessive printing of money for war reparations). The following is a quote from the patron saint of American economics John Maynard Keynes on the effects of inflation:
“Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. – As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery. [...]
“Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”
F.A. Hayek in the virtually required reading The Road to Serfdom noted that John Maynard Keynes, Fabian Socialist and architect of the post-war world economic order, was an ardent admirer of the Germans’ statist outlook. Hayek cites Keynes:
“[E]ven in peace industrial life must remain mobilized. This is what he [a German author] means by speaking of the ‘militarization of our industrial life’ ['the title of the work reviewed,' brackets by Hayek]. Individualism must come to an end absolutely. A system of regulations must be set up, the object of which is not the greater happiness of the individual (Professor Jaffe is not ashamed to say this in so many words), but the strengthening of the organized unity of the state for the object of attaining the maximum degree of efficiency…” (195)
What better explanation for the assault on the American Dream can be had than the economists and politicians falling under the sway of such a liberty hostile program? Under the economic guidance of Keynesianism, whose falsity can be demonstrated as easily as pointing to the phenomenon of stagflation, is it any surprise that the current economy in America is not conducive to ‘individual happiness’? That the lives of human beings are being ground between the gears of state to make for supposed ‘greater efficiency’?
But human beings are not widgets to be inserted into the engine of statism, and they will not be remolded into the docile and pliable image desired by their statist masters as easily as might be supposed. The people must be brainwashed, they must develop a desire to be remade, they must throw themselves into the hands of the collectivist mob, to desire emancipation from themselves, from the dire economic conditions, from reality itself. Such is the stuff of dangerous mass movements leading too frequently to bloody results.
Whether or not America can avoid such a disastrous fate is in some degree up to the intentions of those in the state. And as history has shown, when the lives of men can be so arbitrarily manipulated by a powerful state, narcissists flock into the immoral and thus corrupt government seeking to wield power for personal and political gain. If America is not yet another nation to be entered into the annals of political tragedies, it is only a matter of time before it will be. That is, unless, a pro-liberty counter-culture can foment up, and overwhelm the hell-bent statists before it is too late.
Though free market capitalism is the most successful economic system in the history of the world, both in terms of its correlation with high national GDP and in terms of allowing the great majority of citizens to raise their standard of living, no country on the face of the planet currently has free market capitalism. It seems counter-intuitive: why would peoples forego establishing an economic system that permits them to prosper? The main reason is that the state hates free market capitalism: it is an economic system that allows individuals to serve themselves.
We see a continuing culture war in Western civilization carried out against The Enlightenment since Marx and Nietzsche declared that God did not exist: Whom should man serve?
Those on the reactionary left perceive a spiritual emptiness in capitalism deriving from its “materialism,” which they magnify to capture and encompass all of man’s aspirations and relations with others. Since they desire to create a modern world religion to replace the old religions, they disdain the individualist underpinnings of free market capitalism. There seems to be have been a void left at the core of Western Civilization since “God’s death,” and great thinkers have sought to fill it with their own totalitarian systems. Nietzsche saw a world crisis of nihilism stemming from the implication that “God is dead”and proposed heroic myths to fill the void. This perhaps is the meaning of Ayn Rand‘s novels: the creation of “heroic myths” to provide quasi-spiritual support to free market capitalism.
But to get back to the point of the article, solely serving oneself and one’s family is now castigated as selfish, and not just by one party, but frequently, by both parties. While the Democrats are the “welfare” party demanding that producers “sacrifice” for the greater good, the Republicans are doing likewise as the “warfare party” with their nation-building exercises; but essentially, both parties are simply different aspects of coercive altruism (I’ll coin this term to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary altruism) – the negation of serving oneself.
In conclusion, Americans must assert themselves as sovereign individuals, and unite in common political defense of the essential principles of our Constitutional republic. There has to be this bedrock principle firmly and explicitly embedded in citizens’ minds to prevent the politicians’ further erosion and destruction of the Constitutional republic under cover of sophistic or legalistic rhetoric. Simply put, we must hold to be sacred and inviolable the individual’s right to serve himself and determine his own destiny; in practice, this entails such institutions as private property, sound money, contracts, due process, and equality under the law. All else flows from the core principle of the individual’s right to serve himself.
Lefties are pathologically incapable of responsibility.
1. The New Left’s “critical theory” strategy consists of relentlessly blaming capitalism, white men, or America for all the world’s problems.
a. The left refuses to explain how socialism works in practice. This is because socialism is not an independent economic system, but a critique of capitalism. The unlimited x-factor in socialism is the government use of force.
b. Racism is the “mark of Cain” that cannot be undone in the left’s imagination. It is a permanent stain, and supposedly exists whether white people actually believe in racism or consider themselves racist, or not. This presumes men are incapable of taking responsibility for their own ideas and beliefs.
c. While America is critiqued for imperialist and “neo-colonialist” policies and actions, the context of the world in which America navigates, a world where ruthless adversaries are fiercely undermining the interests of the United States and its allies, is white-washed away. Those countries weaker than the U.S., for good reason, are inherently presumed to be “victims” of America, even if their impoverished, barbaric states pre-existed the founding. In addition, the threats of the aggressive Chinese, Russians, Iranians, Venezuelans, and North Koreans, as well as the existential threat of radical Islam, are severely downplayed or ignored. In summary, America is the prime cause of the world’s problems simply by being stronger than the other nations, while the impoverished or backwards peoples of other countries are automatically “victims” and bear no responsibility for determining their nation’s destinies.
2. Progressive economic policy for a hundred years punishes responsible behavior and rewards irresponsible behavior.
a. The progressive income tax of 1913 punishes people for working harder or putting their money to productive use and earning more.
b. The New Deal instituted Social Security, which takes the responsibility of planning for one’s own retirement out of the hands of Americans, and entrusts those funds to bureaucrats, who have chronically mismanaged the program for decades.
c. The Great Society brought Medicare and Medicaid, which made sense for the very poorest and disabled to have some basic level of medical care. But now it is relied upon by vast numbers of people, including many elderly people who could have planned ahead. and had the means to prepare better financially.
d. Welfare exploded in the 1970s, due in part to a determined plan by Democrats to get as many people on public welfare rolls as possible to “collapse the system” (Cloward and Piven). Not only does this subsidize irresponsible behavior, thus getting more of it, it directs the nation’s finances into a downwards spiral, eventually crushing the economy, and the standard of living for all Americans. This ultimately results in even more reliance on government.
e. The Federal Reserve, whose charter is a plank straight out the Communist Manifesto, rewards consumption, and punishes savings. It therefore undermines people’s ability to plan for future contingencies by destroying interest rates.
f. The use of the government to intervene in the market often shields enterprises, corporations, or labor from market accountability.
3. The Left is incapable of formulating and carrying out responsible foreign policy.
a. More Democrats have gotten America into unwinnable or excessively costly military adventures than “conservatives.” The military is a means to an end of promoting the left’s worldview, thus there is little consideration given as to the prudence of military excursions. (From Woodrow Wilson’s actions in the much-misunderstood World War I to JFK’s massive increase of troops in Vietnam to Bill Clinton’s sorties into Yugoslavia to distract the public from Monicagate. After we were attacked by terrorists throughout the 90s, leading to 9/11, Bush did the responsible thing by taking on the Taliban and AQ in Afghanistan. The nation-building exercises in Iraq and Afghanistan are not consistent with conservatism, and instead are a variant of internationalist interventionism pioneered by Woodrow Wilson.)
b. The Left’s appeasement policies lead to mischief-making and a decline in respect for the United States. This means that diplomacy is likely to be less credible, because nations are more likely to call your bluffs, and there is actually an increase in likelihood of military conflict.
c. The left’s cutting of the military and intelligence leaves America more vulnerable. This usually results in perceived weakness and military adventurism by our adversaries, due to the effect of “signaling” our intentions to retract from an aggressive posture in the international arena.
In summary, when it comes to foreign policy, economic policy, or other domestic policy, the totality of the left’s policies is by definition, irresponsible.
A few hard questions for the pro-socialist ‘dupes‘ out there:
If America were truly as imperialist and colonialist as most socialists claim, then why didn’t it use the H-bomb prior to 1949 to conquer foreign nations? Or why hasn’t the U.S. taken over Canada? Or why hasn’t it taken over Mexico, instead of allowing Mexicans to immigrate unimpeded?
Or why does America liberate every people whose nation it goes to war with? In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. is fighting brutal, ruthless enemies and trying to liberate and protect people, and the American military, and its leadership, are excoriated by the left for doing it! Does the left enjoy seeing people enslaved and terrorized?
Or why is it that every nation America defeats in war or liberates does better than it did prior to that war? Japan and South Korea are the obvious examples. Japan was demolished by the U.S., with firebombing and nuclear bombs, and then was rebuilt and protected by the U.S. military. Fifty years later, American manufacturers struggle to compete with innovative Japanese firms.
In South Korea, south of 38th parallel, we see from photos taken from outer space at night a brightly-lit peninsula. To the North, we see a dark, desolate gulag-state with a tiny pinpoint in the PyongYang palace of Kim Jong-Il.
We can also add to this short list America’s participation in the Normandy invasion, its subsequent protection of West Germany (and France) from the Soviet army, and the obviously positive effects of the Marshall Plan in regenerating Europe after World War II.
Or how can liberals claim to be so smart, while most are unable or pathologically unwilling to see America in an accurate historical context? I will proffer an answer to the last question.
The answer is two-fold. “Progressives” have a deep-seated aversion to history, believing that each ‘moment’ can be reinvented regardless of prior history. It might even be conceived that they view cause and effect itself as a type of “prison.” In addition, their Marxist worldview prevents them from admitting that America could ever do anything good.
To expand on the this, Marxist theory provides the doctrinaire prism through which leftists shoot all their ideas. Marxism, and its offspring, provides a kind of mental security blanket, presumably enhancing “elites’” claims to intellectual superiority. For the leftists, the sheer bizarreness of their worldview edifies their sense of exclusive insight and separates themselves from the ‘unenlightened’ masses in their esteem.
Marxism thus leads to the perception on the part its adherent that he is participating in a type of struggle through which he will gain meaning and importance. In this way, it is very much like a cult; a godless, utopian millenarian cult. This is very important in the “post-God” Nietzschean world of the New Left, whose spiritual anomie led disaffected intellectuals to found a new religion, one that they could develop from scratch and mold, one that would be “scientific” in scope and methods of conversion.
Marxian elites distinguish themselves from the masses. That is, they differentiate between those to be mind-manipulated, and themselves, the presumed masterminds (and one has to give the ‘dupes’ credit for their sheer destructiveness and capability of leading millions to death and enslavement). Thus the “theory” does not hold in all cases, disproving itself. If millionaire Democrats can be socialists, and those in all social “classes” can be pro-capitalist, the theory makes no sense. The material (meaning degree of wealth) explanation for the world’s ills is debunked.
In sum, Marxism and its offshoots feed a sense of narcissism and increasing radicalism; as Marxists‘ demands can never be fulfilled in the real world, they push harder and harder to make reality conform to their ideology; this of course requires that they be given more power and more control.
Thus, in a sick kind of way, America, as the most successful and powerful country of the world becomes inherently the main problem in the mind of the Marxist. All of the backwards and despotic nations, whose failed economic and political models are evident to the student of history, are attributed to the United States by necessity. America must be colonialist, imperialist, and worse, even if its history proves otherwise (thus the neologisms “neo-colonialist” and “neo-imperialist“).
Additionally, a capitalist America cannot be admitted by the left as capable of doing good because this would mean by implication that people have free will and agency to choose good over evil. In other words, economics or material reality could not determine behavior in the way that Marx describes. And if it is the case that a capitalist America can do good, then how could the Marxist worldview be true? Who would be to blame systemically for the world’s problems, and how could we as a collective change the world?
The emotionally indigestible and even unfathomable answer for the leftist is that we are all individuals, and the battle between good and evil is a personal one. We must all wage that battle alone, with help from others, of course, and with direct accountability to our consciences or God. The full import of this truth fills the leftist with existential anguish; because of his atheist, collectivist worldview, he cannot emotionally accept such a reality.