Category Archives: Liberty

Technocratic Dystopia Is Impossible, by Robert Blumen

It won’t work, for billions of reasons. From Robert Blumen at brownstone.org:

dystopia

In the coming technocratic dystopia, life will be grim for most of us. For those who survive the preliminary depopulation, a technological control grid run by AI and robots will keep tabs on our every movement. You notice that your pantry cube is running a bit low on freeze-dried bug burgers, fake meat, and cockroach milk.

You time your break to fall outside of your three daily hours of wind-powered internet. Forbidden by the World Economic Forum from owning your own car, you flag down a quick ride share from your leased living quarters in a stacked shipping container on the near side of your 15-minute city. After dropping off the seven other people in your ride share, you arrive at the fake meat distribution point, where you wait in a long queue, hoping to trade in a few of your remaining carbon ration credits for more provisions.

You worry that your transaction might be rejected by the central bank digital currency network. After all, there was that one moment where your wrinkled brow showed slight unhappiness. You wonder if the facial recognition AI picked it up during one of your masked Zoom calls.

But for the elites, things will be better than ever. Private jets, cars, ultra wagyu beef tenderloin (for their dogs), and large estates. Life-extension drugs will make them nearly immortal. They will vacation at 5-star hotels, a short limo trip from the Louvre, but without the crowds.

The WEF – an infinite source of technocratic malapropisms – says that you will “own nothing” and be happy (the happiness perhaps will be a drug-induced state as Yuval Hariri suggests). Many independent researchers who have looked into the WEF’s plans have reported similar findings. For example – see James Corbett, Patrick Wood, Whitney Webb 2, Tessa Lena 2, Jay Dyer, and Catherine Austin Fitts. 

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What’s Behind the Global Erosion of Civil Liberties, Privacy and Property Rights? By Charles Hugh Smith

Hint: it has something to do with the size of governments. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

The second essential step is to recognize how the spectacles of “news” and entertainment distract our attention from this erosion of basic rights.

Hierarchical power structures like city-states arose as problem-solving solutions, not just for the elites who benefited from the concentration of wealth and power but for the citizenry. This dynamic underpins the analysis presented in my recent book Global Crisis, National Renewal: when nation-states and global hierarchies no longer solve the key problems of their populaces, they dissolve and are replaced by some new arrangement.

It’s easy to see how hierarchies benefit the leaders / elites at the top, but there’s always a trade-off to the populace ceding power/control to elites: we will cede control over our lives in exchange for benefits we cannot gain by ourselves, starting with security from invasion and starvation, i.e. the existential threats posed by Nature and other human organizations.

Over time, as energy surpluses and knowledge increased, city-states aggregated into nation-states and empires. These larger organizations were able to solve problems on a larger scale than city-states.

When these entities could no longer solve existential problems (surpluses diminished, elites failed to provide successful leadership, etc.), they eroded and then collapsed, and were replaced with some other more successful organizational arrangement.

Over time, the citizenry of some regions began expanding the benefits nation-states and their elites were expected to provide in exchange for power: the state was expected to secure the rights to individuals’ property and various civil liberties relating to the free exchange of ideas and knowledge, freedom of worship, and having a say in national decisions.

Globally, these basic human rights are being eroded by state-elite over-reach and consolidation of power beyond what the citizenry agreed upon. For example, the citizenry ceded power to the state to protect individuals’ privacy from the surveillance and information-gathering of both the state and private interests.

As Richard Bonugli and I discuss in our podcast on Eroding Civil Liberties and Property Rights, these privacy statutes are still on the books but they are routinely disregarded by both state agencies and private-sector interests with little functional enforcement by state agencies tasked with protecting the citizens’ rights to privacy.

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A Measure of What We’re Losing, by Eric Peters

Electric trucks would find their place in a free market. They’re being subsidized and forced on us and we’re not just losing internal combustion trucks but our essential right to choose. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The supercharged, 702 horsepower and 10-miles-per-gallon ’23 Ram 1500 TRX is a very practical vehicle.

Unlike its electric non-equivalents.

Where to begin? How about with what it can pull – which is 8,100 lbs. This is nominally less than what an “electrified” half-ton pick-up like the Ford Lightning can pull. But what’s relevant isn’t how much a truck can pull – if it can’t pull very far. With a 6,000 lb. trailer behind it, the Ford Lightning I test drove recently lost half its fully charged hypothetical range of just over 300 miles after less than 60 miles of actual driving – and pulling.

The TRX only gets 10 miles per gallon – and less than that when it is pulling a trailer. But it goes a lot farther, a lot sooner. It has a 33 gallon fuel tank, which endows it with 330 miles of range that isn’t cut in half by pulling a trailer. Or by the cold. And even if it did, it only costs a few minutes of your time to refill the tank and resume your trip. You do not risk the “health” of your gas tank by filling it to full, either.

Which brings up this supercharger business.

The TRX has a real one, hence the italicized text. A mechanical device that increases engine output by increasing the volume of air inside the engine’s cylinders. There is no waiting for this power, either. It is available whenever you need it. Just push down on the gas pedal.

Tesla hijacked the term and applied it to its network of so-called “fast” chargers. These “superchargers” are electric devices that make you wait a long time for the power they provide and they are often not available when you need them. They are “superchargers” in the same sense that a drug cocktail that neither prevents you from getting sick or spreading it to others is a  “vaccine.” But the word-hijacking is done to appropriate meaning. In the case of Tesla “superchargers,” the idea is to make it seem cool to wait.

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A History of Dissent, by Joe Lauria

Dissent is essential for both progress and freedom. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

The Western establishment doesn’t appear to understand how Western journalists could exercise their own agency and judgment to critique U.S. foreign policy without them being agents of a foreign power, writes Joe Lauria.

Thomas Paine by Gutzon Borglum, parc Montsouris, Paris. (couscouschocolat from Issy-Les-Moulineaux, France/Wikimedia Commons)

The United States was founded by dissenters. The Declaration of Independence is one of history’s most significant dissenting documents, inspiring people seeking freedom around the world, from the French revolutionists to Ho Chi Minh, who based Vietnam’s declaration of independence from France on the American declaration.

But over the centuries a corrupt centralization of American power seeking to maintain and expand its authority has at times sought to crush the very principle of dissent which was written into the United States Constitution.

Freedom to dissent was first threatened by the second president. Just eight years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, press freedom had become a threat to John Adams, whose Federalist Party pushed through Congress the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts. They criminalized criticism of the federal government. There were 25 prosecutions and 10 convictions, under the Sedition Act. The acts expired and some repealed by 1802.

The Union then shut down newspapers during the U.S. Civil War.

Woodrow Wilson came within one vote in the Senate of creating official government censorship in the 1917 Espionage Act. The 1918 Alien and Sedition Act that followed jailed hundreds of people for speech until it was repealed in 1921.

Since the 1950s, McCarthyism has become the byword for one of the worst periods of repression of dissent in U.S. history.

The closest we’ve come to Wilson’s troubling dream is the Biden administration’s Disinformation Governance Board under the Department of Homeland Security, which after heavy criticism was disbanded.

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Taking for Granted, by Eric Peters

One of the things most of us have taken for granted—the freedom to hop into a car and drive where we please—is about to be taken away from us. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

When you’re young, you assume you always will be. Just as we assume we’ll always be able to just go when we need to go somewhere – or just feel like going somewhere. Anywhere. No matter how far away. Without having to plan the trip – as you would if you were going to get there by the bus, say.

Just get in your car – and drive.

For more than 100 years, Americans have assumed this is how it always will be, because that’s how it has been and why would it ever be any different? They have organized their lives around this taken-for-granted freedom of movement, this ease of movement.

People could – and did – take jobs that were far from where they lived because it was no problem to get from where they lived to where they worked. Whatever hours they worked. Whatever schedule their kids were on.

They did not have to live close enough to where they worked to be able to use the bus to get to work.

Or train. Or bicycle. Or walk.

It was just as easy to visit friends and family who didn’t live close by – or who lived nowhere near bus/train routes. Random travel – each of us on our schedule, spur of the moment – was our common inheritance. Kids became almost-adults upon turning 16, at which age they gave up their bikes – and walking  – for driving.

The car gave them – gave us all – this freedom.

The electric car is going to take it away.

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My Favorite Period in History, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The world reached an apex of freedom in the United States during the Industrial Revolution. The Golden Pinnacle is a novel by Robert Gore that celebrates that time. I would cut off the period at 1913, when the income tax amendment was ratified and the Federal Reserve instituted. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

My favorite period of history is the United States in the years 1870-1915.

Why?

Because it is the freest period in the history of man.

Was it a libertarian panacea? Nope. There were, in fact, infringements on liberty, such as the violation of women’s rights, the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1870, compulsory school-attendance laws in Massachusetts, and others.

But in terms of economic liberty, there is nothing that can match it.

Imagine:

No income taxation or IRS. People were free to keep everything they earned.

No welfare, including Social Security and Medicare. Charity was entirely voluntary.

No drug laws. People were free to consume, possess, or distribute whatever they wanted.

No immigration controls. Everyone was free to come to the United States.

No minimum-wage laws.

Very few economic regulations. Economic enterprise was free of governmental control.

No foreign wars, interventions, wars of aggression, coups, state-sponsored assassinations, torture, or indefinite detention, except, unfortunately, the Spanish-American War in 1898 and the war against the Filipino people, which signaled the turn toward empire.

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Post-Primate Society: A New Look At The Human Story, by Paul Rosenberg

Humans are extraordinary animals. From Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

Last week I released a new book on Post-Primate Society. I posted it to our members page, available to all our paid subscribers. I’ve also uploaded it to Kindle. A printed book may follow at some point, but I’m not sure when. 

There is a lot to be said about this book, but I think I’d like to let others say it. I see the book as good, compelling and important, but I’ll stop there. 

Here, in this public post, is the introduction to the book, which I called (in the parlance of classical music) an overture. 

* * * * *

The dark ages still reign over all humanity, and the depth and persistence of this domination are only now becoming clear. (Buckminster Fuller, Cosmography)

The golden age is before us, not behind us. (William Shakespeare, Simon The Zealot)

Humanity is just now hitting its stride, or at least we’re threatening to. We approached it before World War I, then suffered through a long, ugly period. Over the past couple of generations, however, our leading edges have started to push through the thorns and weeds, and there’s a reasonable chance that we’ll make it this time. But even if this attempt fails, one of the generations that follows us will make it. Post-primate society is coming; it’s only a question of when.

This much is certain, because the development of mankind – of the human race – has been nothing short of spectacular. We have risen so fast that any other conclusion must stand upon a demand for gloominess and depression. The long-term record is clear, and in fact it is shocking.

I’ll go through the facts about humankind’s meteoric rise in Movement One, but it’s one of the more obvious facts to be seen in this world. In fact, the only way people avoid seeing mankind this way is to insist that mankind is not part of the natural world, but is some type of unspecified other, so we can be more harshly judged. Seeing the human as part of nature, there is no getting around the fact that our development spectacularly exceeds that of anything and everything else.

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A New Year’s Meditation, by Paul Rosenberg

New Year’s wisdom from Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

If you could go back in time a thousand years, you’d find people who were shockingly similar to those you presently love. The same is true for people who will live a thousand years from now. Some of them will be nearly identical to the people you now love, and you would care as deeply for them as you do for their present-day counterparts.

Please understand this: The men, women and children we would love in the future can advance only in the same way we have: by the benefaction of their predecessors.

Can you imagine how long it took for ignorant men to learn the rules of metallurgy? Or crop rotation? Or a hundred other things we can barely imagine being without? Our lives are advanced only because they created new ways of living and passed them down to us. Hundreds of generations lived through dark times, fighting toward whatever bits of light they could find, opposed by others nearly the entire way, to bring us where we are now.

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China’s COVID Chaos A “Horrible Indictment” Of US Leadership For Emulating CCP Lockdowns: Former White House Adviser, by Eva Fu

Totalitarian lockdowns were once hailed as the ideal way to combat Covid. However, they not only obliterated human rights, they ultimately don’t work. From Eva Fu at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:

If the world can learn one thing from the COVID chaos in China, it is that “locking down does not work,” said healthcare policy adviser Dr. Scott Atlas.

“We don’t even know really the extent of the harms to their population that they inflicted by locking down but we know anecdotally that there were massive harms to people—they couldn’t get food, they couldn’t get their own medications, people were imposing a completely uncivilized, almost animalistic way,” Atlas, a previous White House special coronavirus adviser and contributor to The Epoch Times, said in an interview.

For almost three years, China’s ruling regime has imposed a severe zero-COVID strategy, using strict lockdowns, centralized quarantines, mass testing, and omnipresent surveillance to contain the virus’s spread, leading to many residents being deprived of basic living needs, and some even dying from a lack of care.

“This is a massive human rights violation,” Atlas said.

“All of their policies imposed on their public,” he said, referring to China’s communist party (CCP), “is an example of one of the most extraordinary violations of human rights that we have seen in modern history.”

‘Flies in the Face of Common Sense’

The policy reversal that came without a transition plan accompanied an exponential surge of cases that was quickly overwhelming the country’s health system.

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Chris Hedges: Teaching ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ in Prison, Chris Hedges

Police states are strikingly similar, especially in the fear they try to emphasize among their subjects. From  Chris Hedges at consortiumnews.com:

There are many disturbing similarities between the brutality imposed on Stalin’s victims and the injustices endured by the incarcerated in U.S. federal and state prisons.

No Justice No Peace – by Mr. Fish.

Two nights a week for the last four months, I plowed my way through the three volumes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago with 17 students in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University in the New Jersey prison system.

No one in my class endures the extremities imposed on the millions who worked as slave labor, and often died, in the Soviet gulag, or work camps, set up after the Russian revolution.

The last remnants of the hundreds of camps were disbanded in 1987 by Mikhail Gorbachev, himself the grandson of gulag prisoners. Nor do they experience the treatment of those held in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and U.S. secret black sites who undergo mock trials and executions, torture, extreme sensory deprivation and abuse that comes disturbingly close to replicating the hell of the gulag.

Nevertheless, what Solzhenitsyn underwent during his eight years as a prisoner in the labor camps was familiar to my students, most of whom are people of color, poor, often lacking competent legal representation and almost always coerced into signing confessions or accepting plea deals that include crimes, or versions of crimes they were involved with, which were often false.

Over 95 percent of prisoners are pressured to plead out in the U.S. court system, which is not capable of providing jury trials for every defendant entitled to one, were they to actually demand one. In 2012, the Supreme Court said that

“plea bargaining . . . is not some adjunct to the criminal justice system; it is the criminal justice system.”

My students, like Soviet prisoners, or zeks, live in a totalitarian system. They too work as bonded laborers, putting in 40-hour work weeks at prison jobs and being paid $28 a month, money used to buy overpriced basic necessities in the commissary, as was true in the gulag. They too are identified by their assigned numbers, wear prison uniforms and have surrendered the rights that come with citizenship. 

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