Monday, March 24, 2014

FREEDOM, LIBERTY AND INDEPENDENCE

by Leslie Fish <;)))><


Those are three different words for a reason;  the differences between them are subtle, but important.

'Freedom' , according to Merriam-Webster's Reliable Book, is the state of being 'free': not restrained, not taxed, not priced, not attached or bound, and having liberty or independence.  It implies both action ("winning free", "breaking free", etc.) and some nearby hostility or threat of enslavement against which one must be watchful and fiercely defensive.

'Liberty' is also the state or quality of being free, with a hint of going beyond normal limits, but its implications are more tranquil or confident.  It carries no associated sense of threat, but assumes that being free to do as you like is one's natural state, and that any attempt to restrain one's liberty is a bizarre oddity.

'Independence' – again, the state of being free – has wider implications: of not being governed or bound by another, but also "not requiring or relying on something or somebody else", and "not easily influenced" – in other words, self-reliant.

It's historically notable that the rebels of the American Revolution used the words 'independence' and 'liberty' more than 'freedom'.  This reveals that the colonials assumed they had already been living in 'liberty' when the British government began trying to take it away.  They were already used to personal 'independence';  the vast majority of Americans then were at least subsistence farmers, or had small businesses usually connected with farming, which meant that the one tactic Britain could never use against them was to try to starve them into submission.  The common self-reliance of the average citizen is what gave them the capability of winning the war, as well as the attitude that made them rebel in the first place.  Americans were used to providing necessities for themselves, and even a few luxuries (such as silverware), and when Britain began leeching away too much of their hard-made wealth they could reasonably ask themselves what America really needed Britain for.

Independence, being the exact opposite of interdependence, is clearly a threat to the "Peace of Dives", which relies for its success on everybody being indebted to, and reliant on, everybody else.  The idea of personal independence – self-reliance and freedom, right down to the level of the individual – is anathema to the Globalist political campaign, and to political and financial organizations supporting it.  This accounts for such apparently unconnected phenomena as NAFTA, gun-control laws, financial institutions refusing to make small loans (or making them at outrageous interest), the EPA banning children's lemonade stands, various governments trying to control the Internet, and Monsanto suing small farmers into bankruptcy for even accidental possession of "patented" food-plants.  Yes, Globalism is the attempt to create a single planetary government, with a single world-wide economy made up of an aristocracy of giant industries, with no individual variation allowed – all in the name of world peace. 
 
It can't be done, of course, and even the attempt is already creating a self-reliance backlash.

Back in the 1960s and '70s, it was politically left-wing Hippies who struck out into the 'wilderness' (or at least the countryside) to create independent farming and manufacturing communes.  As with any new mutation or new industry, 90% of them failed – but the few that survived managed to survive well, and have quietly created templates for successors.  It's intriguing that the effort caused the pacifistic Hippies to take up and seriously study the use of firearms.

In the 1980s and '90s, it was politically right-wing Survivalists who struck out into the 'wilderness' (etc.) to create independent 'retreats' (which they would never ever call 'communes').  Besides the same market/evolutionary forces pushing 90% of them into failure, they also faced a concerted legal and propaganda campaign against them – culminating in the attack on the Branch Davidian "compound" in Waco.  The government in particular considered the almost-religiously armed and business-savvy Survivalists more of a threat than the pacifistic and naive Hippies.  Nonetheless, a few survived – sadder and wiser.  Ironically, they learned of necessity to take a serious interest in organic farming and environmental concerns.

Nowadays, in the face of a continuing Depression and the growth of the economic aristocracy – the "1%" – the pro-independence crowd comes from all across the political spectrum.  The left-wingers don't give themselves any particular label, which makes it hard for the media to smear them, and connect only by personal contact or social internet links, which makes it hard for the government to identify them.  The right-wingers tend to call themselves "preppers" – as in "preparing" for disastrous social collapse – and even there the media has difficulty propagandizing against them because the original "prepper" organization, which charges its members to keep personal caches of a year's food, is the large and powerful Mormon church.

What they all have in common is a growing trend toward independence and self-reliance: providing their own defense, food, medicine, communications and – thanks to the explosive growth of 3D printing – manufacturing.  All over the internet (and other nets) one can find information on how to provide these things from the individual level on up.  With aquaponics one can grow food in a studio apartment.  With a small solar-electric or wind-generator system a house can provide its own power.  With a print-on-demand set-up a small publisher can successfully reach buyers anywhere in the world.  With a basic fuel-ethanol kit a small farm can create its own fuel.  And with a small 3-D printer (getting cheaper all the time) a tiny business can make anything from guns to car-parts.
All of these systems are spreading by leaps and bounds. The last time I went to a house-party to sing, all I had to do was mention the words "organic garden" and every guest had a success story to tell and technical advice to give.  The self-reliance movement, for lack of a better label, is spreading faster than any government – even with the NSA spying frantically – can keep track of, let alone curtail.

There is a long-established tradition of independence in American culture, not to mention 'liberty' and 'freedom', too deeply entrenched for the best efforts of the government, the aristocracy and their obedient media to root out.  This, even more than the collapsing Peace of Dives, spells defeat for the Globalist movement and its hopeful riders. As the global economy slides toward worldwide collapse, we'll soon see the financial aristocracy holding all the money but none of the real production – which will be irretrievably  scattered among the independent population.  In the words of Kipling, once again:

"So, though we had plenty of money,
There was nothing our money could buy.
And the gods of the copy-book headings
Said: 'If you don't work, you will die'."


--Leslie <;)))><            

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Interdependence: "The Peace of Dives"

Nearly a century and a half ago, a young Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem called "The Peace of Dives" in which he offered an economic solution to the problem of war.  Remember that Marxism was a new and as yet not disproven theory then, so a young intellectual could understandably be persuaded by the idea that Economics Is Everything;  therefore, wars are fought for economic reasons -- the hopes of defending one's own goodies while snatching the other guy's.  Kipling proposed that the solution was to get every government in the world in debt to each other, giving all of them a claim to each other's goodies, so that one couldn't go to war without having one's goodies destroyed or confiscated.  "Not for Ashdod overthrown will the kings destroy their own", he claimed.

Well, Kipling was a good observer and honest with himself, so in a few years he saw that his theory was wrong;  economics is not humanity's only motivation for anything, and wars are fought for other reasons than getting economic goodies -- as viz. suicide bombers.  Kipling's writings just twenty years later clearly recant the Peace of Dives.

'Tis pity that most of the governments in the world aren't as smart as a 19th-century English poet.

After World War II the governments of the winning countries, shaken by the sheer destructive extent of the war -- not to mention the amazing destructive potential of nuclear weapons -- searched frantically for some means to end war.  One solution they came up with was the United Nations, originally the winners' circle of WWII, hoping it would eventually include all the world's countries and provide a forum where all governments could talk out their differences -- as if all differences could be talked away.  Another solution they came up with was the Peace of Dives, which has since been labelled "Global Interdependence".

The theory is still the same: get all countries financially dependent on each other, in debt to each other, and they won't dare make war on each other.  This theory shares the great Progressive assumption that all people and all cultures are essentially alike, that the only real division between countries is national boundaries, and an interlaced economy can make those irrelevant.  It also assumes that interlaced economies will make all countries equally healthy, wealthy and wise, so there will be no motivation for war.  This explains the NAFTA treaty, the growth of international corporations, and the western countries' willingness to bend over backward appeasing demanding Arab organizations.  It's all in the hope of preventing war.

Hasn't worked very well, has it?

Kipling knew better.  In dozens of his poems and stories he shows the primacy of culture -- the psychology of whole societies -- and how this is the driving engine behind attempts at conquest and war. 

Arab culture, for example, is based on sexism, self-righteousness, envy and spite -- as its history shows.  This is why, when they weren't attempting to conquer their neighbors, Arab countries would fight among themselves -- on any pretext -- until they ran out of money and soldiers.  Note Syria.

The culture of China, for another example, always (at least 3000 years back, anyway) contained a vast arrogance which held that Chinese were as superior to other humans as the gods were superior to them -- as revealed in their common name for China as "The Middle Kingdom": midway between heaven and the rest of the earth.  This has led the rulers of China to play economic warfare with other countries, to its own serious detriment, just to prove their superiority to those "foreign devils".  Note the Opium Wars.

It's true that economic conflicts reliably lead to wars, but the root of those economic conflicts is cultural.  Yes, there are very different cultures in the world, with deep and fundamental differences, and all the economic ties in the world won't stop them from battling until one or the other goes under.  Global interdependence has only made economics into a weapon which hostile cultures can use to damage each other.  Worse, it has created an international aristocracy of the very rich which has a culture of its own -- and that culture shares little or nothing with the cultures of the western democracies.  Recent revelations about the infamous "one percent" have shown us that;  they are no one race or religion or nation, and have no allegiance to any of those, but value only their own class and power. 

Finally, Global Interdependence has created worldwide debt and worldwide economic depression, such as we've seen around the world for the last five years.  No government will admit to this, but the previous decades' orgy of debt has run everyone but the very rich broke;  all those debts have come due, and it turns out that there's nothing solid to pay them with.  Half a century's financial manipulation has manipulated all the money into the pockets of the financial manipulators, with everyone else left dead broke.  The Peace of Dives benefited no one but Dives. 

No doubt the financial aristocrats assume that they can now rule the world as they see fit by doling out the money, but history should advise them otherwise.  Money as receipts of ownership becomes worthless when large numbers of desperate people simply stop recognizing the legitimacy of the receipt, and come after its owners.  Imagine a Russian or French style revolution on a global scale.  "Eat The Rich" just might cease to be a joke.  The Peace of Dives ends in either global feudalism or global war.

The solution is to put an end to Globalism and return to independence -- of each nation, society, town and even household.  It was possible in 1776 and it's even more possible now.  There is a movement afoot to do just that, but it's the subject of a whole 'nother story.

--Leslie <;)))><