An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
In a recent interview with The Corbett Report, the Ron Paul Institute‘s Daniel McAdams spoke disdainfully of those ostensibly anti-interventionist libertarians who picked this moment of all times to loudly and aggressively condemn Venezuela’s president Maduro, just as the US power establishment is ramping up its campaign to topple the Venezuelan government.
“All of a sudden now there are millions of Venezuela experts in America, and many of them could not point Venezuela out on a map five days ago,” McAdams said. “And everyone has to have this disclaimer, ‘Well, I know it’s probably worse than North Korea, but the US government shouldn’t get involved.’ It’s cowardice, because once the war starts, they can say ‘Hey I never called for US intervention!’ No, but you’re a conveyor belt for propaganda. You’re a conveyor belt to get the machine ginned up for war. And so you’ve got to stand up and take responsibility.”…
Even more often, what you will see is excuses made for the US government’s aggressive attempts to control who runs Venezuela, followed by some mumbling along the lines of “I don’t want us to go to war, though” dribbling out of the corner of their mouths. Some silly, arbitrary line in the sand saying that Trump’s current ongoing starvation sanctions, CIA covert ops and premeditated campaign to delegitimize and overthrow Venezuela’s government is fine, and hey, maybe arming some right-wing militias via Columbia would be fine too, but don’t send American troops to do the killing or we’ll be a tad upset.
My online responses to the above linked-to blog post follow:
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“A common refrain is “It’s possible to be opposed to US interventionism while also opposing these tyrannical governments, you know.”” I would say yes, as long as “the tyrannical governments” part of that sentence is true. And if we want to oppose tyrannical governments, then absolutely number ONE on that list would be the United States of America.
“Over and over and over I run into this stupid herd mentality while arguing about this stuff online where people (seemingly deliberately) conflate the notion of Venezuelans sorting out Venezuelan affairs with US interventionism.” Yes, the question of ‘who’ do we mean by the people is important in Venezuela and in the United States. If the people in the US knew the facts about Venezuela and not just the propaganda, then they’d rise up and demand an end to the aggression. Except that caring is knowing. If they don’t know, the[n] you have to ask why. Yes, censorship is rampant now and getting worse. (The hits on my blog yesterday: zero. Today: zero, so far.) Even so, People don’t know about alt/progressive media because they didn’t care when it would have been easier for them to know. It’s getting even harder to reach info now that the State and it’s gatekeepers are literally killing communication, but for people who have been caring all along, they can still get info and even if they couldn’t, they’d be immune to propaganda. On the other hand, If few people care – my proposition – then they don’t even care if it’s propaganda. As gatekeepers (“amateur” government agents, to use Randolph Bourne’s term for self-appointed, unpaid gatekeepers who auto-activate; regular people who aling [align] with power for selfish reasons), expect the majority to support the war-making State.
“The most powerful thing in our society is narrative. Please treat it with an appropriate level of respect.” Of course. And we can disagree, but not when it comes to something like war (and terrorism and suffering and destruction) against an innocent country.
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I posted those comments and received, as of yet, no responses. I sometimes wonder whether I’m visible. I also find commenters on websites like this to be cliquish. They don’t rove online, but more or less stick to one or two sites and become known to each other. The infrequent commenters are outsiders. Or at least this commenter feels like one. This is what progress looks like?
Caitlin’s post is, in its main thrust, bang on. And important.
Randolph Bourne wrote about the State well before people started talking about, and causing confusion as a result, a deep State. (If Bourne were to suddenly be resurrected into our world and resume his thinking and writing, he’d say very different things about the State. But he’d also repeat much that he said previously.) It’s not that there isn’t one. But it isn’t separate from the more fluid State, namely the presidents and admins that come and go. There is only The State. Or the Corporatocracy State. The deeper part of the State is the more stable, enduring parts of it, namely institutions like the ‘military-intelligence-security industrial complex’, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Big Pharma and other big corporate entities. If you don’t believe in Corporatocracy, then you will not agree that those other non government entities are also government. Which isn’t to say that the functions that Bourne assigns to the State are not specific and exclusive to the State. But those functions are not performed by governments that are as they appear to be, independent, democratically arrived at and neutral. Heck, Armies are slowly but surely being privatized. Look at all the private contractors doing uncle Sam’s bidding in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Private security companies, in it for profit, will work for uncle Sam or anyone, but never against uncle Sam. And as Yasha Levine explains in his book, “Surveillance Valley,” With the arrival of Ronald Reagan in the White House, the neoliberal agenda, with its main features of privatization and deregulation, also arrived. He gave the word that led to the privatization of the internet in 1995. Afterwards, Those who own and run the world allowed the people to use, unmolested, the internet until they decided that they had had enough of the people’s voice. That change in mood happened in 2006 when Google created it’s censorious First Draft. So, We the people lost the internet in two main stages. And do note that when the internet was privatized in 1995, it was in fact stolen from the people whose tax dollars created it. Americans, let alone others, had zero to say about the transfer on the newborn internet to the private sector.) The Corporatocracy is world government, essentially, led by nazi America, the world’s biggest, most perverted and lawless superpower. It’s a wild beast that devours all and we, the very few people who care, can’t kill it. That will take a higher power. The idea that that higher power resides in uncaring citizens – the majority of citizens in many places – is sad. (It’s as sad as Thor, the 2012 movie, The Avengers, pleading with his psycho, mass-murdering brother to come back to his senses and join Thor in fighting other mass murderers. Hollywood really hates the idea of crime and punishment while the government that it is a part of presents itself as a law & order government.) It’s a conclusion reached by good people who lack faith and have no choice but to see in themselves, in imperfect humankind, their savior. But that doesn’t work.
The following excerpt from Randolph Bourne’s “The State” saw Bourne taken up with the state of the country when at conventional war. It completely applies to the all-devouring beast that arose out of ‘the earth’ (and to today’s situation), namely the United States, which is an imperial power that does regime change regularly. The Kennedy’s were responsible for turning the State’s guns on its own people – which is to say, its active animosity (counterrevolution) – when it identified the “internal enemy” in connection with Third World countries that sought to self-determine and in a way not to the False Prophet’s liking. The American ruling class’s (hot) attack on the people was an attack on the people in Vietnam and in resistant places like Cuba and various South American countries, firstly, but not solely. Counterrevolution – oppression and suppression of the people – is a concomitant of Corporatocracy, in which elites fear political innovation that can only come from free people who might have solutions for serious environmental and social problems and even ideas about new forms of social organization. Elites benefit from the gangster system they have put in place and maintained and fear the unknown in which they might not only lose their power and privilege but also be called to account for their crimes.
When we say that Americans are lawless, we usually mean that they are less conscious than other peoples of the august majesty of the institution of the State as it stands behind the objective government of men and laws which we see. In a republic the men who hold office are indistinguishable from the mass. Very few of them possess the slightest personal dignity with which they could endow their political role; even if they ever thought of such a thing…
The republican State has almost no trappings to appeal to the common man’s emotions. What it has are of military origin, and in an unmilitary era such as we have passed through since the Civil War, even military trappings have been scarcely seen. In such an era the sense of the State almost fades out of the consciousness of men.
With the shock of war, however, the State comes into its own again. The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war. For the benefit of proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world…
The moment war is declared, however, the mass of the people, through some spiritual alchemy, become convinced that they have willed and executed the deed themselves. They then, with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction toward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come within the range of the Government’s disapprobation. The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an august presence, through the imaginations of men. Patriotism becomes the dominant feeling…
The patriot loses all sense of the distinction between State, nation, and government. In our quieter moments, the Nation or Country forms the basic idea of society…
…Country is a concept of peace, of tolerance, of living and letting live. But State is essentially a concept of power, of competition: it signifies a group in its aggressive aspects. And we have the misfortune of being born not only into a country but into a State, and as we grow up we learn to mingle the two feelings into a hopeless confusion.
The State is the country acting as a political unit…
Wartime brings the ideal of the State out into very clear relief, and reveals attitudes and tendencies that were hidden. In times of peace the sense of the State flags in a republic that is not militarized. For war is essentially the health of the State…
The classes which are able to play an active and not merely a passive role in the organization for war get a tremendous liberation of activity and energy. Individuals are jolted out of their old routine, many of them are given new positions of responsibility, new techniques must be learnt. Wearing home times are broken and women who would have remained attached with infantile bonds are liberated for service overseas. A vast sense of rejuvenescence pervades the significant classes, a sense of new importance in the world. Old national ideals are taken out, re-adapted to the purpose and used as the universal touchstones, or molds into which all thought is poured. Every individual citizen who in peacetimes had no living fragment of the State becomes an active amateur agent of the Government in reporting spies and disloyalists, in raising Government funds, or in propagating such measures as are considered necessary by officialdom. Minority opinion, which in times of peace was only irritating and could not be dealt with by law unless it was conjoined with actual crime, becomes with the outbreak of war, a case for outlawry. Criticism of the State, objections to war, lukewarm opinions concerning the necessity or the beauty of conscription, are made subject to ferocious penalties, far exceeding [in] severity those affixed to actual pragmatic crimes. Public opinion, as expressed in the newspapers, and the pulpits and the schools, becomes one solid block. “Loyalty,” or rather war orthodoxy, becomes the sole test for all professions, techniques, occupations. Particularly is this true in the sphere of the intellectual life. There the smallest taint is held to spread over the whole soul, so that a professor of physics is ipso facto disqualified to teach physics or hold honorable place in a university – the republic of learning – if he is at all unsound on the war. Even mere association with persons thus tainted is considered to disqualify a teacher. Anything pertaining to the enemy becomes taboo. His books are suppressed wherever possible, his language is forbidden. His artistic products are considered to convey in the subtlest spiritual way taints of vast poison to the soul that permits itself to enjoy them. So enemy music is suppressed, and energetic measures of opprobrium taken against those whose artistic consciences are not ready to perform such an act of self-sacrifice. The rage for loyal conformity works impartially, and often in diametric opposition to other orthodoxies and traditional conformities or ideals. The triumphant orthodoxy of the State is shown at its apex perhaps when Christian preachers lose their pulpits for taking in more or less literal terms the Sermon on the Mount, and Christian zealots are sent to prison for twenty years for distributing tracts which argue that war is unscriptural.
The bolding in the above excerpt is mine.
A gatekeeper is anyone who decides to opportunistically ally himself with those who are powerful and anti-democratic. (Consider: If we were one big human family, rather than the divided human race we are with so many choosing to believe in inequality [and ‘us’ and ‘them’ therefore], then there’d be no exclusion and gates wouldn’t therefore be needed. Democrats know that. True Christians know that best.) A gatekeeper can be rich or poor, educated or uneducated, professional or average Joe / Josephine, appointed or self-appointed, completely aware of his gatekeeper role (if appointed), ignorant of it or partially aware of it (if self-appointed). The gatekeeper’s role is to hinder, in any way, small or serious, those who don’t have the ‘right’ political views. The ‘right’ political views, held by the gatekeeper, can be summed up as: The way to survive is to serve and protect those who are powerful, which service ‘may’ therefore protect and/or prosper you in return for your service. Calling that democracy is required.