The Collapse of the American Empire – Lecture Featuring Chris Hedges
[Q&A begins at 46:13 mins in.]
The Collapse of the American Empire – Lecture Featuring Chris Hedges
[Q&A begins at 46:13 mins in.]
The working families and middle class of this country should not have to subsidize the wealthiest people in the United States. That’s absurd. That’s what a rigged economy is all about.
Year after year, decade after decade, Republicans in Washington have lectured the American people about the need for “welfare reform.” In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan railed against a fictitious “welfare queen” driving a Cadillac. Just a few years ago, Republicans turned their attention to a young surfer who used the food stamp program to purchase lobster. But if you listen closely, you will never hear much talk from our Republican colleagues about some of the biggest welfare recipients in America: The billionaire owners of some of the most profitable corporations in our country.
Here are just a few examples.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the wealthiest person on Earth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is now worth $168 billion. In fact, since the beginning of this year, his wealth has increased by about $277 million — every single day.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bezos continues to pay many thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they must rely on food stamps, Medicaid or public housing in order to survive. In effect, the middle-class taxpayers of this country are subsidizing the low wages paid by the richest person on Earth. That’s nuts.
But Jeff Bezos and Amazon are not alone.
The Walton family of Walmart and many other billionaire-owned large and profitable corporations also get richer because of taxpayer support for their low-paid employees. The Walton family of Walmart is the wealthiest family in the country with a net worth of over $160 billion. This one family has owned more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans. Meanwhile, just like Amazon, Walmart pays its workers wages that are so inadequate that many of them are forced to depend upon public-assistance programs, at a cost of some $6.2 billion a yearto taxpayersin order to survive.
The fast food industry is another major recipient of corporate welfare. While the co-owner of Burger King, Jorge Paulo Lemann, has a net worth of about $25 billion, low wages at this fast-food chain cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $356 million a year. And it’s not just Burger King. McDonald’s workers are actually encouraged to sign up for government assistance— meaning the company fully acknowledges that it pays its employees wages that are non-livable.
In total, 52% of all fast food workers rely on public assistance programs to make ends meet.
The wealthy owners of big airlines are also major welfare recipients. While American Airlines made nearly $2 billion in net profits last year, and its CEO is on track to make $31 million in total compensation this year, 27% of workers at its subsidiary Envoy Air, which has over 16,000 employees, need food stamps and other forms of public assistance because of the inadequate wages they receive.
The working families and middle class of this country should not have to subsidize the wealthiest people in the United States. That’s absurd. That’s what a rigged economy is all about.
The fact is that if employers in this country simply paid workers a living wage, taxpayers would save about $150 billion a year on federal assistance programs and millions of workers would be able to live in dignity and security.
That is why we are proposing legislation to demand that billionaires get off of welfare. The bill gives large, profitable employers a choice: Pay workers a living wage or pay for the public assistance programs their low-wage employees are forced to depend upon.
Specifically, this legislation would establish a 100% tax on corporations with 500 or more employees equal to the amount of federal benefits received by their low-wage workers. For example, if a worker at Amazon receives $2,000 in food stamps, the employer would be taxed $2,000 to cover that cost.
Let us be very clear: We believe that the government has a moral responsibility to provide for the vulnerable — the children, the elderly, the sick and the disabled. But we do not believe that taxpayers should have to expend huge sums of money subsidizing profitable corporations owned by some of the wealthiest people in this country.
At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, and when millions of our fellow Americans are working at starvation wages, we must create an economy that works for all — not just the people on top.
A north Queensland couple has been left baffled by a bizarre finding on their property, which seems like something straight from a horror film.
Graziers Mick and Judy Cook were working on their property in Cloverly, north-west of Mackay, when Mr Cook noticed a dead cow carcass which appeared to have had its body mutilated, with its entire udder, ears and tongue removed.
Warning: This story contains images and content that some readers may find disturbing.
“It was like it had been surgically removed, I certainly couldn’t do as neat a job with a very sharp knife, and it definitely wasn’t an animal,” Mr Cook said.
“I thought at first it might have been poisoned, but then I got closer … I saw the body parts missing, there was no blood, even where the parts had been removed, no sign of struggle, just dead.
“There was just no reason or rhyme for it to be done the way it was done, people don’t use those parts, it’s just not something you would wish on your worst enemy.”
On the same trip, Mr Cook said he traveled down a little further on his property, about an hour’s drive from his house on rough terrain, when he found another dead cow.
The second one looked like it had been there for some time.
“By that point we are probably two hours from your nearest neighbour, it’s very mountainous country … there’s no way anyone can get there unless they come straight past our house.
“When I got down there I noticed another carcass, this one was a bit more deteriorated, looked like it had been rotting there for a bit.
“We don’t know how it happened, but we got onto the neighbours just to let them know.”
Local veterinarian David Lemmon said in his 40 years working in the industry, often with livestock, he had never heard of or seen anything like it.
“I deal with everything, you know — all creatures great and small. And I can’t think of any explanation for it, that’s not normal human behaviour is it? That’s something quite bizarre and ill, I would say the person that has done that is not mentally stable.
“We’re talking eyes, we’re talking ears, we’re talking udders. No, I’ve never heard of anything like that ever, that’s something or someone very ill who’s done that.”
In a statement, Queensland Police said it had not been notified about the cow mutilations, however, Mr and Mrs Cook said they had attempted to contact local police unsuccessfully.
4,000,000,029,057. Remember that number. It’s going to come up again later.
But let’s begin with another number entirely: 145,000 — as in, 145,000 uniformed soldiers striding down Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue. That’s the number of troops who marched down that very street in May 1865 after the United States defeated the Confederate States of America.
Similar legions of rifle-toting troops did the same after World War I ended with the defeat of Germany and its allies in 1918. And Sherman tanks rolling through the urban canyons of midtown Manhattan? That followed the triumph over the Axis in 1945.
That’s what winning used to look like in America — star-spangled, soldier-clogged streets and victory parades.
Enthralled by a martial Bastille Day celebration while visiting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in July 2017, President Trump called for just such a parade in Washington. After its estimated cost reportedly ballooned from $10 million to as much as $92 million, the American Legion weighed in.
That veterans association, which boasts 2.4 million members, issued an August statement suggesting that the planned parade should be put on hold “until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home.” Soon after, the president announced that he had canceled the parade and blamed local Washington officials for driving up the costs (even though he was evidently never briefed by the Pentagon on what its price tag might be).
The American Legion focused on the fiscal irresponsibility of Trump’s proposed march, but its postponement should have raised an even more significant question: What would “victory” in the war on terror even look like?
What, in fact, constitutes an American military victory in the world today? Would it in any way resemble the end of the Civil War, or of the war to end all wars, or of the war that made that moniker obsolete?
And here’s another question: Is victory a necessary prerequisite for a military parade?
The easiest of those questions to resolve is the last one, and the American Legion should already know the answer. Members of that veterans group played key roles in a mammoth “We Support Our Boys in Vietnam” parade in New York City in 1967 and in a 1973 parade in that same city honoring veterans of that war.
Then, 10 years after the last U.S. troops snuck out of South Vietnam — abandoning their allies and scrambling aboard helicopters as Saigon fell — the Big Apple would host yet another parade honoring Vietnam veterans, reportedly the largest such celebration in the city’s history. So, quite obviously, winning a war isn’t a prerequisite for a winning parade.
And that’s only one of many lessons the disastrous American War in Vietnam still offers us. More salient perhaps are those that highlight the limits of military might and destructive force on this planet or that focus on the ability of North Vietnam, a “little fourth-rate” country — to quote Henry Kissinger, the national security advisor of that moment — to best a superpower that had previously (with much assistance) defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan at the same time.
The Vietnam War — and Kissinger — provide a useful lens through which to examine the remaining questions about victory and what it means today, but more on that later.
For the moment, just remember: 4,000,000,029,057, Vietnam War, Kissinger.
Peace in Our Time… or Some Time… or No Time
Now, let’s take a moment to consider the ur-conflict of the war on terror, Afghanistan, where the U.S. began battling the Taliban in October 2001.
America’s victory there came with lightning speed. The next year, President George W. Bush announced that the group had been “defeated.” In 2004, the commander-in-chief reported that the Taliban was “no longer in existence.”
Yet, somehow, they were. By 2011, General David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, claimed that his troops had “reversed the momentum of the Taliban.” Two years later, then-commander General Joseph Dunford spoke of “the inevitability of our success” there.
Last August, President Trump unveiled his “Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia.” Its “core pillar” was “a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions”; in other words, the “arbitrary timetables” for withdrawal of the Obama years were out. “We will push onward to victory with power in our hearts,” President Trump decreed. “America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.”
The president also announced that he was putting that war squarely in the hands of the military. “Micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles,” he announced. “They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers acting in real time, with real authority, and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy.”
The man given that authority was General John Nicholson who had, in fact, been running the American war there since 2016. The general was jubilant and within months agreed that the conflict had “turned the corner” (something, by the way, that Obama-era Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta also claimed — in 2012).
Today, almost 17 years after the war began, two years after Nicholson took the reins, one year after Trump articulated his new plan, victory in any traditional sense is nowhere in sight. Despite spending around $900 billion in Afghanistan, as the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction determined earlier this year, “between 2001 and 2017, U.S. government efforts to stabilize insecure and contested areas in Afghanistan mostly failed.” According to a July 30, 2018, report by that same inspector general, the Taliban was by then contesting control of or controlled about 44 percent of that country, while Afghan government control and influence over districts had declined by about 16 percent since Nicholson’s predecessor, General John Campbell, was in command.
And that was before, last month, the Taliban launched a large-scale attack on a provincial capital, Ghazni, a strategically important city, and held it for five days, while taking control of much of the province itself. Finally driven from the city, the Taliban promptly overran a military base in Baghlan Province during its withdrawal. And that was just one day after taking another Afghan military base.
In fact, for the previous two months, the Taliban had overrun government checkpoints and outposts on a near-daily basis. And keep in mind that the Taliban is now only a fraction of the story. The U.S. set out to defeat it and al-Qaeda in 2001. Today, Washington faces exponentially more terror groups in Afghanistan — 21 in all, including an imported franchise from the Iraq War front, ISIS, that grew larger during Nicholson’s tenure.
Given this seemingly dismal state of affairs, you might wonder what happened to Nicholson. Was he cashiered? Fired, Apprentice-style? Quietly ushered out of Afghanistan in disgrace? Hardly. Like the 15 U.S. commanders who preceded him, the four-star general simply rotated out and, at his final press conference from the war zone late last month, was nothing if not upbeat.
“I believe the South Asia Strategy is the right approach. And now we see that approach delivering progress on reconciliation that we had not seen previously,” he announced. “We’ve also seen a clear progression in the Taliban’s public statements, from their 14 February letter to the American people to the recent Eid al-Adha message, where [Taliban leader] Emir Hibatullah acknowledged for the first time that negotiations will, quote, ‘ensure an end to the war,’ end quote.”
In the event that you missed those statements from a chastened Taliban on the threshold of begging for peace, let me quote from the opening of the latter missive, issued late last month:
“This year Eid al-Adha approaches us as our Jihadi struggle against the American occupation is on the threshold of victory due to the help of Allah Almighty. The infidel invading forces have lost all will of combat, their strategy has failed, advanced technology and military equipment rendered useless, [the] sedition and corruption-sowing group defeated, and the arrogant American generals have been compelled to bow to the Jihadic greatness of the Afghan nation.”
And those conciliatory statements of peace and reconciliation touted by Nicholson? The Taliban says that in order to end “this long war” the “lone option is to end the occupation of Afghanistan and nothing more.”
In June, the 17th American nominated to take command of the war, Lieutenant General Scott Miller, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee where Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) grilled him on what he would do differently in order to bring the conflict to a conclusion. “I cannot guarantee you a timeline or an end date,” was Miller’s confident reply.
Did the senators then send him packing? Hardly. He was, in fact, easily confirmed and starts work this month. Nor is there any chance Congress will use its power of the purse to end the war. The 2019 budget request for U.S. operations in Afghanistan — topping out at $46.3 billion — will certainly be approved.
All of this seeming futility brings us back to the Vietnam War, Kissinger, and that magic number, 4,000,000,029,057 — as well as the question of what an American military victory would look like today. It might surprise you, but it turns out that winning wars is still possible and, perhaps even more surprising, the U.S. military seems to be doing just that.
Let me explain.
In Vietnam, that military aimed to “out-guerrilla the guerrilla.” It never did, and the United States suffered a crushing defeat. Henry Kissinger — who presided over the last years of that conflict as national security advisor and then secretary of state — provided his own concise take on one of the core tenets of asymmetric warfare: “The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.” Perhaps because that eternally well-regarded but hapless statesman articulated it, that formula was bound — like so much else he touched — to crash and burn.
In this century, the United States has found a way to turn Kissinger’s martial maxim on its head and so rewrite the axioms of armed conflict. This redefinition can be proved by a simple equation:
0 + 1,000,000,000,000 + 17 +17 + 23,744 + 3,000,000,000,000 + 5 + 5,200 + 74 = 4,000,000,029,057
Expressed differently, the United States has not won a major conflict since 1945; has a trillion-dollar national security budget; has had 17 military commanders in the last 17 years in Afghanistan, a country plagued by 23,744 “security incidents” (the most ever recorded) in 2017 alone; has spent around $3 trillion, primarily on that war and the rest of the war on terror, including the ongoing conflict in Iraq, which then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld swore, in 2002, would be over in only “five days or five weeks or five months,” but where approximately 5,000 U.S. troops remain today; and yet 74 percent of the American people still express high confidence in the U.S. military.
Let the math and the implications wash over you for a moment. Such a calculus definitively disproves the notion that “the conventional army loses if it does not win.” It also helps answer the question of victory in the war on terror. It turns out that the U.S. military, whose budget and influence in Washington have only grown in these years, now wins simply by not losing — a multi-trillion-dollar conventional army held to the standards of success once applied only to under-armed, under-funded guerilla groups.
Unlike in the Vietnam War years, three presidents and the Pentagon, unbothered by fiscal constraints, substantive congressional opposition, or a significant antiwar movement, have been effectively pursuing this strategy, which requires nothing more than a steady supply of troops, contractors, and other assorted camp followers; an endless parade of Senate-sanctioned commanders; and an annual outlay of hundreds of billions of dollars. By these standards, Donald Trump’s open-ended, timetable-free “Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia” may prove to be the winningest war plan ever. As he described it:
“From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.”
Think about that for a moment. Victory’s definition begins with “attacking our enemies” and ends with the prevention of possible terror attacks. Let me reiterate: “victory” is defined as “attacking our enemies.”
Under President Trump’s strategy, it seems, every time the U.S. bombs or shells or shoots at a member of one of those 20-plus terror groups in Afghanistan, the U.S. is winning or, perhaps, has won. And this strategy is not specifically Afghan-centric. It can easily be applied to American warzones in the Middle East and Africa — anywhere, really.
Decades after the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military has finally solved the conundrum of how to “out-guerrilla the guerrilla.” And it couldn’t have been simpler. You just adopt the same definition of victory. As a result, a conventional army — at least the U.S. military — now loses only if it stops fighting. So long as unaccountable commanders wage benchmark-free wars without congressional constraint, the United States simply cannot lose.
You can’t argue with the math. Call it the rule of 4,000,000,029,057.
That calculus and that sum also prove, quite clearly, that America’s beleaguered commander-in-chief has gotten a raw deal on his victory parade. With apologies to the American Legion, the U.S. military is now — under the new rules of warfare — triumphant and deserves the type of celebration proposed by President Trump.
After almost two decades of warfare, the armed forces have lowered the bar for victory to the level of their enemy, the Taliban. What was once the mark of failure for a conventional army is now the benchmark for success.
It’s a remarkable feat and deserving, at the very least, of furious flag-waving, ticker tape, and all the age-old trappings of victory.
Despite overall prescription drug addiction abuse dropping dramatically among adolescents over the past 15 years, addiction treatment centers across the country are seeing a surge in the number of young people hooked on Xanax, according to Pew.
addiction practitioners say they’re seeing a surge in the number of young patients who are hooked on Xanax. Many take high daily doses of the drug, sometimes in deadly combination with opioids and alcohol. –Pew
This increase has yet to be reflected in national data, which doesn’t surprise Boston Children’s Hospital head of adolescent addition, Sharon Leavy – who says that addition treatment centers are “the tip of the spear,” and she is “not surprised that the spike in Xanax use isn’t reflected in national data yet.”
Addiction specialists say they’re expecting an “onslaught of teens addicted to Xanax and other sedatives,” according to Pew – one of many anti-anxiety drugs known as benzodiazepines, or “benzos.”
“Adolescent benzo use has skyrocketed,” Levy said, “and more kids are being admitted to hospitals for benzo withdrawal because the seizures are so dangerous.” At the same time, she said, far fewer kids are seeking treatment for prescription opioid addiction.
“When I ask them if they’re using opioids, they say, ‘No. I wouldn’t touch the stuff.’”
Like any addictive substance, Xanax when used early increases the risk of addiction later in life. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2016 report on drugs and alcohol, nearly 70 percent of adolescents who try an illicit drug before age 13 will develop an addiction within seven years, compared with 27 percent for those who first try an illicit drug after age 17. –Pew
Johns Hopkins psychiatrist and professor Marc Fishman says that benzos are rapidly overtaking opioids as the primary prescription drug of abuse among adolescent patients seen at Mountain Manor Treatment Centers in Baltimore and other locations throughout Maryland. Many, he says, are extreme, “high-dose users.”
Xanax and other benzos are incredibly addictive, while people with mental illness are at a far greater risk of addiction than the general population, said Fishman.
And while there are three FDA-approved medications which can treat the symptoms of opioid addiction, “no medicines exist to blunt the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with benzodiazepine addiction. Instead, patients typically enter residential treatment where a specialist gradually tapers them off the medication. If stopped too quickly, benzodiazepine withdrawal can result in seizures and even death,” according to Pew.
The Saudi government this week it is further criminalizing dissent, satire that “disturbs the public order” a crime…
A cautionary tale
Pew highlights the case of Melissa Ellis, a Baltimore native who was immediately hooked on Xanax from the moment she tried it.
“I noticed this new guy I was dating kept nodding off so I asked him what he was taking. He told me it was Xanax and gave me a handful of bars [the pill form with the highest dose]. I’d never heard of it before. But as soon as I tried it, I knew it was for me.
“It takes away everything you have in your mind that’s bothering you and everything you feel that hurts, and before you know it, those feelings are just gone.”
Melissa was 15 then and just entering high school. Now she’s 24 and struggling to take care of her 3-year-old son. She says she’s determined to beat her addiction to Xanax and be free of all drugs except the depression medicine she’s been taking for more than a decade. Otherwise, she said she could lose her son.
The first time Melissa tried to stop taking Xanax, she was four months pregnant. She managed to get through her pregnancy without relapsing. “But the day after my son was born, I told my friend in the hospital to bring me some. And I started all over again.”
Melissa also started injecting heroin then. “The two drugs are made for each other,” she said. “What one doesn’t have, the other one does. With the dope [heroin], the high doesn’t last as long as Xanax. So, I was more into the Xanax.”
But after she started combining the two, she overdosed, and her mom found her passed out on the floor one day. That’s when she first checked into Mountain Manor.
Melissa detoxed from both drugs, spent two weeks in residential treatment and started taking Suboxone to relieve her opioid cravings. She also attended outpatient classes and stayed sober for a year.
“I got so much closer to my son back then,” she said wistfully. “Everything was better. I was doing so good. But I started hanging out with old friends and I relapsed on Xanax.”
Now, she’s back at Mountain Manor, trying again. She hopes to leave treatment by the end of the week and move into a mother-and-child sober living facility nearby. For now, her mother is taking care of her son.
“It’s really hard,” Melissa says. Withdrawal from Xanax can cause irritability, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, tremors, nausea and other flu-like symptoms. And unlike opioid withdrawal, which usually lasts for about a week, it can last for months.
“Treatment is scary all around. It’s fine when you’re here. You can’t go down the street and meet your dealer. The scariest part is when you go back out there.”
As we detailed earlier, in what appears to be the latest escalation in the UK government’s campaign to blame Russia for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia Skripal and three other seemingly random Britons (one of whom succumbed to the deadly Novichok nerve agent used in the attacks), British prosecutors are saying they have “sufficient evidence” to charge Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, both Russian nationals, with conspiracy to murder Skripal, as well as the attempted murder of his daughter and police detective Nick Bailey, according to Reuters.
The news comes nearly two months after investigators said they had identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack by crossing referencing CCTV feeds with records of people who entered the country around that time.
There’s just one thing… About that CCTV feed!
Russia has apparently developed an astonishing new technology enabling its secret agents to occupy precisely the same space at precisely the same time.
These CCTV images released by Scotland yard today allegedly show Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Borishov both occupying exactly the same space at Gatwick airport at precisely the same second. 16.22.43 on 2 March 2018. Note neither photo shows the other following less than a second behind.
There is no physically possible explanation for this. You can see ten yards behind each of them, and neither has anybody behind for at least ten yards. Yet they were both photographed in the same spot at the same second.
The only possible explanations are:
1) One of the two is traveling faster than Usain Bolt can sprint
2) Scotland Yard has issued doctored CCTV images/timeline.
Will any mainstream media organizations question this publicly?
Sept 5, 2018
The question often arises in liberty movement circles as to how we get to the point of full-blown tyranny within a society. There are numerous factors that determine this outcome, but through all the various totalitarian systems in history there are common denominators – elements that must be there for tyrants to prevail. When we can identify these common elements in an objective manner, we make it far more difficult for despotic structures to stand.
This is a very complex issue, but I’ll break it down as best as I’m able…
The Psychology Of The Tyrant
To come to terms with how tyrants control society, we must first examine how the mind of a tyrant operates, because these people do not in most cases think the way average human beings think. It is one of the few cases in which I would encourage people to “otherize” another group. Tyrants are psychologically abnormal to such an extreme that is difficult to classify them as human.
I believe the key to understanding the motivations of tyrants and where these people come from rests on our understanding of narcissistic sociopathy. I wrote about this extensively in my article ‘Global Elitists Are Not Human,’ so I will only give a summary here.
Narcissistic and sociopathic traits, like many psychological traits, are inborn. They are present in about 5% to 10% of any society at any given time. In the vast majority of cases, these traits remain “latent” and do not affect a person’s actions or relationships to a great extent. In a minority of cases, however, narcissism and sociopathy become the defining factors of a person’s psyche. This occurs in less that 1% of a population.
To be clear, not all narcissists are sociopaths and not all sociopaths are narcissists. There are people who are low-level narcissists who excel in society and retain a conscience. There are low-level sociopaths in society that serve important functions in careers that empathetic people would find difficult, such as certain jobs in the military, or in the medical field. What I am referring to here are HIGH LEVEL narcissistic sociopaths – the kind of people who become murderers, rapists, pedophiles, and yes, tyrants.
A sociopathic narcissist is motivated by personal desire only. They are incapable of empathy for others and see people as a kind of food and fuel source rather than fellow travelers in life. They consider their lack of conscience as an evolutionary advantage; a tool that helps them to survive and thrive by trampling, stealing, manipulating and killing if necessary without guilt or regret.
You would think these creatures would be easy to pick out in a crowd, but it is not always so simple. They have the ability to mimic behaviors of those around them in order to appear more human. Sometimes this does give them away because they can’t help but parrot or steal behaviors and mannerisms from people they meet to the point of obviousness. For those inexperienced with narcissistic sociopaths, though, the tactic works for a time, because what people think they see is someone just like them; a reflection. Imagine it as a survival mechanism, like a chameleon.
For some tyrants, the ability makes them endearing to the public for a time. They can be many things to many groups, and their ability to lie convincingly is exceptional. They climb the ladder of success quickly, and build systems that allow them to prosper. They do have doubts and weaknesses, though.
They are in most cases cowardly. They prefer to get what they want through subversion and trickery, and they run from direct confrontation. They prefer to use other people (useful idiots) as weapons or shields rather than risk facing off with their ideological opponents. As parasites, they focus on the weak-minded or the fragile.
They desperately want admiration from the very people they victimize. Therefore, they are constantly forced to play roles in order to appear normal. They do not like this. They feel that it is below their station in life to pander, and they are convinced that they should be worshiped as they are, not worshiped for the fraudulent image they have constructed. They want to “come out of the closet,” in a sense, as a narcissistic sociopath, but if they do under a stable social climate they will be shunned or burned at the stake. They sometimes band together for protection, and are willing to work with each other as long as there is mutual benefit.
Thus, these “people” seek to create chaos, and then to reorder society to act more like they act, or think more like they think. When the masses have been convinced to abandon conscience, then the monsters can come out into the light of day without fear.
Here is how they achieve this goal, and how average people help them do it…
Almost all bad situations start with false assumptions based on bias rather than facts or evidence. The most dangerous assumption when it comes to tyranny is to say “we are in the right, therefore we are not supporting tyranny.” The question that needs to be asked, though, is are they really “right” according to the facts? If the answer is “no,” then they are probably fueling a tyrannical system.
First and foremost, many human beings want to be “right” more than they want to be correct. That is to say, they are happy to “win” arguments and conflicts regardless of whether or not the truth is on their side. This bias is the root of many catastrophes in history.
This is not to say that they don’t have a conscience. Most people in fact do have a conscience that tells them their assumptions are wrong, but they can still commit acts of stupidity and atrocity. This is where tyrannical manipulators tend to help them along.
Tyrants find great joy in creating all kinds of logical fallacies, mental gymnastics and morally relative sales pitches in order to convince a group of people that their wrong assumptions are right. The truth becomes foggy and evidence becomes unnecessary. In this state of mind, when individuals melt together into a mob, assumptions become cult dictates and “winning” becomes paramount. False assumptions and biases can be used to turn normal upstanding people into monsters, all because they refused to accept that their ideological position was flawed; all because they were afraid to feel embarrassed or admit they had been conned.
The taking of sides in political discourse is natural and normal. Even when people are entirely honest about the facts on hand and agree on basic principles of human decency and freedom, they will STILL disagree on what solutions should be used to deal with the problems in front of them. This creates a spectrum within society that is ever-present; it cannot be helped or avoided. Tyrants understand the basis of this spectrum and try to use it to their advantage to manipulate people away from thoughtful discourse and towards mindless conflict.
Tyrants exploit the masses more easily when people assume that corrupt political and social leaders are working for “their side” against the “other side.” Often these leaders can be bought or threatened into subservience. Tyrants then use them to drive the spectrum to the furthest opposites, until both sides adopt an attitude of zealotry.
This happens not only in politics, but in geopolitics, as entire nations are driven to war with each other by puppet presidents and governments over engineered conflicts that only ever benefit the cabal of tyrants behind the curtain.
Zealotry And False Narratives
I view zealotry as a kind of psychological disease that is actually communicable – it spreads like a virus through a culture until everyone is infected. Zealotry happens when a person embraces an ideology to the point that it overrides their personality and their soul, and they are no longer able to think clearly as an individual. This includes considering the possibility that they are on the wrong side of history and morality.
Zealotry on a mass scale depends on a number of dominoes set in succession. The threat of civil breakdown and economic suffering helps. Ideological opponents must be painted as an eminent and vile threat to the very fabric of society. In some cases they are a real and created threat (controlled opposition); in other cases they are a paper tiger meant to drive another group to support tyrannical measures.
Tyrants build false narratives. This is what they do best. They encourage people to unknowingly become villains, or they accuse innocent groups of villainy in order to sow division. They need all sides to see everyone else either as an ally or an enemy. There is no in-between. If a person does not conform to the views of the zealot, then he must be immediately treated as a threat. This causes an endless echo chamber which destroys all dissent or disagreement, no matter how rational.
Zealots operate primarily on fear, making them easy prey for tyrants. And as some nerd somewhere once said, “Fear is the mind killer; fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.”
Apathy And False Hope
More than anything else, tyrants desire an apathetic population. Apathy breeds complacency and inaction, and it also encourages delusional thinking. Apathetic people tend towards the philosophy of pacifism as a means to vindicate their own behavior, but this is merely a mask designed to hide their fear. They might fear suffering, they might fear loss, they might fear failure, but they certainly have fear, and it stops them from standing in the way of developments that they know are evil in nature and that require an aggressive response.
Apathy can also be bred into a society through the use of false hopes. Tyrants conjure scenarios in which the public is made to believe positive “change” is about to take place, usually through politics. But, there will be no change for the better beyond the cosmetic. Things only get worse. In this process of conditioning, tyrants raise up the hopes of the masses, and then dash them to the ground over and over, until the public gives up.
The problem is not that things cannot change for the better, but that the public keeps playing by the rules of a game fabricated by the very people who are causing their misery. Stepping outside the constraints of that game requires us to take matters into our own hands rather than waiting around for others to make changes for us. It requires risk. If the farce of tyranny is to ever end, all awake and aware people will have to take many risks.
I have heard it argued that tyranny is a natural and inevitable product of human society. That tyrants cannot be avoided, that they will always exist and any attempt to remove them will result in them only being replaced with other tyrants. This is the pinnacle of the pathetic mindset. It is the dark void of nihilism.
One could also argue that there is no point to washing ourselves because we are just going to get dirty again tomorrow. But these people would eventually die of disease. If tyranny is a human constant, then rebellion must also be a human constant, otherwise, humanity dies or is turned into something unrecognizable.
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