Here are a few pithy thoughts which were sparked this morning, by a remarkably refreshing and lucid discussion, between legendary investor and iconoclast Doug Casey and his very thoughtful friend and colleague, Matt Smith.
(You can watch the video later, if you like, as I would strongly recommend, but you need not watch it first, in order to follow and understand this short meditation.)
Remember: reality may be hard to accept, but refusing to deal with reality, is always, and infinitely, more dangerous, and far more painful, in the long run.
As Virgil said, "Fortune favours the bold." But to be truly bold, you must first deal with reality. That is the most courageous act of all.
A first step in dealing with reality, is to realize that all dissent is now becoming villified, if not criminalized, and all dissenters, whether on the left or the right, are being systematically silenced, suppressed, marginalized, demonized, dehumanized, or neutralized. This spells totalitarianism at our door. Do not underestimate the peril of our time. That would be catastrophically foolish, as the rise of the Nazis and the Soviet Union should remind us, clearly, and vividly, and well. It is happening again.
Republican constitutional democracy, human rights and freedom, are now under a full scale attack, across the Western world. The oligarchy is facing a growing crisis of legitimacy, and in desperation and fear, mixed with a large dose of egomania and hubris, they are trying to consolidate their power now, before it vanishes completely. That is the true meta-narrative of our time. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is either a liar or an idiot.
The great majority of people have essentially zero sense of history, and close to zero understanding of the world; so they are political infants, or cattle in a chute, with no idea what is happening, or what is coming. The vast majority are also not sociopaths, so they have a hard time believing that evil men and women really do exist - but in every society and every age, they do. And Doug Casey is right: the scum floats to the top. The sociopaths and power mongers are always attracted to power, like flies to a dung heap. Therefore, none of this should be surprising. The price of freedom truly is, eternal vigilance. But for those who seem determined to avoid dealing with reality, chains are what the future likely holds in store for them. Pity them, but certainly do not follow in their path. That is a very dark road indeed.
I should say, to be clear, that I am skeptical of all governments, and all great powers in society. I am on the side of humanity and the Earth, not any government or faction. I do care for truth above fiction, however, and honesty above propaganda, delusion or deceit. Let that be clear from the outset.
(For critical perspective, see my essays on: The Power Elite, A Short Rebuttal Of Hobbes, Smedley Butler and The Business Plot, What Must Be Done, Practical Anarchism, Primary Influences, Essential Reading, Who To Trust, and Why The Left Libertarians Are Right; along with the articles, Importing From China, Sinking All Ships, and When Liberals and The Left Lose Their Minds - among many others; and my books: Enlightened Democracy, and The People vs The Elite. Essays and books are on WordPress, Substack, Blogspot, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.)
The appeasement that we should be most worried about, by the way, is in regards to the Western oligarchs, who are literally fascists, as well as sociopaths, Malthusians, and imperialists. Let us deal with our own problems first, before we presume to tell other people, in other nations, how they should live.
The greatest danger is here at home, in the West, from the Washington/Wall Street/London/Brussels/Davos/Pentagon/Langley/Silicon Valley oligarchy - a psychotic elite of less than 400 individuals.
(See Noam Chomsky, Year 501, Class Warfare, and Necessary Illusions; C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite; Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom; Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine; John Perkins, Confessions Of An Economic Hitman; David C. Korten, When Corporations Rule The World; John Pilger, The New Rulers Of The World; Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State; and Peter Phillips’, Giants: The Global Power Elite.)
It is time for a Reality Check, and a sober-minded assessment of the Danger and Delusion facing us now. (See my WordPress essays on those topics, for further, important reflections.)
The greatest dangers are these: Nuclear or biological warfare, economic collapse, ecological collapse, and fascism. Pray we avoid the first. The second and third are fast approaching. The fourth is here. And it is the increasing sociopathy, egomania, power lust and hubris of the Western oligarchs, combined with a pandemic of narcissistic regression to an infantile state, on the part of the dismal and docile majority in the West, which underlies all of these truly grave dangers.
Russia is an economic rival that could be an ally, if we had any sanity, and no threat to the West, unless the US and NATO keep aggressively poking the bear. Perspective is everything.
(See my essays on Ukraine, from 2014 and 2022; as well as, Freedom vs Fascism; On Population and The Environment; and, On Mass Narcissistic Regression.)
Doug Casey has said: "Russia, at this point, is basically a gas station with gun store attached, in the middle of a wheat field. It's not really a threat to anyone." And, regarding Ukraine, "Russia is trying to prevent a civil war on its borders." Regarding Putin, "Of all the actors on the world stage now, Putin is probably the most rational, and the least dangerous." (Neither he nor I have much respect for the sociopaths who present themselves today as, “leaders”.)
How refreshing to hear some basic sanity. And yes, this is a wag-the-dog situation. The Western obsession with Russia is a deliberate distraction from the far greater dangers here in the West - particularly, from the literally neo-fascist Western oligarchs, who now rule the Western world and control its "governments" and its media.
There is a fascist coup going on, at home here in the West. The elite have to distract the people from that blatant power grab, with war propaganda, now that the previous narrative is crumbling. That's what this conflict with Russia is primarily about.
Now that the initial covid propaganda campaign is failing, following the failure of the War on Terror propaganda, the elite need a new propaganda campaign to distract the people from the brazen fascist coup that is being carried out beneath their noses. War is the ultimate distraction from problems at home, as Orwell also knew very well.
All evils in the world were blamed on Communism and the Soviet Union, for many decades, and that was an evil system, but certainly not the sole cause of the world’s problems. Then it was terrorism. Then covid was responsible for all of the problems in the world, from halitosis to inflation, from economic recession to plummeting living standards, to a “new normal” of authoritarianism. Now it is Russia that is to blame for everything, or China, depending on your propaganda of choice. “My dog ate my homework”, ranks along with those false narratives. Question much more. Assume less.
(See my WordPress essay, The Failure of Propaganda.)
Doug Casey is also right in quoting the axiom, "War is the health of the state." It is the corruption and bankrupting of the nation and the people, but it generally works very well, in terms of bolstering the power of the ruling elite.
George Orwell understood it even better, perhaps: permanent war is necessary in order to distract the people from permanent tyranny. That is the core of what is happening now. But, the lemmings read the "newspapers" and watch the TV "news", and follow the herd on “social media”, all of which is propaganda; so their understanding of the world, or even their own nations, is basically zero. That's the state of the West. Wave your banners high.
All over the world, across Asia, Africa and Latin America, in the East and in the Global South - in the Majority World, which contains roughly 6.5 billion of the 7.5 billion people on Earth - people understand what is going on in the Ukraine, and what is going on between Russia and the West. Of course they don't believe the standard Western narrative. Nor does anyone in the West who has a functioning brain.
The only people who still believe the lies and fairy tales spun out daily by the Western media, are the 70% of that roughly one billion people in the "First World", "developed" nations, of North America and Western Europe, who live in their own bubble of delusions and profound indoctrination. The rest of the world sees through the propaganda more easily, because they have been on the receiving end of colonialism and imperialism for 500 years.
Will we have a shiny bright future in a technological utopia, or will we live in an Orwellian-Huxleyan, techno-feudal, fascist dystopia? Or will we have something different from them both? Or will we simply see the slow motion collapse of industrial civilization?
Techno-utopia is unlikely, at least in the near term. Dystopia is our clear, present direction. So too, is collapse. But rebirth and renaissance are also a possibility, and that trend too, is emerging now. In short, it depends on us, what the future holds.
What seems clear, however, is that the Western world, of North America and Western Europe, are heading into neo-fascist corporate oligarchy, as well as collapse. My bets are with the Global South, where freedom and sanity still hold some sway. The rural North would be the second best choice. Whatever you do, get out of the big cities now, I would say. A new Dark Age, following dark tyranny and chaos, is looming ahead, particularly for the big cities, the Global North, and the West.
I do believe that the long term future will be better than we can imagine. I do, however, see clear and undeniable signs of trouble for the short term. Foresight will be of particular value now, and in the years ahead. You decide what to do with that nugget of truism.
I would say that our future depends upon us learning the lesson of 5,000 years of empire, and rejecting that model of society, based on empire, altogether. That means fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel, which I happen to believe is correct. It means, I would say, above all, learning to live with a deep respect and valuing for freedom and compassion both, and finally realizing that the two are not in conflict, but are, in fact, the very basis and foundation for any truly just, decent, survivable, sustainable, or even sane society. That is the core of the paradigm shift which must take place now, and fortunately, that awakening has already begun.
As much as I respect Doug Casey, and I do, and as much as I may agree with him on many things, and I do; I don't agree that those who question power, and those who challenge power, are genetic anomalies, even though the mass conformity of our society, and the mass obedience of the great majority, might lead one to that very understandable conclusion.
If we look deeply into the longer view of history and anthropology, however, what we find, is that there was a quiet revolution in anthropology in the 1970s, which represents a radical and fundamental paradigm shift in the field of anthropology, and a revolution in the science of anthropology, which has not yet even percolated through the field of anthropology yet, much less the broader society. In short, our Hobbesian assumptions, which founded the modern world, are pure delusion, pure conjecture, with no basis in anthropological evidence, and are flatly wrong. For 195,000 out of 200,000 years or more of human history, we now know, human beings lived in freedom and equality. (See Rianne Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade, and Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom.) The birth of heirarchies of power and empire, and the passive-aggressive, domination and submission psychology which goes along with it, is the aberration. That dark spell is now beginning to slowly wear off. We are now beginning to awaken to our original freedom.
Freedom does not require primitivism, by the way. We can reawaken to freedom, with what is called high technology, or medieval levels of technology, or what is called primitive technology. Technology is not the central issue. Delusion versus awakening, illusion versus the truth, is the central issue.
Freedom versus empire, is the central issue. But yes, we can choose to be free; and yes, it is in our genes, our ancestry, and our heritage and ancestral memory, to be free. And that memory is awakening now.
The spirit of freedom is re-awakening now - and none too soon. Just as this latest of empires, and last of empires, which is the global, neo-feudal empire of corporate fascism, seems poised to either enslave or destroy the world, or both, the spirit of freedom is awakening. I'm not saying this is going to be easy. But I am saying that freedom, and a glorious future for humanity and the Earth, are what the long term has in store.
Martin Luther King Jr. was right: "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice." And we should also remember: without freedom, there can be no justice, and there will be no peace.
Mind you, one could say, that we have only just scratched the surface, by talking about social-political-economic or cultural analysis, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology or geopolitics. As important as those interwoven realms are, and as important as sociological, institutional, or power analysis is, there is also the philosophical level beneath that.
There, I cannot agree with Doug Casey. Solipsism, or as I would prefer to call it, philosophical idealism, or a mind-only view of reality, is untenable. I would instead refer people to Nagarjuna (let the Dalai Lama or Allan Wallace introduce you), the Gospel of Thomas (Marvin Meyers translation only), the Tao te Ching (Jane English translation only), The Hero With A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, along with Choosing Reality, by Allan Wallace, The Book, by Alan Watts, and the Wisdom Tradition, that is also known as non-dualism, the Monomyth, or The Perennial Philosophy. Enlightenment has both its relative and ultimate meanings - and both are extremely worthy of our pursuit.
For those who want a quick start, though not an unchallenging one, I would recommend Spinoza, Joseph Campbell, MLK, Thoreau and Thomas Paine. We have the treasures and the guides. The question is whether we have the intelligence and the good sense to make use of them.
We start by dealing with reality, as best we can: by being honest, by looking for evidence and reason - and by questioning everything. Then we can begin to piece together what is really going on, as the illusions are slowly peeled away. The sociological and political level is one layer, and an important one. The philosophical is the deeper layer, also not to be neglected. But you start, as Socrates did, by asking questions - and by questioning everything.
Assume you know nothing - or worse, assume your head is filled with half-truths, propaganda, indoctrination, distortions, lies and illusions. For most people, that is a safe assumption. Then go from there.
Question everything. Think for yourself.
There is a new renaissance emerging and being born now, despite the very real dangers and darkness of the time. Around the world, humanity is undergoing an awakening. (Even the leading intellectual in residence to the Western power elite, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has admitted it, though he viewed it, unsurprisingly, as a terrible thing, and a serious threat to the ruling elite, and something to be fought against, suppressed and contained.) At present, I would hazard an estimate that roughly a third of the people in the heavily indoctrinated West, First World, “developed” world, or Global North, and two-thirds of the people in the Global South, are already part of that awakening. It is to the awakening ones that I speak, and to whom I say, to quote Thoreau, “There is more day yet to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
For the record, you can safely assume that most elites - not all, but most - are criminals, liars, and sociopaths. They are. That’s why they are attracted to power. And if they are not corrupted before coming into power, they are quickly corrupted by it.
As Lord Acton famously said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Bear that in mind, always. And taken to its logical conclusion, it means that we should decentralize power, as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Gandhi, Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr., also understood. It is time for us to understand it now, as well.
J. Todd Ring,
April 5, 2022
Very interesting and informative video, below, but no mention of politics?! I am leaving Canada this year, for reasons of politics. Canada and the West have gone fascist, or neo-Maoist, however you prefer to say it - authoritarian, in any case. I refuse to stay in a country that has been taken over by fascists, Bolsheviks or Jacobins. Everything else is irrelevant, by comparison. Uruguay is my pick, because it ranks number one in the world for civil liberties and freedom, but almost anywhere in the world, other than places like China or Iraq, are now better places to be, than in the Davos-ruled, corporate fascist West. Please do not gloss over issues of fundamental human rights, constitutional democracy and freedom! Nothing else compares in importance.
See my books and essays, on Substack, WordPress and Amazon, for further analysis. If you have any doubt as to Canada and the West having gone fascist, listen to Rocco Galati, Canada's leading constitutional lawyer, or Gerald Celente, the world's leading trend analyst, or RFK Jr.'s speech, on The CIA and Totalitarianism; or read my article on Substack, Freedom vs Fascism.
The writing is clearly on the wall. Only the wilfully ignorant can fail to see it now.
But, as one of my favourite movie lines says,
“Never underestimate the power of denial.”
Here is the video link to the discssion mentioned above, in the body of my article. It is definitely worth your time. You may not agree with everything they say, but that’s fine; neither do I. What two people do agree on everything? Very few, if any. The important thing is that the discourse raises important questions. The readers should do their own research, to find the truth for themselves. Question everything, means just that. Question everything. Including the people you respect. Otherwise, you’re just another cultist, or a dogmatic medieval scholastic - and we have more than enough of them. They are the sad majority. Don’t be like them. Question. Everything.