The Propaganda System [mirror]

I just really don’t like the background color here:

The Propaganda System

Noam Chomsky, 1986

excerpted from the book

Stenographers to Power

media and propaganda

David Barsamian interviews

Common Courage Press, 1992, paper

Introduction: Resisting Thought Control

The popular cultural representation of the U.S. media is that they are adversarial to, and independent of, state and corporate power. This well cultivated and consciously promoted image quickly dissolves under the lens of scrutiny.

The actual purpose which the media serve very effectively is to inculcate and defend the economic, social and political agenda of privileged groups that dominate | domestic society and state. Myriad techniques are employed including: selection of topics, distribution of concerns, framing of issues, story placement, filtering of information, emphasis and tone, Orwellisms, photographs, etc. The media inoculate the public against reality creating a cordon sanitaire between fact and fiction. History and context, if not ignored is distorted. Thus, Iraq invades Kuwait. War happens. It breaks out like measles or smallpox. No background is offered. The Gulf War is a textbook example of “nuzak” where journalists were virtually indistinguishable from stenographers.

The reasons for this pattern are clear. The media are corporations that have a market: other businesses that advertise through the media. The media are selling their advertisers a product, namely readers and audiences. From an institutional point of view that is what the corporate media are: enterprises out to make money, like other businesses. Their behavior is rational. They reflect the interests of their owners. The media are a tool for constraining political debate within limits that serve the interests of the ruling elite by controlling our understanding of what is politically possible.

The Propaganda System
Noam Chomsky
October 24, 1986

NC: … Walter Lippmann, the famous American journalist, said in 1921 that the art of democracy requires what he called “manufacture of consent,” what the public relations industry calls “engineering of consent”, another Orwellism meaning “thought control”. The idea was that in a state in which the government can’t control the people by force it had better control what they think.

… in the important study called Crisis of Democracy … published by the Trilateral Commission, a group of international, essentially liberal elites, people of whom [President] Carter was a kind of representative, the ones who staffed his administration, they refer to the schools as institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young.” Of course, they’re talking to one another there, that’s not what you say in public. But that’s the way they’re understood. They are institutions for indoctrination, for imposing obedience, for blocking the possibility of independent thought, and they play an institutional role in a system of control and coercion. Real schools ought to provide people with techniques of self-defense, but that would mean teaching the truth about the world and about the society, and schools couldn’t survive very long if they did that.

DB: C.P. Otero, who has edited a collection of your essays entitled Radical Priorities, has written in the preface of that book, “The totalitarian system of thought control is far less effective than the democratic one, since | the official doctrine parroted by the intellectuals at the service of the state is readily identifiable as pure propaganda, and this helps free the mind.” In contrast, he writes, the democratic system seeks to determine and limit the entire spectrum of thought by leaving the fundamental assumptions unexpressed…

NC: …the Soviet Union … a country run by the bludgeon, essentially. It’s a command state: the state controls, everybody basically follows orders. It’s more complicated than that, but essentially that’s the way it works. There, it’s very easy to determine what propaganda is: what the state produces is propaganda… One of the reasons it’s so popular is because it’s kind of trivial, and another reason is that it’s talking about our enemies, so that makes it popular. If he was dealing with a serious problem, ourselves, then it wouldn’t have been popular; in fact, it probably wouldn’t have been published. In a country like that, where there’s a kind of Ministry of Truth, propaganda is very easily identifiable. Everybody knows what it is, and you can choose to repeat it if you like, but basically it’s not really trying to control your thought very much; it’s giving you the party line. It’s saying, “Here’s the official doctrine; as long as you don’t disobey you won’t get in trouble. What you think is not of great importance to anyone. If you get out of line well do something to you because we have force.”

Democratic societies can’t really work like that, because the state can’t control behavior by force. It can to some extent, but it’s much more limited in its capacity to control by force. Therefore, it has to control what you think. And again, democratic theorists have understood this for 50 or 60 years and have been very articulate about it. If the voice of the people is heard, you’d better control what that voice says, meaning you have to control what they think … One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there’s a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins. Namely, you have to make sure that both sides in the debate accept certain assumptions, and those assumptions turn out to be the propaganda system. As long as everyone accepts the propaganda system, then you I can have a debate.

The Vietnam War is a classic example. In the major media, the New York Times or CBS or whatever-in fact, all across the spectrum except at the very far-out periphery which reaches almost no one-in the major media which reach the overwhelming majority of the population, there was a lively debate. It was between people called “doves” and people called “hawks.” The people called hawks said, “If we keep at it we can win.” The people called doves said, “Even if we keep at it we probably can’t win, and besides, it would probably be too costly for us, and besides maybe we’re killing too many people,” something like that. Both sides, the doves and the hawks, agreed on something: we have a right to carry out aggression against South Vietnam. In fact, they didn’t even admit that that was taking place. They called it the a defense” of South Vietnam, using “defense” for “aggression” in the standard Orwellian manner. We were in fact attacking South Vietnam, just as much as the Russians are attacking Afghanistan. Like them, we first established a government that invited us in, and until we found one we had to overturn government after government. Finally we got one that invited us in, after we’d been there for years, attacking the countryside and the population. That’s aggression. Nobody thought that was wrong, or rather, anyone who thought that was wrong was not admitted to the discussion. If you’re a dove, you’re in favor of aggression, if you’re a hawk you’re in favor of aggression. The debate between the hawks and the doves, then, is purely tactical: “Can we get away with it? Is it too bloody or too costly?” All basically irrelevant. The real point is that aggression is wrong. When the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia, they got away with it, they didn’t kill many people, but it was wrong because aggression is wrong. We all understand that. But we can’t allow that understanding to be expressed when it relates to the violent actions of our state, obviously. If this were a totalitarian state, the Ministry of Truth would simply have said, “It’s right for us to go into Vietnam,” period. Don’t argue with it. People would have known that that’s the propaganda system and they could have thought what they wanted. They could have seen that we were attacking Vietnam just like we can see that the Russians are attacking Afghanistan. You couldn’t permit that understanding of reality in this country; it’s too dangerous. People are much more free, they can express themselves, they can do things. Therefore, it was necessary to try to control thought, to try to make it appear as if the only issue was a tactical one: can we get away with it? There’s no issue of right or wrong. That worked partially, but not entirely. Among the educated part of the population it worked almost totally. There are good studies of this that show, with only the most marginal statistical error, that among the more educated parts of the population the government propaganda system was accepted unquestioningly. On the other hand, after a long period of popular spontaneous opposition, dissent and organization, the general population got out of control As recently as 1982, according to the latest polls I’ve seen, over 70 percent of the population still was saying that the war was, quoting the wording of the Gallup poll, “fundamentally wrong and immoral,” not “a mistake.” That is, the overwhelming majority of the population is neither hawks nor doves, but opposed to aggression. On the other hand, the educated part of the population, they’re in line. For them, it’s just the tactical question of hawk vs. dove. This is, incidentally, not untypical. Propaganda very often works better for the educated than it does for the uneducated. This is true on many issues. There are a lot of reasons for this, one being that the educated receive more of the propaganda because they read more. Another thing is that they are the agents of propaganda. After all, their job is that of commissars; they’re supposed to be the agents of the propaganda system so they believe it. It’s very hard to say something unless you believe it. Other reasons are that, by and large, they are just part of the privileged elite so they share their interests and perceptions, whereas the general population is more marginalized. It, by and large, doesn’t participate in the democratic system, which is an elite game overwhelmingly, and people learn from their own lives to be skeptical, and in fact most of them are. There’s a lot of skepticism and dissent and so on. But this is a typical example. Here’s a case which is an interesting one because, while the technique of thought control worked very effectively, in fact to virtually 100 percent effectiveness among the educated part of the population, after many years of atrocities and massacres and hundreds of thousands of people killed and so on, it began to erode among the general population. There’s even a name for that: it’s called the “Vietnam Syndrome,” a grave disease: people understand too much. But it’s very striking, very illuminating to see how well it worked among the educated. If you pick up a book on American history and look at the Vietnam War, there is no such event as the American attack against South Vietnam. It’s as if in the Soviet Union, say, in the early part of the 21st century, nobody will have ever said there was a Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Everyone says it’s a Russian defense of Afghanistan. That’s not going to happen. In fact, people already talk about the Russian invasion of Afghanistan- maybe they defend it, maybe not-but they admit that it exists. But in the United States, where the indoctrination system is vastly more effective, the educated part of the population can’t even see that it exists. We cannot see that there was an American invasion of South Vietnam, and it’s out of history, down Orwell’s memory hole.

NC: The experts in legitimation, the ones who labor to make what people in power do legitimate, are mainly the privileged educated elites. The journalists, the academics, the teachers, the public relations specialists, this whole category of people have a kind of an institutional task, and that is to create the system of belief which will ensure the effective engineering of consent. And again, the more sophisticated of them say that. In the academic social sciences, for example, there’s quite a tradition of explaining the necessity for the engineering of democratic consent. There are very few critics of this position. There are a few: there’s a well-known social scientist named Robert Dahl who has criticized this, and he pointed out-as is obviously true-that if you have a political system in which you plug in the options from a privileged position, and that’s democracy, it’s indistinguishable from totalitarianism. It’s very rare that people point that out. In the public relations industry, which is a major industry in the United States and has been for a long time, 60 years or more, this is very well understood: in fact, that’s their purpose. That’s one of the reasons this is such a heavily polled society, so that business can keep its finger on the popular pulse and recognize that, if attitudes have to be changed, we’d better work on it. That’s what public relations is for, very conscious, very well understood. When you get to what these guys call the institutions responsible for “the indoctrination of the young,” the schools and the universities, at that point it becomes somewhat more subtle. By and large, in the schools and universities people believe they’re telling the truth. The way that works, with rare exceptions, is that you cannot make it through these institutions unless you’ve accepted the indoctrination. You’re kind of weeded out along the way. Independent thinking is encouraged in the sciences but discouraged in these areas, and if people do it they’re weeded out as radical or there’s something wrong with them. It doesn’t have to work 100 percent, in fact, it’s even better for the system if there are a few exceptions here and there; it gives the illusion of debate or freedom. But overwhelmingly, it works. In the media, it’s still more obvious. The media, after all, are corporations integrated into some of the major corporations in the country. The people who own and manage them belong to the same narrow elite of owners and managers who control the private economy and who control the state, so it’s a very narrow nexus of corporate media and state managers and owners. They share the same perceptions, the same understanding, and so on. That’s one major point. So, naturally, they’re going to perceive issues, suppress, control and shape in the interest of the groups that they represent: ultimately the interests of private ownership of the economy-that’s where it’s really based. Furthermore, the media also have a market-advertisers, not the public. People have to buy newspapers, but the reason is that otherwise advertisers won’t advertise there. The newspapers are designed to get the public to buy them so that they can raise their advertising rates. But the newspapers are essentially being sold to advertisers via the public, which is part of the medium for selling newspapers to advertisers. Since the corporation is selling it and its market is businesses, that’s another respect in which the corporate system or the business system generally is going to be able to control the contents of the media. In other words, if by some unimaginable accident they began to get out of line, advertising would fall off, and that’s a constraint. State power has the same effect. The media want to maintain their intimate relation to state power. They want to get leaks, they want to get invited to the press conferences. They want to rub shoulders with the Secretary of State, all that kind of business. To do that, you’ve got to play the game, and playing the game means telling their lies, serving as their disinformation apparatus. Quite apart from the fact that they’re going to do it anyway out of their own interest and their own status in the society, there are these kinds of pressures that force them into it. It’s a very narrow system of control, ultimately. Then comes the question of the individual journalist, you know, the young kid who decides to become an honest journalist. Well, you try. Pretty soon you are informed by your editor that you’re a little off base, you’re a little too emotional, you’re too involved in the story, you’ve got to be more objective, there’s a whole pile of code words for this, and what those code words mean is “Get in line, buddy, or you’re out.” Get in line means follow the party line. One thing that happens then is that people drop out. But those who decide to conform usually just begin to believe what they’re saying. In order to progress you have to say certain things; what the copy editor wants, what the top editor is giving back to you. You can try saying it and not believing it, but that’s not going to work, people just aren’t that dishonest, you can’t live with that, it’s a very rare person who can do that. So you start saying it and pretty soon you’re believing it because you’re saying it, and pretty soon you’re inside the system. Furthermore, there are plenty of rewards if you stay inside. For people who play the game by the rules in a rich society like this, there are ample rewards. You’re well off, you’re privileged, you’re rich, you have prestige, you have a share of power if you want, if you like this kind of stuff you can go off and become the State Department spokesman on something or other, you’re right near the center of at least privilege, sometimes power, in the richest, most powerful country in the world, and you can go far, as long as you’re very obedient and subservient and disciplined. So there are many factors, and people who are more independent are just going to drop off or be kicked out. In this case there are very few exceptions.

NC: … In March 1986, came the major vote on contra aid. For the three months prior to that, the administration was heating up the atmosphere to try to reverse the congressional restrictions on aid to the terrorist army that’s attacking Nicaragua, what they internally call a “proxy army,” a proxy terrorist army attacking Nicaragua, which is of course what it is.

DB: Also called “freedom fighters.”

NC: To the public they call them freedom fighters. If you look at the internal documents they’re a proxy army engaged in terrorism, but that’s internal, so I’ll call them by the accurate internal terms: proxy terrorist army. So the question is: Could we reverse the congressional restrictions on this? That was the government’s problem. The first three months of that year were very interesting in that respect: how were the media going to respond to the government campaign to try to reverse the congressional vote on contra aid. I was interested, so I took the two national newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, and I went through all their opinion pieces, every column written by one of their own columnists, every authored submitted opinion piece and so on for January, February and March. There were 85. Of the 85, all were anti-Sandinista. On that issue, no discussion was even tolerable. So, 85 out of 85 followed the party line: Sandinistas are bad guys. Incidentally, it’s interesting that there is one person of those 85 who has written elsewhere, in a more nuanced fashion, but not here. Perhaps he knows that he never could have gotten in unless he took that position. So on the major issue: Are we against the Sandinistas?: 100 percent control. Not a whisper of debate. Now comes the next point. There are two very striking facts about the Sandinista government as compared with our allies in Central America: Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador. These facts are undeniable, whatever you think about them. One is that the Sandinistas, among these Central American countries, are unique in that the government doesn’t slaughter its population. That’s just not open to discussion. That’s a fact. Second, it’s the only one of those countries in which the government has tried to direct services to the poor, has in fact diverted resources to social reform. Again, that’s not under discussion. You can read that in the Inter-American Development Bank reports or anywhere you like. So these are two rather striking facts that differentiate Nicaragua from Guatemala, El Salvador and in fact even Honduras, where about half the population is starving to death. Those three countries, especially Guatemala and El Salvador, are among the world’s worst terrorist states. In the 1980s, they have slaughtered maybe over 100,000 of their own citizens with ample U.S. support and great enthusiasm. They are simply violent, terrorist states. They don’t do anything for their population except kill them. Honduras is more like a government where the rich rob the poor, that’s the government. They do some killing, but not on the scale of their major allies, but maybe half the population is starving. In contrast, the Sandinista government, whatever you think about them, has not slaughtered the population and has diverted resources to them. That’s a big difference. So the next thing I looked at was: How often were those two facts mentioned in these 85 editorials? The fact that the Sandinistas are radically different from our allies in that they don’t slaughter their population was not mentioned once. No reference to that fact. The fact that they have carried out social services for the poor was referred to in two phrases in 85 columns, both sort of buried. One was an oblique reference which said that because of the contra war they can’t do it any more. It didn’t say what they were doing. The other was a passionate attack against the Sandinistas as totalitarian monsters and so forth and so on, which said that well, of course, they did divert resources to the poor. So, two phrases in 85 columns on that crucial issue, zero phrases in 85 columns on the not-insignificant fact that, as distinct from our allies, they haven’t slaughtered their population, they haven’t killed 100,000 people. Again, that’s really remarkable discipline.

After that, I went through all the editorials in the New York Times from 1980 to the present-just editorials-on El Salvador and Nicaragua, and it’s essentially the same story. For example, in Nicaragua on October 15, 1985, the government instituted a state of siege. This is a country under attack by the regional superpower, and they did what we did in the Second World War in Hawaii: instituted a state of siege. Not too surprising. There was a huge uproar: editorials, denunciations, it shows that they’re totalitarian Stalinist monsters, and so on. Two days after that, on October 17, El Salvador renewed its state of siege. This is a state of siege that had been instituted in March 1980 and has been renewed monthly since, and it’s far more harsh than the Nicaraguan state of siege. It blocks freedom of expression, freedom of movement, virtually all civil rights; it’s the framework for mass slaughter within which the army we organized has carried out massive torture, slaughter, and is still doing it, in fact.

All you have to do is look at the latest Amnesty International report. So here, within two days, Nicaragua instituted a state of siege, and El Salvador renewed its state of siege under which they had carried out a major mass slaughter and torture campaign. The Nicaragua state of siege was a great atrocity; the El Salvador state of siege, which was far harsher in its measures and its application, literally was not mentioned. Furthermore, it has never been mentioned. There is not one word in about 180 editorials which mentions it, because that’s our guys, so we can’t talk about it, they’re a budding democracy so they can’t be having a state of siege. In fact, the editorial comment and the news reporting on El Salvador is that this is somehow a moderate centrist government which is under attack by terrorists of the left and terrorists of the right, which is complete nonsense. Every human rights investigation, the church in El Salvador, even the government itself in its own secret documents, concedes that the terrorism is by the centrist government; they are the terrorists. The death squads are simply the security squads. Duarte is simply a front for terrorists, as he knows. But you can’t say that publicly because it gives the wrong image. You can go on and on, but these are very dramatic examples of the utter servility of the media right at the top. They will not even permit opinion pieces, not only editorials, even opinion pieces won’t be permitted which stray from the party line, because it’s just too dangerous. Similarly, throughout the whole Vietnam War there was never an opinion piece in the New York Times or any other newspaper that I know of that said that the United States was wrong to attack South Vietnam…

NC: …the corporations so totally own the government that it never gets out of line.

Things I’m surprised weren’t mentioned after watching the former CIA and NSA boss Michael Hayden and reporter Glenn Greenwald debate each other

The surveillance includes world leaders. Do we suspect Angela Merkel of terrorism? 

And the vast sprawling surveillance state is so big it doesn’t even know its own size. The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”


The Debate via Techdirt:

“If you have (a little less than) 2 hours this weekend, find a way to sit down and watch the mother of all debates about the NSA surveillance program, in which former CIA and NSA boss Michael Hayden and reporter Glenn Greenwald debate each other. Hayden had (in)famous law professor Alan Dershowitz on his side, and Greenwald had Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian on his side, and they both had their interesting moments, but this debate was all about Greenwald v. Hayden and they did not disappoint. Greenwald knocked it out of the park. Hayden came off as condescending and evasive, while Greenwald had facts readily at hand. Hayden said he wanted to debate on the actual facts, and Greenwald brought a bunch, which Hayden didn’t respond to. Dershowitz kept insisting that it was all okay because the people at the NSA had proper motives (I don’t recall where in the 4th Amendment there’s an exception for motives). Meanwhile, Ohanian highlighted how the NSA is actually making us all less secure and massively harming the economy. The video of the debate is below, but you have to skip ahead to 29 minutes.”

Healthcare Debate and History in the U.S.

Shamelessly stolen from this facebook group: We Build Our Society / #WBOS

Marie posts a question about how to centrally plan the delivery of healthcare to a population, but seems incurious to the actual history of the use by elites to regulate, control and limit what were clearly once FREER (not the mythological perfectly “free”) markets in medical care.

Here is more information:

1. Letter to the editor, Roderick Long:

” To the editor:

To understand the current debate over healthcare, one needs to see past the rhetoric of both parties and look at the policies they actually enact.

Republicans promise to protect us against big government, while Democrats promise to protect us against big business.

“Hey there, corporate parasite” – “Hey there, socialist oppressor”

But in practice, both parties consistently support a partnership between big government and big business, at the expense of ordinary people. They bicker over which partner is to be dominant; but neither party ever seriously threatens the overall partnership.

The healthcare bill is a case in point.

Democrats have portrayed it as an assault on the power of insurance companies – as if those companies won’t benefit enormously from a provision requiring everyone to buy health insurance (with or without the public option).

The Republicans, for their part, portray their defense of the status quo as a defense of the free market. But the status quo in healthcare is no free market; it’s a system of massive, ongoing government intervention on behalf of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the medical establishment.

Democrats and Republicans disagree only over the precise flavor of intervention, not the amount. The question is always whether decisions about your healthcare should be made by bureaucrats, or instead by plutocrats – never by you.

A century ago, a vibrant system of health cooperatives, run not by bureaucrats or plutocrats but by the working class, was dramatically reducing healthcare prices and boosting patient autonomy – until government regulation shut the system down. (University of Alabama history professor David Beito documents the story in his book From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State.)

If Republicans really care about free markets, and if Democrats really care about the poor, why doesn’t either party work to repeal those laws and allow the cooperative system to return?

Roderick T. Long “

Further reading, see
R.T. Long, How Government Solved the Healthcare Crisis: “In “How Government Solved the Healthcare Crisis,” market anarchist theorist Roderick Long discusses the history of the grassroots mutual aid associations that working-class folks organized to get access to affordable healthcare — until the State, at the behest of Big Medicine, deliberately set out to edge them out and shut them down, by any means necessary.”

R.T. Long: Poison As Food, Poison As Antidote:, and
R.T. Long: Remembering Corporate Liberalism:
Kevin Carson’s Meet the New Healthcare Boss:
and Honest Statism Beats a Fake Free Market:
Gary Chartier’s State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ Regarding Healthcare Reform.

Roderick T. Long’s “Mutual Aid Medical Care“:


I Never Fought Back, But It Was Still Rape

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

Relationships are hard. Promiscuity is easy, no pun intended. After being in a long and (what felt like a) seemingly endless relationship for all of high school, and most of my first year of college, it was surprising how easily I slipped into casual sexual relations. All my sexual experience had come from one person and had always been monogamous.

After the break up, I didn’t have sex with every boy I pursued, but sex did happen quite a few times but only once with each boy. I never went back for seconds; it was just easier that way. I know starting off by saying all of this will leave me open to criticism, but I am going to suck it up in the hopes that this reaches people who have something to gain from reading my story. My attitude towards casual sex did play a part…

View original 1,726 more words

A conversation about Capitalism

What if I told you I am a hippie and capitalist at the same time

What if I told you I am a hippie and capitalist at the same time











ɣ shared this and . . .

α: I’d ask you to define capitalism.
. . .


β: Capitalism in a nutshell (for those who don’t know):

1. Human beings are sentient individuals with unique perceptions, thoughts, ideas and abilities.

2. Through these abilities and attributes individuals are capable of creation in the physical world.

3. These creations, whether they be a table made of sticks, or a painting, or a fish caught, are a physical manifestation of the individual’s ability, ingenuity and labor. The individual uses his or her intangible unique potential and creates tangible value through effort. These creations constitute “private property”.

3. Private property being derived from the unique nature and effort of the individual is an extension of that being into the physical world. Therefore, to violate private property without consent of the owner is to violate the individual themselves.

4. Individuals may voluntarily trade private property with other individuals often for property of mutually agreeable and equitable value. In this process wealth is created.

That’s it. It is natural economic interaction between humankind.

People want to have apples to apples conversations with respect to capitalism and socialism. You can’t. Capitalism isn’t a form of government. It isn’t democracy, it isn’t feudalism, it isn’t fascist corporatism, it isn’t mercantilism, it isn’t monarchy and it sure as hell isn’t any derivative of socialism. All of the Statist systems listed were created at least in part to govern “capitalism”. Each Statist system has the result of concentrating the wealth generated by capitalism into an ever shrinking elite cabal while hoodwinking the population into the belief that they are enslaving them for their own good.

Marx, who is responsible for the gobbledegook that socialists constantly whine about, never described what capitalism was even though it was all he bitched about. This type of dishonest and amorphous wordplay is a hallmark of socialists. It’s kind of like the term “social justice”. No one can ever really tell you what it means, so it can literally mean anything and prevent focused, productive conversation.

The goal posts can constantly be moved when you don’t define your terminology, but that is the point.



α: i’m sympathetic, but Patrick, your definition of capitalism is gobbledegook. What you defined sounds a lot more like voluntarism, agorism, or anarcho-capitalism, and it’s broad enough to include almost any pre-capitalist market. And if you’re excluding pre-capitalist markets, then i’m not sure the capitalism you define has ever existed. Capitalism that exists now and actually historically developed has always been a political imposition from above preceded often by the theft of the commons etc.

How do you guys address these concerns?

The Coercive Power of Capitalism – naked capitalism

β: α, no it isn’t. Capitalism pre-Marxism was exactly what I described. You posting something from a socialist website does not change this fact. It’s article is complaining about corporate fascism which is a derivative of socialism, traced back to Marxism. As for it being gobbledygook it can’t be any simpler. “anarcho” implies “without rulers” so, yes. It is capitalism without the state which is exactly what I described, Where people like you get lost is in the idea that capitalism is a form of government. It is not and never has been. You then blame “capitalism” for it being bastardized and warped by the state and the powerful when they rape the population of the wealth created by voluntary economic interaction in a free-market.


ɣExactly as soon as I read Marx got it ‘right’ and it’s definitions of fascism and corporatism conflated with ‘capitalism’ I stopped reading. I seriously wish people could study some basic economics before indulging in Santa Claus…I mean Marx



β: Curious if you’ve ever seen “A Soviet Story”, Jamie? You should look for it on YouTube and check it out. It is about the rise of Socialism in Europe and the branches that became National Socialists (Nazis) and the Soviets or global socialists. Both were rooted in Marxism and of course Statism but Nazism was the sacrificial lamb because it was ultimately on the losing side of the war. The fabian socialists live on and they’ve spent the last several generations convincing the world that Nazism and Communism are the left and right of the political spectrum when the reality is that they are the left and right of socialism which is to say the left and right of the left. The left and right of the State. This shared heritage between the totalitarian Statist ideologies was highlighted by the film.



β: I haven’t seen it. I’ll have to check it out. But I know the history. FDR was part of the plan too. FDR pushed the movement on the west big time during the same time frame. *Socialist/communist movement in the Western Hemisphere that is.



ɣGoebbels would be so proud of today.



β: Yes he would. The Third Way Fabian Socialists have nearly instituted their economic program with minimal resistance. He’d be a proud papa.



ɣAs the saying goes. No one ever learns from history. Till it’s too late.



α: So you didn’t address anything I said and went off on a tangent about statism instead. Pretending corporate capitalism isn’t a form of capitalism is a bizarre misappropriation of the use of “capitalism.” 

And you stopped reading too soon and missed the good stuff,

“If you have a system that requires that people sell their labor as a condition of survival, yet fails to provide enough opportunities to sell labor to go around, you have conditions for revolt. Hungry, desperate people having nothing to lose. That, and not charity, is the root of the welfare state, to provide a buffer for when the capitalist system chokes up and presumably on a short-term basis, fails to provide enough jobs (that and to provide for people who are infirm, handicapped, or otherwise cannot work, which communities in England did in the early modern era).

So you can see the obvious tension: the capitalist classes in America, to increase their riches further, have been squeezing workers harder by not hiring as they did in the past. We’ve never had a “recovery” in the post-WWII era with so little of GDP growth going to labor (meaning both hiring and wage increases). In the past, the average was over 60% and the lowest was 55%. I haven’t seen a recent update, but the last figures I saw was that the level for this “recovery” was under 30%. Yet simultaneously, theres’s a full-bore effort on to gut the remaining safety nets. If this isn’t a prescription for social and political instability, I don’t know what is.”



ɣPretending? It’s description is conflated with the State. It’s called corporatism it’s not the same as capitalism. Personally the article just kept obfuscating both capitalism and it’s mixture with the state. A common misconception.
If anything I agree with this…/Markets-Not-Capitalism-2011… more than that editorial. It’s more of a Mutualist perspective. As for hardcore anti-capitalists, Syndicalists, Marxists writings of the likes you shared I’ve read enough of that stuff years ago. And still dabble in it when a source gets tossed at me. I read it fully this time for you and again will tell you it’s completely filled with State controlled economics, calling it capitalism. I don’t agree with Marx’s static opinion on labor. He constantly misses the point. The individual is an entrepreneur. It’s called human action.



α: I think we both want similar things but the history of capitalism is intertwined with the state, so it’s strange to say that the only true capitalism is stateless. There’s a reason anarcho-capitalism uses a prefix.



α: I still think this, “What [Patrick] defined sounds a lot more like voluntarism, agorism, or anarcho-capitalism, and it’s broad enough to include almost any pre-capitalist market. And if you’re excluding pre-capitalist markets, then i’m not sure the capitalism you define has ever existed. Capitalism that exists now and actually historically developed has always been a political imposition from above preceded often by the theft of the commons etc.”



ɣ: The capitalism described or completely freed markets has never been fully adopted and has always lead to peversion by the State historically. So yes in essence pre-capitalist design would be excluded if there was no state. This doesn’t make voluntary exchange or a medium of exchange fraudulent just because it’s associated currently with the State. That would be a false dichotomy. It’s redundant circular logic that often anti-capitalists use. So you seem to grasp that and yes I’m sure both of us more or less want the same things for humanity.



β: α- you’re lost in semantics and that is the entire point of my “rant”. You are one of the lost people I’m describing. In Brave New World, Huxley used a metaphor of a rose with delta class babies. The babies would marvel at the beauty of the rose and approach it to inspect it in greater detail. As they did they were electro-shocked by overseers as that class of people were conditioned to have an aversion to nature by their masters in the higher castes. I see quite a bit of that in your confusion. What I defined is capitalism. What you are describing is fascist corporatism which is a derivative of Marxism. I have read Das Kapital, I have read biographies on Marx and I am a student of history if nothing else. It is crystal clear that you are relying on contemporary socialist sources for your worldview. I insist that before you start trying to correct people or start claiming that something I describe “sounds like” you educate yourself. You’ve had a difficult time reconciling “anarcho-capitalism”; so what is it if it isn’t what I described. As for the reason “anarcho-capitalism” uses a prefix it is to separate it from the other factions in the anarchist movement, many of which are collectivist or tribal in nature. Nothing more.



ɣWell said β.



α: Of course, I’m “lost in semantics” that’s been my entire objection this whole discussion. You’re not using the dictionary definition when you exclude “perverted” capitalism in your definition of capitalism. Your use of the word “capitalism” is political and not representative of its common use or its historical practice.



ɣ: Wittgenstein said it best. Words. Just mere words. It’s the token matrix. 



β: I am using the historic definition because I refuse to use the Marxist pejorative which is amorphous and leads to obfuscation with claims of “types of capitalism” and your class rhetoric. I strip all of that away. Capital is a created, stored value. Capitalism is the creation and trade of that value. Research the the etymology of the pejorative you describe. You continue to prove your ignorance. In the pejorative sense “capitalism” is a meaningless blob of philosophical drivel created by Marx himself. He never even described it in his writing and yet statists/socialists are quick to blame all perceived ills on it. It is the great trick of the socialist, dishonest word play.



α: Thank you for finally agreeing/coming clean that your use of the word “capitalism” is political and not representative of its common use or its historical or present practice.



β: Where did I agree with you? By rejecting your Marxist babble? Interesting form of argument.



α: “I am using the historic definition because I refuse to use the Marxist pejorative which is amorphous and leads to obfuscation with claims of ‘types of capitalism’ . . .”

I though you were admitting your use is not representative of its current common use or its historical practice or do you actually want to give a counter example instead of insisting i’m speaking Marxist babble.

I’m just using the dictionary definition, and wanted to clarify that you weren’t:



β: And where does your dictionary definition differentiate from mine? In its mention of corporation? Is it different that it doesn’t expressly separate the concept from the state? Is it different in that I explained the philosophical underpinnings of private property? 

If anything your dictionary definition proves that you’ve been spouting word salad about “different types” of capitalism while introducing socialist notions of class to the dialectic. It proves that your articles are socialist bastardizations as has been pointed out repeatedly.

It’s all been laid out for you and yet you remain willfully and stubbornly ignorant.

This is what you’ve been complaining about and it is not capitalism:

“Fascist governments encouraged the pursuit of private profit and offered many benefits to large businesses, but they demanded in return that all economic activity should serve the national interest.[8] Historian Gaetano Salvemini argued in 1936 that fascism makes taxpayers responsible to private enterprise, because “the State pays for the blunders of private enterprise… Profit is private and individual. Loss is public and social.”[9]

One significant fascist economic belief was that prosperity would naturally follow once the nation has achieved a cultural and spiritual re-awakening.[10] Often, different members of a fascist party would make completely opposite statements about the economic policies they supported.[11] Once in power, fascists usually adopted whatever economic program they believed to be most suitable for their political goals. Long-lasting fascist regimes (such as that of Benito Mussolini in Italy) made drastic changes to their economic policy from time to time. Stanley Payne argues that while fascist movements defended the principle of private property, which they held “inherent to the freedom and spontaneity of the individual personality”, a common aim of all fascist movements was elimination of the autonomy or, in some cases, the existence of large-scale capitalism.[12]


α: Lol. I don’t know who you think you’re arguing. But you’re clearly the one not understanding. Capitalism has never existed without the state.



β: It is basic human economic interaction and trade. “I don’t know who you think you’re arguing”? I’m not arguing, I’m educating. You’re regurgitating and failing repeatedly. You’ve been able to back up none of your assertions and in fact have unwittingly supported everything I’ve stated. You’ve got nothing in each successive post except to abandon your last. And please stop moving the goal posts. Not once did I speak to the state in the context of your “argument”.


The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism

In the realm of economics, capitalism applies the principle of individual rights to the production and exchange of goods and services. Viewed from the perspective of economics, capitalism is the system that completely separates economy and state. Under this arrangement, individuals are left free to produce, trade, and consume economic values, both material and spiritual, according to their own rational judgment. The government plays only the role of neutral umpire, providing a system of objective laws that protects property and contract, and that punishes the initiation of force and fraud in economic relationships.

α: β, you’re not educating. You’ve been unable to understand what I’ve been saying this entire time. Please give me an example of moving goal posts. This is the same thing I said in the beginning.“Capitalism that exists now and actually historical

ly developed has always been a political imposition from above preceded often by the theft of the commons etc.”The baseline structure of every economic system is POLITICAL.

Your description of capitalism is an ideological fantasy and you have not once given an example of it existing.

Btw, I’m not a statist. I’m not a Marxist. The blog post I linked to was authored by Yves Smith “Yves has been in and around finance for over 30 years as an investment banker, management consultant to financial institutions across a large range of wholesale banking and trading markets businesses, and a corporate finance advisor. She has also written for the New York Times, Aljazeera, the New Republic, Salon, the Conference Board Review, the Australian Financial Review and other financial publications. “

Her blog is not a “socialist blog.”

α: I think this is close to the crux of our disagreement.Corporate capitalism IS actually included under the umbrella of capitalism.

The capitalism you defined doesn’t exist/ has never existed.

β: No it isn’t. What you are describing is not capitalism and is part of the Marxist dialectic. I told you exactly what capitalism is. I’ve explained it as best I can and given you ample resources which you continue to ignore. The Clemson University site included. You can call it what you will. You can say it is a fantasy, whatever floats your boat. The fact is this is what capitalism is.

I don’t care what the authors credentials are, as we have pointed out there is conflation and continues to be. By her credentials she’s a corporate fascist. When the government intervenes in the market capitalism ceases to exist. Period.

Call it whatever you want. I reject your terminology because it is wrong. When the government blends its interest with the corporation and the public absorbs private losses that is fascism. It has no resemblance to capitalism.

And I’ll give you an example of moving the goal posts. When did I ever mention any of your Marxist pejoratives? You introduced them, not me. You attacked my illustration of capitalist economic interaction without a leg to stand on. You’ve tried in vain to create some standing by flailing away with “corporate capitalism” and your other assorted nonsense that I never mentioned.

β: One other interesting bit to this conversation, your insistence in the last few paragraphs that capitalism has never existed is pretty funny considering that is one of the major critiques of Marx and his inability to describe what he was criticizing. It’s also interesting in that this is exactly what Jamie and most other free market advocates have been saying for a long, long time. It hasn’t existed and yet it has been blamed repeatedly for statist/socialist blunders.
α: Your definition of capitalism has never existed which means that when everyone else uses the term, you aren’t having the same conversation. You have admitted that your definition is not equivalent to the dictionary definition and haven’t ever addressed that the creation and foundation of “capitalism” of any kind is political. Of course you’re frustrated that I don’t accept your definition of capitalism, it’s just an ideological obfuscation. And of course capitalism that actually operates can be blamed for things and of course it’s not the same capitalism as the fantasy that never existed. Your definition sucks and makes conversations with everyone who isn’t in your ideological bubble suck. And i’m not even a statist.
α: Was the U.S. ever capitalist by your estimation? When did it stop being so?
β: α, you’re doing it again. Let’s recap;

You interjected because I defined the economic basis for capitalism with a simple step by step description.

You continue to insist that “individuals left free to produce, trade, and consume economic values, both material and spiritual, according to their own rational judgment…” is a kind of economic interaction that does not exist or that it is the basis of some type of fantasy or “sounds like” anarcho-capitalism. (surprise, surprise!)

You’ve wasted everyone’s time by insisting that it is wrong when you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

Thank you for your time. As for your assertions about what I have said, people are free to read my words. They and the content of this thread speak for themselves.

When you decide to acknowledge reality the world of possibilities will expand for you.

I hope that this has been as informative as it should have been for you. If you take a step back, do a little reading and don’t try so hard to shield the ego, you’ll gain so much knowledge.

As for your final shift of the post I encourage you to read about the history of central banking in the United States and then decide for yourself.

From there I’d encourage exploration of the forces that financed the Bolsheviks. It is fascinating.

α: Condescension isn’t education. Some day you might understand what I was saying.
β: No, I won’t. It’s impossible to understand when someone is saying nothing at all. You’ve not made one sensible point in 10,000 words in spite of the inclusion of a number of sources including a school of economics at a major university and your own dictionary choice proving you’re clueless.
You’ve engaged in projection by insisting that I’m the one obfuscating when I couldn’t have been more clear and you’ve illustrated perfectly the strategies developed by the Frankfort School to obfuscate and broaden definitions while going as far as to unwittingly engage in critical theory, a Marxist tactic.
It is mind numbing to waste time on someone who has spent the last several days effectively trying to argue that capitalist economics and the free-market are mutually exclusive and that capitalist free-market interaction does not and has never existed except in fantasy. If I’m coming off as condescending it’s because you’ve come off as obnoxiously obtuse and deserving of derision.
α: Condescension isn’t education. Some day you might understand what I was saying.
α: Really thought you’d be able to realize that a freed market is incompatible with the state.

Pres. Obama gives orders to ASSASSINATE US Citizens

Originally posted on General Strike to end Corruption:

By Glenn Greenwald

When it comes to Obama’s assassination power, he has repeatedly refused to disclose the principal legal memoranda prepared by Obama OLC lawyers that justified his kill list. Obama is, right now, vigorously resisting lawsuits from the New York Times and the ACLU to obtain that OLC memorandum. In sum, Obama not only claims he has the power to order US citizens killed with no transparency, but that even the documents explaining the legal rationale for this power are to be concealed. He’s maintaining secret law on the most extremist power he can assert.

If the Obama administration simply asserts without evidence or trial that someone is a terrorist, then they are assumed to be, and they can then be punished as such – with indefinite imprisonment, torture or death.z_drone_strike000


It is justifying the due-process-free execution of people secretly accused by the president and his underlings, with no due…

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