Or take the right to vote. In principle, it is a great privilege. In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society’s merely functional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily co-operating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government.
-Aldous Huxley, in Brave New World Revisited (1958)
The single event that changed my life more than any other was TARP, aka the banker bailout. The unfairness, extreme greed and selfishness with which the status quo bailed out financial criminals while leaving the public high and dry changed me forever. When it comes to shaping American history, it is equal in importance to the attacks of 9/11.
As someone who grew up privileged, I never really questioned the criminality of the status quo system. Like so many others who are beneficiaries of the ways things are, there’s not much incentive to look behind the curtain. Nevertheless, the banker bailouts shook me to my core and opened my mind in ways that no other event could. At the time, I was happily earning a very large income at a young age while doing absolutely nothing to benefit society. As such, I couldn’t contemplate why government officials were putting so much money and energy into bailing out people like me, while ignoring everyone else. It felt irrational, unethical and dirty. I wrote about all this for over a year while still working in the financial sector, before concluding that it was time to part ways in early 2010. Even back then, I was incessantly warning that tremendous anger from the banker bailouts would ultimately bubble to the surface and create the sort of backdrop in which authoritarians, demagogues and fascists thrive.
In the years since the financial crisis, there have been many positive signs which have inspired in me a long-term optimistic view. One of the most encouraging events of this time period has been the creation and success of the crypto-currency network Bitcoin. Some of the smartest minds on the planet are now dedicated full time to pursuing Bitcoin-related projects, and its mere existence has inspired millions across the globe and opened minds to the unbridled explosion of human creativity that emerges from decentralized systems.
Unfortunately, the 2016 Presidential season and the related violence and divisiveness has made me considerably more pessimistic about the near-term. In that regard, this post was inspired by something I read earlier today from John Whitehead of the Rutherford institute. Here it is in full:
“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.”—James Madison
America is a ticking time bomb.
All that remains to be seen is who—or what—will set fire to the fuse.
To hammer the point home, let’s revisit a passage from my recent post, If Senseless Violence Continues, America Will Be a Total Police State in No Time:
While we don’t know who the police murderers in Dallas were, or their motivations, we do know one thing. Their actions will unquestionably have several very counterproductive and dangerous outcomes.
1. Further divide the country in general.
2. Further the already wide distrust between the police and the general public.
3. Increase the likelihood of more violence, and the eventual imposition of a total police state in America.
Either the people who committed the murders had the above goals in mind, or they were just stupid, violent criminals who didn’t have the meager sophistication necessary to understand the extremely negative implications of their actions.
Unfortunately for us, the horrible massacres that occurred in Dallas are exactly the sort of thing that the status quo wants to see. It further divides the public and it creates a justification for more militarization of the police, more surveillance and less civil liberties. Guess who’s going to be most negatively impacted by all of that? Black people, poor people, and the disenfranchised generally.Anyone who thinks senseless violence will solve the issues of oppression in America doesn’t understand America or the status quo. Executing police in a premeditated manner gives the establishment credibility, and solidifies its support amongst the silent majority as well as the upper classes. The marginalized cannot win a battle if that’s the case. Period, end of story. If you think otherwise, you’re in for a rude awakening.
It’s been eight years since the financial crisis and look at our choices for President. An ego-maniac with authoritarian tendencies and zero respect for civil liberties/the Constitution and a neocon, war criminal, Wall Street-owned corporatist in liberal sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately, this is how far we’ve progressed politically in the near decade since the status quo bailed out the privileged and crushed everyone else.
So what does this mean? It means we are in for a very real struggle in the near-term. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are unabashed authoritarians who worship at the altar of state power and centralization. If I’m right and the real battle of our time is between decentralization/liberty and centralization/authoritarianism, neither one of these candidates offer anything for us in the freedom camp. Unless some sort of miracle occurs, the next President will be someone who strongly believes in the centralization of power and will push with all of his or her might to further aggregate power in the office of the executive and in themselves. The negative macro trends will continue.
We can’t rely on politicians and we can’t rely on hope. We need to rely on the power of our own actions coming together to ultimately make the world a better place. The window of opportunity is now and the world needs you. All of you.
Full article: America is Being Divided and Conquered Into Oblivion (Liberty Blitzkrieg)