It is a fearsome thought – that the freedom of the Internet may be coming to an end.
How can it happen?
Arnold Ahlert has investigated that question:
U.S. officials [have] announced plans to relinquish control of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages Internet infrastructure to the so-called “global community.” Despite denials from the administration, the consequences of that move do indeed include the possibility of the Internet falling under U.N. control.
That reality has been pursued for years by pro-censorship factions led by Russia and China. As such, enormous questions exist about the future of the Internet under the stewardship of international interests — questions that the Obama administration seems wholly unconcerned with.
There we disagree. We reckon that Obama and his gang very much like the idea of bringing the Internet under the control of the UN. “I CANN and I will” is a likely motto for them in this context.
Ahlert goes on, informatively:
The consequences of relinquishing control of the Internet involve more than censorship. U.S. security could be jeopardized as well. “Under invariably incompetent U.N. control, it could mean a hostile foreign power disabling the Internet for us,” former Bush administration State Department advisor Christian Whiton warned. He also sounded the warning on the possibility that any U.N. control of the Internet could engender taxes. “While the Obama administration says it is merely removing federal oversight of a non-profit, we should assume ICANN would end up as part of the United Nations,” Whiton said. “If the U.N. gains control what amounts to the directory and traffic signals of the Internet, it can impose whatever taxes it likes. It likely would start with a tax on registering domains and expand from there.”
Since the birth of the Internet, which grew out of a Defense Department program that began in the 1960s, America has always played the principal role in maintaining the master database for domain names, the assignment of Internet protocol addresses and other critical Web functions. That technical system is called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). An agency within the Commerce Department, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), has contracted out IANA’s operations to ICANN on a biennial basis since 2000. The latest contract expires in September of 2015.
NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling denied the possibility of a U.N. or equivalent type takeover, insisting that ICANN must meet four conditions to make the transition. “We will not accept a proposal that replaces the NTIA role with a government-led or an intergovernmental solution,” Strickling said in a conference call. He has asked ICANN to begin the process for making a formal transition that must “support and enhance the multistakeholder model” and “maintain the openness of the Internet.”
ICANN itself wants to get out from under U.S. oversight, and their effort has been abetted by European officials whose promotion of a globalization campaign has intensified in the wake of fugitive Edward Snowden’s leaks about the National Security Administration’s overarching surveillance programs. An NTIA official denied the connection, insisting U.S. stewardship of the Internet was always intended to be temporary.
Regardless of which scenario is accurate, ICANN’s motive is transparent. The organization has elicited the wrath of many in the business community who believe their decision-making is aimed at accommodating the industry that sells domain names, and whose fees provide the lion’s share of ICANN’s revenue. They believe ICANN’s contract with the U.S. mitigates some of those abuses, and that international control would amount to no control at all.
There is little question that the selling of domain names is a huge business, one with enormous potential for fraud. As a 2012 article in the Washington Post revealed, several groups have been out to get control of names that would give them a huge advantage over their competitors. Examples include Amazon bidding for control over all the Web addresses that end with “.book,” Google for “.buy.” and Allstate for “.carinsurance.”
They further sounded the alarm about Donuts Inc., a company with close ties to a documented Internet spammer. Donuts Inc. bid $57 million for 307 new domains, including “.doctor,” “.financial” and “.school.” At the time, David E. Weslow, a D.C.-based lawyer who represents several major corporations, contended that such top-level domains would precipitate a ”Wild West for fraud and abuse.” Law enforcement officials agreed, noting that the rapid expansion of new domains would increase the likelihood of cybercrime, even as identifying the perpetrators would become more difficult. In 2012, there were 22 “top level domains.” Here is ICANN’s current–and vastly expanded–list.
ICANN manages that list via an international structure of governance comprised of “stakeholders” that include governments, corporations, and civil society activists. Under its contract with the NTIA, it could theoretically be forced to render a website nameless, effectively removing it from the Internet. When that contract ends, a new form of global governance will take its place–one that has yet to be determined. There have been several efforts over the course of the last decade to transfer control of the Internet to the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), whose website claims it is “committed to connecting the world.” Yet those efforts have been led by Russia and China, two countries whose commitment to “connecting the world” begins and ends with censoring content inimical to their interests.
Unsurprisingly, both believe the only stakeholders that really matter are countries. That’s because under the current contract, nations can only suppress Internet content. They can’t prevent websites from registering domain names. If those parameters change, domain name registry could be censored under the auspices of protecting one’s national sovereignty.
ICANN president Fadi Chehade dismisses that concern as well as others. “Nothing will be done in any way to jeopardize the security and stability of the Internet,” he promised. He called the Obama administration’s decision “historic”.
Republicans weren’t buying it. “While I certainly agree our nation must stridently review our procedures regarding surveillance in light of the NSA controversy, to put ourselves in a situation where censorship-laden governments like China or Russia could take a firm hold on the Internet itself is truly a scary thought,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee and with the Commerce Department on this, because–to be blunt–the ‘global Internet community’ this would empower has no First Amendment.”
Former Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA), who sponsored a unanimously-passed 2012 resolution to keep the Internet free from governmental control, concurred. “We’re at a critical time where [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is proving he is capable of outmaneuvering the administration. … As they digest it, I think people are going to be very upset,” she contended.
As if on cue, Amnesty International revealed that Russia instituted a media blackout that included blocking a number of Internet sites in the Russian Federation prior to secession vote in Crimea. That censorship was enabled by an amendment to the Law on Internet Information signed by Putin on Feb. 1, giving the Prosecutor General’s office the authority to block websites that publish any calls for activities considered to be unlawful.
An op-ed by Daniel Castro, a senior analyst at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), reveals what’s at stake. He notes that two years ago, on the 25th anniversary of the registration of the first .com domain name, his company released a report revealing that “the annual global economic benefit of the commercial Internet equaled $1.5 trillion, more than the global sales of medicine, investment in renewable energy, and government investment in R&D, combined.” He believes all of it would be at risk if the Obama administration doesn’t resist giving up control of the Internet. He contends such a move would bring about a “splintered Internet that would stifle innovation, commerce, and the free flow and diversity of ideas that are bedrock tenets of the world’s biggest economic engine.”
Nonetheless, the effort has its defenders. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WVA) called the move “consistent with other efforts the U.S. and our allies are making to promote a free and open Internet, and to preserve and advance the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance.” Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge, a hard-left group promoting itself as a public interest vehicle, concurred. “This is a step in the right direction to resolve important international disputes about how the Internet is governed,” he said.
This so-called step in the right direction is anything but.
It is useful to remember that along with Russian and China, the EU criminalizes free speech, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference [now the Organization of Islamic Co-operation - ed.] is determined to silence those who resist terror and jihad.
Steps are being taken towards the disaster even as we speak .”Discussions for laying out the appropriate transitional process” are starting this month in Singapore.
ITIF’s Daniel Castro sounds the ultimate alarm, one that should concern every American. “Yes, Internet architecture is technical and, frankly, quite boring to outsiders,” he acknowledges. “But it is an issue with huge consequences that demands attention from policymakers. It is too important to get wrong. And if the Obama Administration gives away its oversight of the Internet, it will be gone forever.”
It obviously has not been safe with the Obama gang. They were bound to give it away. They are no more for freedom than are Russia, China, or the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
A good account of what’s wrong with the “settled science” of man-made global warming. We like the style of these simple cartoons with one painted figure cogently putting a well-informed argument to another in a comically monotonous voice .
Our Fragile Planet, Walter William calls it ironically, in an article demonstrating that it is nothing of the sort.
He writes at Townhall:
Let’s examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question.
“The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile.” …
Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: “Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day.” “Remember the importance of taking care of our planet. It’s the only home we have!”
Such statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmental extremists and non-extremists alike. Worse yet is the fact that this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to our youth from kindergarten through college.
Let’s examine just how fragile the earth is.
The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, in present-day Indonesia, had the force of 200 megatons of TNT. That’s the equivalent of 13,300 15-kiloton atomic bombs, the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Preceding that eruption was the 1815 Tambora eruption, also in present-day Indonesia, which holds the record as the largest known volcanic eruption. It spewed so much debris into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, that 1816 became known as the “Year Without a Summer” or “Summer That Never Was.” It led to crop failures and livestock death in much of the Northern Hemisphere and caused the worst famine of the 19th century. The A.D. 535 Krakatoa eruption had such force that it blotted out much of the light and heat of the sun for 18 months … Geophysicists estimate that just three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than all of mankind’s activities in our entire history.
How has our fragile earth handled floods? China is probably the world capital of gigantic floods. The 1887 Yellow River flood cost between 900,000 and 2 million lives. China’s 1931 flood was worse, yielding an estimated death toll between 1 million and 4 million. …
What about the impact of earthquakes on our fragile earth? There’s Chile’s 1960 Valdivia earthquake, coming in at 9.5 on the Richter scale, a force equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The deadly 1556 earthquake in China’s Shaanxi province devastated an area of 520 miles. There’s the more recent December 2004 magnitude-9.1 earthquake in the Indian Ocean that caused the deadly Boxing Day tsunami, and a deadly March 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck eastern Japan.
Our fragile earth faces outer space terror. Two billion years ago, an asteroid hit earth, creating the Vredefort crater in South Africa. It has a radius of 118 miles, making it the world’s largest impact crater. In Ontario, there’s the Sudbury Basin, resulting from a meteor strike 1.8 billion years ago, which has an 81-mile diameter, making it the second-largest impact structure on earth. Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay crater is a bit smaller, about 53 miles wide. …
I’ve pointed out only a tiny portion of the cataclysmic events that have struck the earth – ignoring whole categories, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, fires, blizzards, landslides and avalanches.
Despite these cataclysmic events, the earth survived.
My question is: Which of these powers of nature can be matched by mankind? For example, can mankind duplicate the polluting effects of the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption or the asteroid impact that wiped out dinosaurs?
It is the height of arrogance to think that mankind can make significant parametric changes in the earth or can match nature’s destructive forces.
Occasionally, environmentalists spill the beans and reveal their true agenda.
Barry Commoner said, “Capitalism is the earth’s number one enemy.”
Amherst College professor Leo Marx said, “On ecological grounds, the case for world government is beyond argument.”
With the decline of the USSR, communism has lost considerable respectability and is now repackaged as environmentalism and progressivism.
This is from Canada Free Press, by the excellent researcher and writer Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, who has herself lived under communism:
Liberal education has been very successful in this country because nobody challenged the progressive educators and their agenda. We are waking up to the unraveling of our society caused by this liberal education and wondering, what happened. Could it be too late to reverse the damage?
Conservative news outlets are pointing out the obvious — our children have been indoctrinated into socialism for 33-40 years and this indoctrination is finally bearing fruit. We have bred a nation of young, entitled citizens who do not like to work, do not like to read or study anything too involved or complicated that exceeds Twitter’s 140 words, do not take responsibility for their actions, exhibit righteous indignation if their demands are not met, claim racism and hate speech if others disagree with them, and are afraid of their shadows.
Students no longer explore and discuss the history of America even in the History Department of the local college — it has long been replaced by courses that praise and promote “sexual, racial and ethnic differences”, instead of highlighting our common American heritage, what made America great and an exceptional nation that has contributed to the betterment of mankind. Socialist professors admire, teach, and laud the history of non-western cultures as superior to our own culture.
She cites Bowdoin College, the subject of a recent report (see our post immediately below), as an example of what’s gone wrong in higher education. And she gives examples of courses taught there – to the exclusion of teaching critical thinking skills, and ignoring “scientists, men of letters, philosophers and orators who contributed to western thought and civilization”. Instead, there’s this sort of thing on offer:
Beyond Pocahontas: Native American Stereotypes
Sexual Life of Colonialism
Modern Western Prostitutes
But the greater part of her article is devoted to providing information on IB World Schools. We learn the following:
IB stands for International Baccalaureate.
Most parents have no idea what IB is. IB programs are devoted to the “radical transformation of America’s classrooms.”
The rot taught in American schools like Bowdoin is taught world wide in the IB schools, which are here, there, and spreading everywhere. “There are over 2,000 IB World Schools in the US.” Of those, 74 are in Virginia.
An IB World School is a private or public school that has agreed to offer the IB (International Baccalaureate) program run and coordinated by IBO, a non-profit socialist Swiss Foundation in Geneva … in partnership with UNESCO …
In fact -
Since 1970, IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization) has been an official NGO (non-governmental organization) of UNESCO.
They know they’re doing something sneaky, something most American parents would not like.
As a parent, in order to discover what the secret curriculum is, one has to be approved [by] an IB teacher, with a password that accesses the curriculum.
IB schools are a part of Agenda 21. (To find out more about it, use our search slot).
Dr. Paugh is our main source of information about this UN resolution that aims to preserve and restore the wilderness at the expense of human populations; destroy the suburbs; herd people into urban collectivities with single “living units” allotted to them instead of homes shared with their families; deprive them of private cars; control their heating and cooling and other uses of energy. In sum, monitor their whole lives and prescribe how they should live them. And worse, though you might think there could be no worse -
An international baccalaureate world school is another arm of U.N. Agenda 21. [It's aim is the] indoctrination of our children into “global citizenship, social justice, intercultural understanding and respect,” submission to one-world socialist government, using American taxpayer dollars.
She refers to a description of IB education by Justin Pough, who attended an IB school:
No more learning about U.S. Presidenst, good values, no American history … Teachers have to wear the light blue colors of the United Nations. Students are indoctrinated into becoming “citizens of the world” instead of citizens of the country they were born in, preoccupied with “moral, ethical, social, economic, and environmental implications of global production and consumption.”
The student’s version of Agenda 21 is called the Rescue Mission Planet Earth.
The founder of IB, Therese Maurette, describes her educational philosophy that runs against our Founding Fathers’ ideas of what American education should be … The concept of “nationality” must be minimized in order to encourage students to develop a picture of the whole world. “History should not be taught until well into adolescence because, for the younger student, it inevitably consists of a series of stories and myths glorifying violence and misrepresenting events by giving them a nationalistic bias.”
To shape students into pawns of international change, IB programs use “pedagogical methods that are intended to effect the fundamental transformation of America’s classrooms.” Schools that adopt the IB program must also adopt the international moral and ethical values. Whose values are these? They are the diverse values of different cultures as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. They are not our American values, they are values that encourage social change in which “the rights of individuals are linked to those of the collectives:”
By “linked to the values of the collective” they mean, of course, “replaced by ”.
The whole of Dr. Paugh’s article is a must-read.
Here are a few more revolting UN/IB ideas that she gathered from various (named) sources:
There is no right or wrong, only conditioned responses.
The collective good is more important than the individual.
Consensus is more important than principle.
Flexibility is more important than accomplishment.
Nothing is permanent except change.
All ethics are situational; there are no moral absolutes.
There are no perpetrators, only victims.
“Dialectical thinking” is a required component of IB.
Social justice is taught under the rubric of critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogy is the political arm of liberation theology and cultural Marxism/political correctness. The ultimate goal is to bring about social transformation at the collective level through indoctrination of our students. (This last statement ascribed to President Obama’s terrorist associate, Bill Ayres.)
What this all means is that the Left’s New World Order is being established under our noses.
Which, we wonder, will be the first to win the power to impose its control world-wide – the Left or Islam?
At present they are allies. But that will have to change. They must come to blows with each other eventually. The victory of either would be a calamity.
Will anyone fight for liberty?
Evil speaks, as so often, in the name of good. And as so often, in an op-ed in the New York Times.
Three Cheers for the Nanny State is by Sarah Conly, an assistant professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College who is also the author of a book titled Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism.
In her op-ed she asks:
Why has there been so much fuss about New York City’s attempt to impose a soda ban, or more precisely, a ban on large-size “sugary drinks”? After all, people can still get as much soda as they want. This isn’t Prohibition. It’s just that getting it would take slightly more effort. So, why is this such a big deal?
Which makes us ask: If it’s so trivial why do it at all?
And we know the right answer: In order to exercise power.
These would-be totalitarians start with small things so you’ll get used to the interference in your private life, get used to them imposing their will on you.
Americans, even those who generally support government intervention in our daily lives, have a reflexive response to being told what to do, and it’s not a positive one. It’s this common desire to be left alone that prompted the Mississippi Legislature earlier this month to pass a ban on bans — a law that forbids municipalities to place local restrictions on food or drink.
Mississippi did that? Bravo, Mississippi!
We have a vision of ourselves as free, rational beings who are totally capable of making all the decisions we need to in order to create a good life. Give us complete liberty, and, barring natural disasters, we’ll end up where we want to be. It’s a nice vision, one that makes us feel proud of ourselves. But it’s false. …
A lot of times we have a good idea of where we want to go, but a really terrible idea of how to get there. It’s well established by now that we often don’t think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends. We make errors. This has been the object of an enormous amount of study over the past few decades, and what has been discovered is that we are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations.
Oh yes. We know about those academic studies. There are millions of them gathering dust. Each study was conducted and written up to prove something – and lo! managed to prove it.
But did any sane person on earth really need “an enormous amount of study” to “discover” that we often go wrong in trying to achieve something?
Research by psychologists and behavioral economists … identified a number of areas in which we fairly dependably fail. They call such a tendency a “cognitive bias,” and there are many of them — a lot of ways in which our own minds trip us up.
For example, we suffer from an optimism bias, that is we tend to think that however likely a bad thing is to happen to most people in our situation, it’s less likely to happen to us — not for any particular reason, but because we’re irrationally optimistic. Because of our “present bias,” when we need to take a small, easy step to bring about some future good, we fail to do it, not because we’ve decided it’s a bad idea, but because we procrastinate.
Wow! Who’d have thought that people hope for the best? Or that they put off doing things they don’t much want to do? Where would we be without these revelations from “psychologists and behavioral economists”? However did humanity make out before they came along?
We also suffer from a status quo bias, which makes us value what we’ve already got over the alternatives, just because we’ve already got it — which might, of course, make us react badly to new laws, even when they are really an improvement over what we’ve got. …
The crucial point is that in some situations it’s just difficult for us to take in the relevant information and choose accordingly. … [So] we need help.
That help must come, she tells us, from laws, though we’ll be cross about them just because they’re new.
No, we’ll be cross about them because the purpose of law should be to protect freedom, and a law against the sale of large sodas does not protect freedom; it limits it.
Conly is not concerned with freedom. She’s concerned – really truly deeply cares, she’d have you know - whether the soda is good for you or not.
Is it always a mistake when someone does something imprudent, when, in this case, a person chooses to chug 32 ounces of soda? No. For some people, that’s the right choice. They don’t care that much about their health, or they won’t drink too many big sodas, or they just really love having a lot of soda at once.
But – Conly says - just because you like it, and may not be harmed by it, or know when to stop indulging yourself with it, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a law against it, because most people need to be forbidden it by law for their own good. It’s the age-old excuse for tyranny.
Laws have to be sensitive to the needs of the majority. That doesn’t mean laws should trample the rights of the minority, but that public benefit is a legitimate concern, even when that may inconvenience some.
So do these laws mean that some people will be kept from doing what they really want to do? Probably — and yes, in many ways it hurts to be part of a society governed by laws, given that laws aren’t designed for each one of us individually. … Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws.
We emphatically disagree. We contend that each person’s liberty should be limited by nothing but everyone else’s. That is the individualist’s view.
But Conly is a collectivist. She says:
What people fear is that this is just the beginning: today it’s soda, tomorrow it’s the guy standing behind you making you eat your broccoli, floss your teeth, and watch “PBS NewsHour” every day. What this ignores is that successful paternalistic laws are done on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis: if it’s too painful [to too many people], it’s not a good law.
You “do” a law. You experiment. If people are badly hurt by it, “it’s not a good law”. Which isn’t to say you repeal it.
Then comes her most fatuous assertion. Of what you should and should not be allowed to do, she says:
Making these analyses is something the government has the resources to do.
What resources? A bevy of bureaucrats?
In the old days we used to blame people for acting imprudently, and say that since their bad choices were their own fault, they deserved to suffer the consequences. Now we see that these errors aren’t a function of bad character, but of our shared cognitive inheritance.
That is to say, human nature. But though she uses the word “our”, she and her fellow statists do not believe they are like the rest of us. They know that they know, as we cannot know, what our ends ought to be, and how best we can get there. And whether we like it or not, they’ll see that we do.
The proper reaction is not blame, but an impulse to help one another.
“Helping one another” is the nice lefty way of saying “interfering in other people’s lives”. “I know better than you what’s good for you”, is the fixed belief of Conly and her fellow busybodies. To which impertinence the right and time-honored retort is, “Mind your own business!”
Conly’s college, where she teaches the virtues of totalitarianism, is critically scrutinized by Bruce Bawer in an article at Front Page. He writes:
If you want to see ideological lockstep and rinse-and-repeat brainwashing in their very purest form, it’s best to look to the small, elite liberal-arts colleges – preferably those that are located out in the middle of nowhere or in adorable little college towns where the colleges themselves set the local tone.
Case in point: Bowdoin … founded in 1794 … located in Brunswick, Maine, has just under 1800 students …
All of whom apparently have a very high opinion of themselves just for having got there. Bruce Bawer quotes (from a recent report) a student saying:
“Our student body represents some of the most intelligent youth of the world. Bowdoin’s worst student is by far and away much more astute than the vast majority of humans.”
Bruce Bawer goes on:
Students are encouraged to see the college itself as … a small-scale model of the better, more progressive world they should strive to help establish after they graduate. …
At Bowdoin, as at other such colleges … identity-studies programs constitute no less than 18 percent of the curriculum. … [And] there’s a proliferation of student clubs based on group identity. Long lost is the idea that it should be an objective, when bringing together kids from a wide variety of backgrounds to be educated, to transcend such categories; on the contrary, the idea is to produce young adults for whom class, race, and gender labels are the very pillars of self-knowledge. …
Women’s studies, black studies, gay studies, transgender studies …
Bowdoin is not concerned with the inculcation of knowledge in its students, but with -
The inculcation of “knowingness” … [These are] ignorant students who have been trained to be smug and self-satisfied, to think that they’ve already got all the answers and that they themselves are the solution to the world’s problems. Why, after all, should they be eager to learn? Academic ideology has already answered all the important questions. Besides, it’s been made clear to them that there’s nothing in particular they need to learn. All of life is an elective. Course content is irrelevant; what matters is that you approach every topic with a reflexive, unquestioning belief in social construction, “social justice,” and “global citizenship.”
They are our betters, who will govern us tomorrow – if we let them.
This is from Reason, February 27, 2008:
“I share about 90 percent of the views of most libertarians.”
So said the famous conservative William F. Buckley in a 1983 discussion when he “sat down with reason to discuss, among other subjects, libertarianism, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and the decriminalization of marijuana.”
The interview, which must have been interesting, is now hard to find. However, all we need from it is Buckley’s statement that he “shared about 90% of the views of most libertarians”, because we do too. But, like him, we still describe ourselves as conservatives.
Buckley was influenced by Albert Jay Nock, “whose elegant criticism of statism seems to grow more relevant with each passing day”, as Jonah Goldberg wrote in an essay on Nock in the National Review in 2009. Here are some extracts from it:
Albert Jay Nock … was one of the great men of letters of the 20th century. He counted among his friends and admirers H. L. Mencken, Charles Beard, Dwight Macdonald, Oswald Garrison Villard, Frank Chodorov, William F. Buckley Jr., and William Jennings Bryan (for whom he did some work as a special envoy when Bryan was secretary of state). … [He] was born in 1870 … in Scranton, Pa., and raised in Brooklyn, Nock was an autodidact who mastered numerous languages, including French, Latin, and Greek. He spent a good deal of his youth in a small town in upstate New York, where he imbibed from the wellspring of American individualism and gained an enduring appreciation for the power and magisterially ennobling competence of what we would today call civil society (he used the word “society” or “social power” to denote the good and decent realm of life not corrupted or coerced by the state). In 1887 he went to St. Stephen’s College (now Bard), where he was later a professor.
After college he attended divinity school, and he became a minister in the Episcopal Church in 1897. A dozen years later he quit the clergy and became a full-time journalist and editor, first at American Magazine and then at The Nation (which was still a classically liberal publication). In 1920 he became the co-editor of the original Freeman magazine, which, in its four-year run, managed to inspire the men who would one day launch National Review and the second incarnation of The Freeman, run by Nock’s disciple Frank Chodorov. …
He wrote a few books, including biographies of Thomas Jefferson and Rabelais. His most famous and successful works were Our Enemy the Stateand Memoirs of a Superfluous Man. But he was not prolific. As Chodorov put it, he “had a rare gift of editing his ideas so that he wrote only when he had something to say and he said it with dispatch.” …
Among virtually all of the political writers of the Left and the Right in the 1920s and 1930s, Nock shines brightest for seeing from the outset that the differences between the various collectivist schemes then circulating amounted to differences in branding. “Communism, the New Deal, Fascism, Nazism,” he wrote in his Memoirs, “are merely so-many trade-names for collectivist Statism, like the trade-names for tooth-pastes which are all exactly alike except for the flavouring.” …
A cold river of anarchism runs across the landscape of Nock’s work, but … he was not an anarchist, as many fans claim. … Nock understood that the state is not the “proper agency for social welfare, and never will be, for exactly the same reason that an ivory paper-knife is nothing to shave with.” Government intrusions “on the individual should be purely negative in character. It should attend to national defense, safeguard the individual in his civil rights, maintain outward order and decency, enforce the obligations of contract, punish crimes belonging in the order of malum in se [evil in itself] and make justice cheap and easily available.” Such a regime would amount to a government by and for the people, not a state in which the citizens are mere instruments of the statists. …
He denied that the state was the proper object of hope or a worthwhile agent of change. Moreover, he had contempt for the vast bulk of humanity, the “Neolithic mass” and those who spoke to them. In the dark, or at least darkening, age in which he believed himself to live (Nock died two weeks after Hiroshima), he cared only for the Remnant — a tiny slice of humanity he could describe but not locate. … the Remnant was his audience. At times, the idea of the Remnant is unapologetically elitist, but in a thoroughly Jeffersonian way. The Remnant were not the “best and brightest,” the most successful, the richest. Rather, they were those occupying the “substratum of right thinking and well doing” (in Matthew Arnold’s words). “Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you. Except for these two certainties, working for the Remnant means working in impenetrable darkness.”
And it is here that we find an explanation for why Nock is so admired by liberals such as The New Republic’s Franklin Foer and the New York Times’s Sam Tanenhaus: He openly embraced the idea that he couldn’t change anything. History was driven by forces too large to be affected by politics or punditry. Any revolution would result only in a new crop of exploiters and scoundrels eager to pick up where the deposed ones left off. So, Nock figured, why bother with politics? Now what more could today’s liberals ask for from a conservative pundit? …
He was wrong about many things, and his formulations were often too simple. … He bravely dissented from the overwhelming consensus that collectivism was the most desirable form of social organization. But he in effect surrendered to the same consensus that it was the “wave of the future.” …
He was wrong that statism was inevitable, partly because he was right about the need to speak to the Remnant. Buckley, Chodorov, and countless others took inspiration from Nock or from Nockian ideas, but they did not write for their desk drawers. They shared Nock’s fatalism at times — standing athwart history yelling Stop, and all that — but they actually yelled Stop. Nock did not believe in anything so crude as yelling, even in purely literary terms. His successors did, because they shared Burke’s understanding that “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Likewise, when bad ideas seem good, men who know otherwise must say so, lest society slip under their spell. That was the key lesson the disparate righteous took from Nock the Prophet as they associated to form the modern conservative and libertarian movements — even if, as Nock fully understood, they didn’t know where their ideas came from, or that Nock’s fingerprints were upon many of them. …
And that is why the Right is in so much better shape than it was during Nock’s time, even as liberals are mounting a statist revival. Yes, statism is on the march again, but anti-statism isn’t an amusing pursuit for cape-wearing exotics like Nock anymore; it is the animating spirit of institutions launched and nourished by lovers of liberty.
We are fascinated by this piece of history, glad to learn that “the disparate righteous … associated to form the modern conservative and libertarian movements”.
But is statism not the “wave of the future”?
With the re-election of Obama and the apparent weakness of the Republican Party now, we cannot be confident that statism is a passing phase.
Jonah Goldberg remains full of optimism. Here he is again with a cheerful view. We quote from an article of his at Townhall today:
American conservatism began as a kind of intellectual hobbyist’s group with little hope of changing the broader society. Albert Jay Nock, the cape-wearing libertarian intellectual … who inspired a very young William F. Buckley Jr., argued that political change was impossible because the masses were rubes, goons, fools or sheep, victims of the eternal tendency of the powerful to exploit the powerless.
Buckley, who rightly admired Nock for many things, rightly disagreed on this point. Buckley trusted the people more than the intellectuals … [and believed that] it is possible to rally the public to your cause.
It took time. In an age when conservative books make millions, it’s hard to imagine how difficult it once was to get a right-of-center book published. Henry L. Regnery, the founder of the publishing house that bears his name, started his venture to break the wall of groupthink censorship surrounding the publishing industry. With a few exceptions, Regnery was the only game in town for decades.
That’s hardly the case anymore. While there’s a higher bar for conservative authors at mainstream publishers (which remain overwhelmingly liberal), profit tends to trump ideology.
And publishing is a lagging indicator. In cable news, think tanks, talk radio and, of course, the Internet, conservatives have at least rough parity with, and often superiority to, liberals. It’s only in the legacy institutions — newspapers, the broadcast networks and most especially academia and Hollywood — where conservatism is still largely frozen out. Nonetheless, conservatism is a mass-market enterprise these days, for good and for ill.
The good is obvious. The ill is less understood. For starters, the movement has an unhealthy share of hucksters eager to make money from stirring rage, paranoia and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can only come with persuading the unconverted.
We have a sinking feeling that we are among the “hucksters … stirring rage, paranoia, and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can only come with persuading the unconverted”, though we don’t make money out of it, and we would very much like to achieve real political success.
A conservative journalist or activist can now make a decent living while never once bothering to persuade a liberal. Telling people only what they want to hear has become a vocation. Worse, it’s possible to be a rank-and-file conservative without once being exposed to a good liberal argument.
We are amply exposed to liberal arguments, but have yet to hear a good one.
Many liberals lived in such an ideological cocoon for decades, which is one reason conservatives won so many arguments early on. Having the right emulate that echo chamber helps no one.
Ironically, the institution in which conservatives had their greatest success is the one most besieged by conservatives today: the Republican Party. To listen to many grassroots conservatives, the GOP establishment is a cabal of weak-kneed sellouts …
Well, yes. That is how we think of the GOP right now.
It’s not that the GOP isn’t conservative enough, it’s that it isn’t tactically smart or persuasive enough to move the rest of the nation in a more conservative direction. Moreover, thanks in part to the myth that all that stands between conservatives and total victory is a philosophically pure GOP, party leaders suffer from a debilitating lack of trust — some of it well earned — from the rank and file.
But politics is about persuasion, and a party consumed by the need to prove its purity to its base is going to have a very hard time proving anything else to the rest of the country.
We applaud – and often quote – conservative and libertarian writers who attract millions of readers and may be persuading them.
And eagerly – though full of misgiving – we await their success: await the defeat of collectivist statism; the fall from power of the now far left Democratic Party; the final disappointment of the world government fans and the Big Green fanatics; the enlightenment of feminists and pacifists; the stopping of the Islamic onslaught on the West.
And the regeneration of the GOP.
Dr Ileana Johnson Paugh – whose articles on this subject we often quote – brings our information up to date on how the pernicious Agenda 21 is making headway in America:
The one world government elites stand to make billions from the global warming/climate change scam. That is why they are not going to give up. Too many billions have already been invested to implement a society dependent on an omnipotent government that claims to control nature – they are not going to give up that easily or any time soon.
The fact that we are forced to pay, cap, swap, and trade carbon taxes on the open market does nothing to affect the level of pollution that takes place in [a very small portion of] the world. It is so arrogant to believe that humans can control the fury of Mother Nature when it is ready to unleash its ire.
Although scientists have debunked global warming and have proven that the globe has actually cooled in the last 16 years, our Secretary of State still promotes the myth of global warming. …
Climate alarmists have been meeting at Doha* to renew their vows made long ago at Kyoto to reduce the world to poverty. Though they don’t of course put it quite like that, that’s what it amounts to. Their stated intention is to “negotiate a complete transformation of the economic structure of the world.”
The United Nation’s multifaceted assault on every human activity and its end goal to control and destroy capitalism to the benefit of the one world communist governance includes the U.N. Agenda 21 with its hallmark of Sustainable Development, Green Growth, Green Cities, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, alternative food and plant derived energy, Green everything from cradle to grave.
I have watched this complex Agenda 21 octopus encroach everything across the globe stealthily, with little resistance from the population. Why would anyone oppose such a kind and gentle goal of greening everything? Who does not want a green planet or clean air and water? Who does not want to recycle inputs in order to maximize the use of raw materials? The problem is that the goal is more nefarious than people are led to believe if they only took the time to read and inform themselves.
The United Nations is concerned about the size of our cars, our homes, our property, our farms, our wealth, the size of our “socially unjust” use of energy and resources, our recreational areas, the size of our hunting and fishing grounds, and the size and rights to our living space in general vis-à-vis a needy planet whose wildlife needs more space and wilderness devoid of humans. …
To conserve space and reduce human habitation to city dwelling in high rise and/or crowded spaces, the liberal architects and developers have come up with a new green idea – the 150-200 square foot home in an alley, the new “American dream.” Americans don’t know yet that this is what they want – they must be first convinced, indoctrinated, or coerced that this exactly how they want to live in the future.
The Northeast Washington neighborhood of Stronghold (close to the Capitol) is building a cluster of Lilliputian houses. Emily Wax, of the Washington Post, describes such homes as a dream of “compact bathrooms and cozy sleeping lofts that add up to living spaces that are smaller than the walk-in closets in a suburban McMansion.”
There is no secret that proponents of Green Growth and Agenda 21 hate suburban sprawl and wish to ban further building of homes in suburbia because it is unsustainable growth. They would love to move everyone into high-rises downtown within walking distance of everything, abandoning the land to the state.
Diminutive homes that can be bought with wheels were first designed by Tumbleweed Tiny House Co. in Santa Rosa, California in 2000. According to Wax, “their increasing popularity could be seen as a denunciation of conspicuous consumption.”
“Conspicuous consumption” has long been the phrase favored by communists to describe people living comfortably, owning property, and generally spending the money they have earned in whatever ways they like.
I have not met one person yet who was eager to live in a space the size of a prison cell unless forced to.
Boneyard Studios preferred the Smurf-sized houses to be built in a community connected to a neighborhood but zoning laws do not allow residential dwellings on alley lots unless they are at least 30 feet wide. No problem, it is time for D.C. to change its zoning laws and make them progressive.
The tiny homes sell for $20,000 to $50,000. Who can afford a real house when the economy has been driven into a downward spiral in the last four years and it is harder and harder to qualify for a real mortgage loan when you’ve been living in your parents’ basement unemployed? …
What are the best selling points of a “tiny” house? They are easy to clean, mobile, “save a ton of money on heating and AC,” and the price is right. Besides, the generational trend gurus instruct us that our love affair with a real house ended when progressives took over the economy and turned it into a disaster.
Saving money on heating and cooling, of course, features prominently into the playbook of Agenda 21 supporters who would prefer to roll back the clock to pre-industrial America in terms of energy use and living conditions, preferably to pioneer days. …
Affordable-housing promoters hope that “tiny” homes will replace the much maligned trailer parks and low-income housing – well, at least until a hurricane or straight line winds decide to make land in D.C.
Most living units will accomodate one person only. Families must be broken up, the bearing of children discouraged (though copulation promoted with “free” contraceptives). Life in these tiny spaces will of necessity be austere. As austere as in a prison cell. Little room for even essential belongings. No room to entertain friends. Almost none for books, recorded music or movies, photographs, pictures, any pet bigger than a fish, collections or hobbies. To stretch your legs you’ll have to go out into the public arena. That’s the idea, of course: privacy must be extremely limited; your activities must be visible, communal, controllable.
No dystopia yet conceived by any fiction writer, no actual communist society in all history, matches up to this nightmare.
Its only redeeming feature is that it will be so stagnant a society that it will perish through sterility and death – unless human instincts not entirely crushed will drive the regimented beings to rebellion and the overthrow of their enslavers.
Better recognize what’s coming now, and resist it, than enter that hell on earth.
* Lord Monckton was thrown out after telling the conference that there has been no global warming for the last 16 years – which is true.
PS. The UN must be destroyed.
Millions of voters who have resided in America their whole lives have immigrated without moving an inch. They don’t live in the country of their birth even if they’ve never travelled outside its borders. This is not your father’s America. It’s not even your older brother’s.
So writes Daniel Flynn, in an article at Front Page.
The electorate that voted Ronald Reagan into the presidency in 1980 was 88 percent white, ten percent black, and two percent Hispanic. The body politic that reelected Barack Obama in 2012 was 72 percent white, thirteen percent black, ten percent Hispanic, three percent Asian, and two percent “other” …
The changing complexion of America may be the most superficial of the major demographic shifts. Getting married and bringing children into the world are less popular now than at any point in U.S. history. In 1980, just 18 percent of births occurred to women not married to their child’s father. Now, that figure exceeds 40 percent. Without a daddy in their house, many single mothers look for a daddy in the White House. …
So many Americans now depend on government for food, shelter, retirement, education, health care, and even jobs that the party of government almost guarantees itself a majority long before the campaign has started. Consider that in 1980 slightly more than twenty million Americans received food stamps. In 2012, the number approaches fifty million. From bailed-out Toledo autoworkers to the comfortably unemployed approaching 99 weeks of benefits in Detroit to Georgetown co-eds desiring free birth control, the Democrat constituency is the coalition of the bought. …
Republicans Tuesday suddenly came to grips with the changes that have been slowly transforming the United States of America. …
There has been a revolution within the form.
The nation’s name remains the same. Its habits, and inhabitants, have changed beyond recognition.
A majority of Americans chose socialism. They may not call it that, but that is what they’re getting with their choice of Obama.
As Daniel Flynn says, the transformation of America did not come suddenly. The November 2012 election was only the consummating event. Preparation for it started decades ago. To choose an arbitrary date, one might say 1968. But the realization that it has happened has come suddenly to the Republican Party.
The change came to the West in general.
Since the advent of the “New Left”, generations of children have been educated to believe that socialism is good, capitalism is bad. In American public schools, the teaching of every branch of the humanities is an indoctrination of socialism. American history is taught as a shameful tale. The books of modern fiction prescribed for student reading more often than not carry the messages of the left: anti-capitalism, egalitarianism, environmentalism, multiculturalism. The nation state and military strength are bad. Pacifism and world socialist government are good. Business is a bad thing. (“Making a profit is a disease in our society”, declares that icon of the left, Noam Chomsky.) The person who succeeds in making money in business is ipso facto a bad person.
All this they were taught. It was a long concerted campaign. “The long march through the institutions” (the slogan that became a program, first uttered by Antonio Gramsci, founder of the Italian Communist Party) was patiently undertaken by the footsoldiers of the left, and steadily achieved. One by one the institutions were conquered: the schools and universities, many of the churches (easily turned from irrationalism to irrationalism, from one faith to another), the media, the entertainment industry; in Europe, and parts of America, even the police and the courts of law; eventually the government, and so the military and the intelligence services.
And conservatives did not notice the march. Or if they noticed it, they didn’t think it worth the effort to stop it. And now it cannot be reversed. It is a one-directional movement, a political ratchet.
So America goes socialist. The spectacle of other societies failing under socialism/communism/collectivism/statism should, in reason, make Americans shudder, not emulate them. But it hasn’t. Americans have caught the disease that is destroying the West.
What is its name?
As a failure to notice that socialist experiments have failed, it’s mental blindness.
As a failure to understand why they’ve failed, it’s mental feebleness.
As an open-eyed, fully conscious commitment to self-destruction, it is, in the medical term, suicidal ideation.
Democracy kills itself.
Yesterday, by a majority of 1,057,148* (a figure we have just derived from the Drudge Report), Americans chose to give up liberty by re-electing the socialist Islam-lover Barack Obama to the presidency.
And so “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is perishing, contrary to President Lincoln’s hope.
It is no wild exaggeration but a sober truth that Obama prefers to govern in the manner of a tyrant, against liberty in principle, and destructive of it in practice.
Thomas Sowell gives a few of many possible examples of Obama’s contempt for American Constitutional democracy:
The checks and balances of the Constitution have been evaded time and time again by the Obama administration, undermining the fundamental right of the people to determine the laws that govern them, through their elected representatives.
You do not have a self-governing people when huge laws are passed too fast for the public to even know what is in them.
You do not have a self-governing people when “czars” are created by Executive Orders, so that individuals wielding vast powers equal to, or greater than, the powers of Cabinet members do not have to be vetted and confirmed by the people’s elected representatives in the Senate, as Cabinet members must be.
You do not have a self-governing people when decisions to take military action are referred to the United Nations and the Arab League, but not to the Congress of the United States, elected by the American people, whose blood and treasure are squandered.You do not have a self-governing people when a so-called “consumer protection” agency is created to be financed by the unelected officials of the Federal Reserve System, which can create its own money out of thin air, instead of being financed by appropriations voted by elected members of Congress who have to justify their priorities and trade-offs to the taxpaying public.
You do not have a self-governing people when laws passed by the Congress, signed by previous Presidents, and approved by the federal courts, can have the current President waive whatever sections he does not like, and refuse to enforce those sections, despite his oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
Barack Obama … has refused to carry out sections of the immigration laws that he does not like, unilaterally creating de facto amnesty for those illegal immigrants he has chosen to be exempt from the law. The issue is not — repeat, NOT — the wisdom or justice of this President’s immigration policy, but the seizing of arbitrary powers not granted to any President by the Constitution of the United States.
You do not have a self-governing people if President Obama succeeds in having international treaties under United Nations auspices govern the way Americans live their lives, whether with gun control laws or other laws. …
The desire to circumvent the will of the American people was revealed even more ominously when Barack Obama said to Russian President Medvedev – when he thought the microphone was off – that, after he is reelected and need never face the voters again, he can be more “flexible” with the Russians about missile defense.
There are other signs of Obama’s contempt for American Constitutional democracy, but these should be more than enough. Dare we risk how far he will go when he never has to face the voters again, and can appoint Supreme Court justices who can rubber stamp his power grabs?
A majority of 1,057,148 chose to force the nation to risk it.
America is no longer the political embodiment of the idea of liberty.
Thomas Sowell ends by asking rhetorically –
Will this still be America in 2016?
* Later numbers of popular and electoral college votes may be found here.
It seems at the moment that a majority of Americans want the Democrats with their socialist agenda and pro-Islam sentiment to rule them, and therefore to change everything that the United States has stood for from the beginning.
If Obama is re-elected, and has his way – which he will if both houses of Congress are given Democratic majorities – what will happen?
Let’s look at the worst plausible scenario.
Most Americans will be poorer. The national debt, vast as it is, will grow even bigger. Unemployment will increase. The value of the dollar will fall as inflation rises. More tens of thousands will be on food stamps (45.8 million are now).
Much private housing will be expropriated. Large numbers of people will be herded into government-supplied accommodation. How warm you may keep your room in winter and how cool in summer will be decided by local government. Car ownership will be discouraged by high gas prices, lack of parking facilities, and pressure on town-dwellers to use bicycles and commuters to use public transport. The countryside will be returned to wilderness. Roads will be destroyed. (All this in line with Agenda 21. Put “Agenda 21″ in our search slot for corroboration.)
“Free Speech” will be severely restricted and so cease to be free. This is happening already with the Obama administration trying to stop criticism of Islam.
Your guns will be confiscated.
Sharia law will be applied in courts across the land and take precedence over the Constitution.
What you may eat in restaurants, schools and hospitals, and what food stores may sell, will be decided by Michelle Obama (assisted by New York’s Mayor Bloomberg). (See our post The orderers, June 5, 2012.)
Obamacare will prevail. The treatment you may have or be refused when you are ill will be decided by bureaucrats. If you are old and ill your survival will be arbitrated by a death-panel, whatever euphemism of a name it goes under. You have only to look at the British National Health Service to see the horrid future of health care in America. (Put “death-panels” and “NHS” into our search slot to find the grisly details.)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be turned into the equivalent of the KGB. It is almost there now.
There will be no more free elections.
China, Russia, North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran will all become more powerful as America is deliberately weakened militarily. What will that mean? Let your imaginations soar.
World government by that collection of corrupt and savage despotisms, the United Nations, will be established with the enthusiastic help of the American government.
Innovation will cease as freedom goes. The great experiment in freedom that was America, its prosperity and its power, will be over. There will be no turning back.
And all that is just first-thought – but bitterly informed – prediction.
Readers’ gloomy predictions are invited. And expressions of despair.
The Republican Party is allowing this to happen. It seems to have lost the plot. The last election was the turning point when it insanely put up John McCain as it’s presidential candidate. With such a feeble alternative to a candidate who offered the electorate a chance to feel good by voting for him chiefly because he was black (a thoroughly racist reason), the ideology of collectivism triumphed. Now that so many people have been reduced to dependence on the state is it likely they will vote away their free ride through life?
Of course, socialism does not work. The system will collapse as it always has because it must. And the country will come to ruin, like Greece. But apparently more than half the voters of America are unaware of this terrifying fact, or else they don’t give a damn.
Why aren’t the Republicans telling the voters in the strongest terms that this is what will happen?
It’s a real question. We’d like to know why.