Posts Tagged: the state

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Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change. - The Boston Globe

THE VOTERS WHO put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy. …

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"A truly freed market, completely absent state power plays, would likely look a lot different than the current system. We don’t have any way of knowing how people would travel and to where in a free society (or free world!) but it’s safe to predict that if even the current hobbled market offers better solutions for outbreaks than political government does, a freed market would be better yet."

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"Government is the enemy of the poor and the minorities. No supposed progressive vanguard can deny this fact."

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“So long as it remains legitimate for men to dream of gaining and maintaining centralized power through revolutionary or state violence, violence against individual women will remain a small matter. Therefore anti-authoritarian women are not merely estranged from male-dominated nation states; they reject their legitimacy and defacto seek their abolition. … Anti-authoritarian women know that putting an end to male personal, political and military violence will mean the rapid dissolution of the nation state system. The threat or use of police and military violence created and maintains almost all nation states.

“Anti-authoritarian women offer as an alternative to the nation state decentralized, non-violent communities joined only in a variety of voluntary regional, continental, and worldwide confederations. … To prevent communities from becoming mere patriarchal mini-despotisms, anti-authoritarian women promote consensual decision making and nonviolent sanctions…. Non-violent sanctions such as peer pressure, publicity, boycott, and protest could be equally effective and less open to abuse. These new forms of controls would eliminate the warrior ethic and weapons of war….”

Support C4SS with Carol Moore’s “Woman vs. the Nation State”

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"These concrete collusions between corporate and State power are not necessarily planned or premeditated, but neither are they accidental. A centralized system of politics which grants sweeping law-making and discretionary powers to a relatively small, elite group incentivizes the abuse of those powers in favor of moneyed interests. As the individualist anarchist William Bailie wrote, “Laws are made directly or indirectly in the interest of the capitalist class, and they are always administered and interpreted … in the same spirit.”"

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"Medicare D and Obamacare amount to giving subsidies to people who can’t afford to buy glass of water insurance, so that they’ll be able to afford to pay the water salesman $10,000. They amount, therefore, to massive subsidies to the drug companies and to healthcare providers. Thanks to the government, Big Pharma is able to price gouge an even larger share of the population who would previously have been able to pay."

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Full Context: The Centrist Corporate State Threatens Our Liberty

In The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith famously wrote, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” It may seem strange that history’s best-known advocate of the free market would cast such aspersions on business people. But there is nothing strange about it. A defense of the market, and of voluntarism in general, should never be mistaken for a defense of particular business interests.

Opponents of the free market love that quote from Smith. For obvious reasons they rarely add the sentences that follow: “It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary” (book I, chapter X, part II, paragraph 27; emphasis added).

As Smith well knew, government often facilitates such assemblies. Effective “conspiracy[ies] against the publick” would be impossible without state support. Absent political privilege, “contrivance[s] to raise prices” would crumble under the pressure of free competition. It takes a state to make a tariff, a price support, or a punitive tax or regulation on one’s competitors. …

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This Machine Kills Secrets

WHAT IS THE MACHINE THAT KILLS SECRETS? WikiLeaks brought to light a new form of whistle-blowing, using powerful cryptographic code to hide leakers’ identities while they spill the private data of government agencies and corporations.

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"However, throughout history, socialism has had a broader meaning, which basically boils down to the abolition of the existing capitalist order in favor of a more equitable system without such hallmarks of capitalism as strong class distinctions, boss/employee hierarchies in the workplace, and oligarchic control of the means of production."

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"All of this is to say nothing of later free market libertarians such as Benjamin Tucker who went so far as to identify their completely unregulated, stateless free market with socialism. These radicals saw that the State’s regulations, laws, licenses, and permits in fact acted to consolidate power in the hands of great, monopolistic trusts. The dominance and market power of these large entities, combined with the government’s theft of the land and preclusion of self-sufficiency, allowed the “captains of industry” to acquire wage labor at an extortionate reduced price. It will no doubt come as a surprise to Dickinson that a committed socialist and class warrior like Benjamin Tucker would agree wholeheartedly with Charles Koch’s claim that supporters of regulation are being “hoodwinked.” But Dickinson might not be so surprised should he decide to consider the historical relationship between the interests and prerogatives of capital and those of the State more closely. Like Comte and Dunoyer, Tucker would have treated as laughably absurd the notion that our political overlords would want to hobble the rich. Attacking the “band of licensed robbers called capitalists,” Benjamin Tucker nevertheless advocated consistent free market competition of just the kind that so worries Dickinson."