Tag Archives: Presidents

“Presidents”, by Eric Peters

Totalitarian leaders are totalitarian leaders, no matter what you call them. Even if it’s a nice title like “President.” From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

No matter the system, it seems every country now has a “president.” Including “presidents” (for life) like Vladimir Putin of Russia, formerly the Soviet Union. Which – more honestly – once upon a time had a general secretary or a premier.

It was once the case that only America had a president. Other countries – many of them very un-American, like the old Soviet Union – appropriated the title, with the idea that doing so might linguistically convey a don’t-examine-it-too-closely message of democratically elected legitimacy.

Of course, in those days, everyone knew the difference between a premier or general secretary and a president. Hence the importance of eliminating the distinction.

Everyone’s a “president” nowadays.

Because there is no longer much distinction – functionally – between a “president” Putin and a “president” Biden.

Neither presides.

Both rule.

One for an indefinite period, the other a defined period. Does it make any meaningful difference?

The modern “presidency” is in fact a kind of disingenuous autocracy, in some cases (as in ours) episodically elected.

Whoever holds the office wields the power of a premier or general secretary. He – or she – issues “executive orders,” another form of linguistic legerdemain meant to flim-flam the minds of the not-every-thoughtful by giving decrees the imprimatur of “democratic” legitimacy.

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Trump And the Presidential Fearmongering Tradition, by James Bovard

Fear, and using it to expand their power, are governments’ stock in trade. The last sentence of this essay is particularly pertinent. From James Bovard at lewrockwell.com:

The media is railing about Trump for fearmongering ahead of the midterm elections.  Like this never happened before?  Like this is not the job description of modern politicians? Like Obama, George W. Bush, and Clinton did not fearmonger whenever they could profit by spooking Americans?  Trump is continuing a tradition that was firmly established by Woodrow Wilson.  Fearmongering is simply another proof of the rascality of the political class – and another reason why their power should be minimized. Here’s a 2011 piece I wrote on the topic, excerpted in part from Attention Deficit Democracy.

Fear-Mongering and Servitude

In his 1776 essay, “Thoughts on Government,” John Adams observed, “Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.” The Founding Fathers hoped the American people would possess the virtues and strength to perpetuate liberty. Unfortunately, politicians over the past century have used trick after trick to send Americans scurrying to politicians to protect them.

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