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‘Patriotism’ and Manipulation of it by the State

‘Patriotism’ and Manipulation of it by the State

The notion that we must ‘support our troops’, that we must be ‘patriotic’ towards our nation state and its military because they are fighting for our freedoms and democracy is at a minimum misguided and more egregiously a manipulated conditioning by the state.

The idea that military ‘interventions’ are necessary to maintain our freedom or expand democracy ignores the evidence that the invasion and occupation of foreign sovereign states is motivated by imperial expansion to control fundamental resources (e.g. fossil fuels) and sustain or improve financial/economic hegemony (i.e. maintain the US petrodollar as the world’s premier reserve currency).

War is racket as US Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler argued[1]. It serves the financial interests of the State oligarchs. The State, however, must persuade the masses that this is not the case. It must have the support of the people for the political class to remain in their privileged positions and avoid blowback from the citizens over which they rule.

As Murray Rothbard argues in The Anatomy of the State[2]

“[t]he State is almost universally considered an institution of social service…[and that] we are the government…[But] the government is not ‘us.’ The government does not in any accurate sense ‘represent’ the majority of the people…Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area…Having used force and violence to obtain its revenue, the State generally goes on to regulate and dictate other actions of its individual subjects…[Moreover, the] State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively ‘peaceful’ the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society…The State has never been created by a ‘social contract’; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation…While force is their modus operandi, their basic and long-run problem is ideological. For in order to continue in office, any government (not simply a ‘democratic’ government) must have the support of the majority of its subjects…[Thus] the chief task of the rulers is always to secure the active or resigned acceptance of the majority of the citizens…For this essential acceptance, the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives…Since most men tend to love their homeland, the identification of that land and its people with the State was a means of making natural patriotism work to the State’s advantage.”

The State uses this patriotic ‘feeling’ to convince its citizens that any ‘attack’ is upon them and not upon the ruling caste. Any war between rulers thus becomes a war between people, with the masses defending the rulers in the misguided belief that they are defending themselves and certain ideologies.

In Hegemony or Survival[3], Noam Chomsky argues that Empire (the American one in particular) attempts to maintain its hegemony through military, political and economic means, demonstrating a total disregard for democracy and human rights in the process. He goes on to provide evidence that ‘preventative’ wars by the current global superpower are often used to keep potential/imagined threats from ever reaching a stage where they become real threats to its hegemony.

There is also increasing evidence that, in fact, the State’s citizens have far more to fear from its own government with regard to a loss of freedoms and erosion of democracy than some concocted threat from outside its own borders. The mass surveillance programmes revealed by NSA insiders, undermining of elections, and constant devaluation of currency/purchasing power comes to mind.

To once again quote Murray Rothbard:

“The greatest danger to the State is independent intellectual criticism; there is no better way to stifle that criticism than to attack any isolated voice, any raiser of new doubts as a profane violator…[and] to depreciate the individual and exalt the collectivity of society…[In fact,] the State must nip the view in the bud by ridiculing any view that defies opinions of the mass…Thus, ideological support being vital to the State, it must unceasingly try to impress the public with its ‘legitimacy,’ to distinguish its activities from those of mere brigands.”

The State, therefore, relies upon and manipulates its citizens’ very emotional notion of ‘patriotism.’ It uses it to maintain and expand its control of resources (both physical and financial) both domestically and abroad. And those who question or challenge it are branded treasonous and attacked/ostracised in any number of ways. Questioning is not allowed.

 

 

 

 

[1] War is Racket. 1935. Smedley D. Butler.

[2] Anatomy of the State. 1965. Murray N. Rothbard.

[3] Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance. 2003. Noam Chomsky.

Preserving And Creating ‘Wealth’

Preserving And Creating ‘Wealth’

Avoiding loss of one’s ‘wealth’ from whatever crises may befall you and/or your family seems paramount to helping avoid or at least mitigate the negative consequences that accompany emergencies and disasters, or even the general decline of civilisation. With currency devaluation, government overreach, civil unrest, bank bail-in legislation, labour strife, market corrections, negative interest rates, geopolitical uncertainty, economic decline (perhaps even collapse), it seems almost impossible to protect one’s wealth completely without even worrying about everyday calamities that can place financial stress upon an individual and/or family. The following suggestions seem the most likely way to prepare for an uncertain world, and avoid some of the more dire consequences of increasing volatility and possible confiscation by the-powers-that-be (a concern that must be considered as governments become increasingly insolvent).

It also seems prudent to reduce dependency on complex systems that are prone to disruptions over which you have no control, such as distant supply chains or infrastructure frailties–that is why I believe at the base of your thinking should be a desire for yourself/family/community to become more resilient and self-sufficient. (Note: I have included links to articles found on The Survivalist Blog only to keep the discussion ‘in-house’; and, the information that follows is not meant to be investment ‘advice’ but one person’s thoughts on how to prioritise ‘investments’.)

A common question that arises when contemplating emergency/disaster planning is where to start?

First, focus on yourself and basic survival gear.

Skills and knowledge you acquire are the most difficult to be taken from you. First Aid courses. Fitness/healthcare-oriented activities. Hunting courses. Archery/gun use. Gardening/food production knowledge. Survival training. ‘Handyman’ skills. Building a ‘survival’ library. Activities, training, and literature that can help you and your family cope with unexpected crises are perhaps the wisest ‘investment’ and can’t be confiscated by the-powers-that-be. These should likely be a priority.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It Just Doesn’t Matter

It Just Doesn’t Matter

When an avalanche is about to descend upon you, does it really matter which snowflake was the penultimate cause?

While it’s interesting (in a mental masturbation kind of way) to debate the genesis of a pending market collapse, environmental chaos, or energy cliff, in the end, it really doesn’t matter–unless, of course, we are able to curtail the impending crises by correctly identifying the variable(s) involved and mitigating the consequences, but the likelihood of that outcome is looking increasingly unlikely as systems are prone to overshoot and collapse.

One of the ‘insights’ I’ve had over the past several months as I read the competing narratives that are floating about the globe and attempting to ‘explain’ why the dilemmas we are facing are happening is that we really don’t understand complex systems and the way they behave, so we are bound to cling to simple explanations that support our personal biases and reduce the cognitive dissonance that results when our belief system is challenged.

A large part of the problem, I believe, in discerning which variable(s) play(s) the most impactful role in creating a crisis is the tendency for various interest groups to spin the ‘facts’ to support their particular narrative.

For example, whether the cause of the oil/commodity price collapse is the role of central banks in manipulating the economic system, the limits to growth, overproduction (by Saudi Arabia? US shale? Canadian oil sands?), and/or economic contraction (global? Europe? China? emerging markets?), the result is a loss of thousands of jobs, domestic unrest, and increasing geopolitical tension as nations try to counter the deflationary collapse that appears to be resulting. Many Western politicians and journalists are pointing the finger at the production levels of the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, and their ‘refusal’ to cut production, but data from the past decade shows that supply has increased significantly because of US shale and Canadian oil sands extraction rather than that of Saudi/ME. It strikes me that this ‘spin’ is simply a means of avoiding looking in the mirror and deflecting attention–blaming ‘others’ for our woes is a common means of reducing cognitive dissonance, focusing citizen outrage away from their ‘leaders’, and justifying particular actions/decisions.

In the end, however, the ’cause’ is not that important to the families crushed by a sudden loss of income. And that brings me to the conclusion of this little diatribe: being prepared for whatever comes our way is the only thing that might really matter. Whether at an individual, family, or local community level–I don’t believe it’s possible or prudent to worry much beyond these–being resilient and resourceful in the coming months/years is what is going to make a difference as to how ‘successful’ one can deal with the coming dilemmas.

Best of luck to everyone. I think we’re going to need it.

Steve


In the 1979 comedy, Meatballs, actor Bill Murray provides a ‘motivational’ speech to his fellow summer camp counsellors and campers who are getting soundly beaten in a ‘friendly’ competition by a neighbouring camp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UZvIZAHjlY. In the end, the speech is seen not as motivational but as a message that, in the bigger picture, the competition really doesn’t matter–(SPOILER ALERT) all the good-looking girls are going to go out with the other camp’s counsellors anyways because they have all the money!

CBC and the Control of Narratives, A Rant

During the CBC’s Ontario Today show (July 10) the theme was one of cheerleading the Pan-Am games taking place in the Greater Toronto Area and sharing plans for those games. I called to share a contrarian perspective, basically that it was another example of a massive misallocation of diminishing resources and energy (not meant as a slight to anyone involved who are caught up in trends and behaviours long regarded as positive).

Getting through on my first attempt surprised me, perhaps as much as the person on the other end when I shared my thoughts. She assured me that I would be on shortly and to wait patiently. After fifteen minutes she returned to the line to inform me that I was the next caller. I was not. After another fifteen minutes, and listening to continual gushing about the event, I was informed that there was a ‘timing mishap’ and that there would likely not be the time for me to share but they would take my phone number ‘just in case’ (I was not surprised as this has happened to me before when I called with a non-supportive viewpoint).

I view this as yet another example of media manipulation of perspectives, of controlling the narrative. Being one of the ‘official’ media outlets of the games, the CBC has a vested interest in portraying primarily positive support for this event. Yes, there has been some coverage of the ‘inconvenience’ to drivers but little else in terms of ‘negative’ publicity.

I am not surprised, just disappointed (again) with our national broadcaster at not offering a wider perspective and/or challenging the mainstream narrative.

My view, if anyone cares, is that the event is a great distraction from the various crises exploding on the globe. Most ‘humourously’, Ontario has just completed a conference on climate change (with the leaders from the Pan-Am countries…what a coincidence) with a major ‘insight’ that it is transportation that is contributing significantly to anthropogenic climate change and changes must be made to alter this. Consider, then, the amount of transportation fuels burnt just for this one event; from the travel to/from for all the participants and spectators, to the movement to/from the widely-spaced venues during the games.

We can’t speak about caring for the environment and reducing our role in climate change and continue to pursue policies and actions that are the anti-thesis. Well, I suppose we can, but that just makes us hypocrites.

Stouffville Corner

A new section of my site, Stouffville Corner, aims to provide a variety of write-ups on topics I consider to be of primary importance/ interest. The aim was to have my local paper, Stouffville Tribune, publish them on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to bring the issues to the consciousness of my local community (thus the name). While the paper no longer accepts op-ed pieces due to its limited publication schedule (use to be published twice a week but now only once), I will still be offering the articles on a weekly/bi-weekly basis on my site beginning today with the introductory piece that has been accepted as a letter-to-the-editor.

Cheers…
Steve

Olduvai.ca

Once again my site is under reconstruction due to technical glitches that continue to plague it….if you are interested in my novel, please check out FriesenPress, Amazon.ca, or Amazon.com.

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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