The tyranny of western liberalism

Unless you have been living on a different planet for the past few decades, the violence and extremism of Western liberals must by now be a source of curiosity and horror.
Simply put: since the beginning of the 20th century, Western liberals championing ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ together with ‘secularism’ in government, have been involved in innumerable acts of genocide against defenceless civilians all across the world.
The ‘technology’ used in this Western liberal horror show has usually included the development, mass production and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) specifically made to mass murder civilians.
In the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’, such weapons are subsequently ‘banned’ under laws developed in the main by Western liberals in forums such as the United Nations, which was also set up in the main by Western liberals.
This then becomes ‘international law’ under which most countries are forbidden to develop and/or use such ‘inhuman’ technology after Western liberals are done with using them (Napalm or the atom bomb, to name a couple) against the rest of the world, and before others develop similar technology.
At the same time, Western liberals move on to make and use new WMDs that have not as yet been banned, but would be in the future as soon as others show signs of catching up.
If we look up the meaning of ‘liberal’ in a dictionary, we find it defined as ‘tolerant of different views and standards of behaviour in others’ or ‘favouring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual’.
Look up ‘liberalism’ and you get ‘a belief in tolerance and gradual reform in moral, religious, or political matters’. You also get ‘a political ideology with its beginnings in western Europe that rejects authoritarian government and defends freedom of speech, association, and religion, and the right to own property’.
How is it then that Western liberals are so astoundingly intolerant of the views and perspectives of other people in this world?
And why are they constantly thieving or otherwise forcibly acquiring the private property of people in other countries?
What makes them so narrow minded as to have no respect for the national sovereignty, livelihoods, property and culture of other countries to the extent that ‘bombing’ is the preferred option, often following on from ‘sanctions’ that amount to collective punishment of whole nations (a war crime) without any evident will or desire for dialogue and diplomacy?
Western liberals will spend enormous energy on dismissing, belittling and attacking other political beliefs and systems. In fact, they thrive on the act of identifying some ‘evil threat’ that must be ‘eradicated’.
Not all that long ago, that evil was ‘communism’. When that ‘evil’ finally gave way in 1989, the one and only real brake on the Western liberals’ domination of the world appeared to have disappeared. A liberal-minded person may have expected that to be the start of a long phase of growing peace and stability in the world.
But Western liberals would allow no such thing. Instead, they had found ‘terrorism’ as a useful propaganda tool for terrorising their own people, and delivered real, concrete terror to other countries’ civilian populations.
With the collapse of the Soviets, they also managed to stitch the ‘evil’ brand to ‘Islamic terrorists’.
This helped Western liberals’ long march toward world domination (who needs ‘Zion’ when you can try to take the whole planet instead?!) a great deal, winning them much needed domestic ‘democratic’ support for continuing their maniacal quest.
And it dovetailed beautifully with the fall of the Soviets, especially as it was these same ‘Islamic terrorists’ who had been the final nail in the coffin of the Soviets in Afghanistan.   It did not appear to matter that Western liberals were directly responsible for arming, training and funding these same ‘Islamic terrorists’ in Afghanistan in the first place.
It seemed to matter even less that these ‘Islamic terrorists’ were grown by the CIA in Afghanistan – much like Opium – before the Soviets invaded the country.
In fact, the CIA funded and trained Islamic Mujahedin were the bait that Western liberals were hoping to lure the Soviets into Afghanistan, and the plan (to hand the Soviets their own ‘Vietnam’) worked. But no one is interested in such truths, at least not among the ‘liberals’ of the West.
Today we can see the latest reincarnation of these same games in Syria and Iraq with the advent of Daesh (ISIL).   Daesh is a direct product of brutal American imperialism in the Middle East.
Western liberals encourage and support such ‘terrorists’ and then attack them as soon as they do what they have always said they would do from the very beginning. In a sense, tomorrow’s news on Daesh is already yesterday’s news before it has even happened.
The question here is not so much the atrocities committed by Western liberals of all creeds and shades throughout the past century (for that is now common knowledge).   Rather, the issue being raised here is how it is that such intolerant, heartless, warmongering and genocidal terrorists have come to refer to themselves as ‘liberals’.
Can anyone explain?

A de-Americanized world

It’s early days yet, but the farce surrounding the ‘debt ceiling’ debate and a clear crisis of governance in USA have some inevitable consequences that bode well for the rest of the world (especially for Iran and BRICS), but not for the US, especially not in the medium term.

For a start, it is hard to refute a strong suspicion of rampant racism among Republicans. Racism in itself is not surprising or unexpected, particularly from the likes of McCain, Palin, Romney and Tea Party members.

What is surprising is their willingness to sacrifice the well being of all Americans in order to hurt a black president.

This extremist tendency is also evident in some Republicans’ determination to crush ‘big government’ without a clear agenda on what their libertarian alternative might be.

Worse still, their determination is not bound by any democratic principles as they have clearly shown that being in a minority (in terms of popular vote count or public opinion) does not hold them back from a willingness to crash the whole economic system.

In fact, their tactics are Mafioso in style and involve blackmail and extortion.

Such extremist idealists are in a position to cause serious hurt to the world economy, and this is a matter that the rest of the world cannot take lightly.

The prime problem for the world is the dollar.

In absolute terms, USA is the world’s most indebted nation by a huge margin. Its current budget farce is about the extent to which its debt ceiling should be raised and for how long.

It is not about how the debt will be repaid. That option apparently is not even on the table.

And the ‘solution’ announced today only covers the next 3 months, after which they are back to square 1.

How can the currency of the world’s most highly indebted nation with such inept management remain the reserve currency of other countries and the currency for international trade for much longer?

Well, the dollar isn’t what it used to be. Many countries have been lowering their dollar liabilities quietly since year 2008.

Reuters today claims:

The political dysfunction has worried U.S. allies and creditors such as China, the biggest foreign holder of U.S. debt, and raised questions about the impact on America’s prestige. The Treasury has said it risks hurting the country’s reputation as a safe haven and stable financial center.

What some Chinese were saying during the Washington budget farce was rather more direct:

Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated, and a new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing.

And their remedy?

“For starters, all nations need to hew to the basic principles of the international law, including respect for sovereignty, and keeping hands off domestic affairs of others.”

“Furthermore, the authority of the United Nations in handling global hotspot issues has to be recognized.”

“Apart from that, the world’s financial system also has to embrace some substantial reforms.”

“What may also be included as a key part of an effective reform is the introduction of a new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States.”

And the purpose of all this?

Of course, the purpose of promoting these changes is not to completely toss the United States aside, which is also impossible. Rather, it is to encourage Washington to play a much more constructive role in addressing global affairs.

“To that end, several corner stones should be laid to underpin a de-Americanized world.

Just a couple of days later, several opeds started to openly call on world leaders and China in particular to ‘Dump the dollar‘.

Reclaiming democracy – again

A worrying challenge is arising to the very idea of democracy from various quarters. This new trend has two main drivers, among others: First, a number of Western ‘democracies’, particularly the US with the UK and France in typically obliging tow, have given the concept a bad name. Their litany of human rights abuses and barbarity in the world today make a mockery of the concept of democracy. With ‘democrats’ like these, who would want to become democratic?!

The second driver comes from China’s alternative model that is gaining much traction among emerging nations. China’s highly successful economic development over four decades since the 1980s has caught the attention of academics and politicians alike. Rather logically, many are asking whether a benevolent dictatorship may be the preferred option for the greatest benefit for the largest number in situations where a country is trying to rise fast from a low base of economic development. This is also further supported by the fate of the so-called “Arab Spring” especially in Libya and Syria where the chaotic outcomes have been disastrous.

The second driver is the easier one to deal with in a defence of democracy. China has never had democracy, and there is little reason to believe that its growing wealth will not push it toward democracy. Tiananmen protests in 1989 indicated this, as does Hong Kong’s relative autonomy (far more than it ever had under British rule), and the various labour disputes that have challenged the Chinese state’s power. For as long as economic prosperity continues to rise so fast for the general population in China, there may not be too much of a challenge to a one-party state, similar to the situation in Saudi Arabia, for example. But as soon as this slows down, China will probably have to reform. In any case, rising wealth will necessarily create competing nodes of power, and these will either have to learn to compete in a democratic fashion, or they will fight each other. For now, the focus of China is on greater economic parity for the inland and western parts of the country, as the coastal populations have so far taken the lion’s share of profits. This also represents a form of greater democracy, albeit on an economic level for now.

However, the manner is which today’s warmongering ‘democracies’ like USA trample on the inalienable rights of people and nations all over the world while ‘communist’ countries like China and Vietnam concentrate on respect for sovereignty and economic relations with other nations instead, encourages a more positive outlook on ‘benevolent dictatorship‘ throughout the world. Conversely, China’s economic success has many in the West scared for their own future in so far as this is seen as ‘dependent’ on the West’s hegemony over the world economy. Some are beginning to question the merits of democracy in the face of a Chinese challenge.

This is compounded by deep corruption in the West’s financial sector, and control over the policy space, mass media and main political parties by major corporations. A lack of accountability by political leaders in these countries has led to a situation where a growing portion of their citizenry has lost faith in their countries’ ‘democratic’ systems, as seen for example by diminishing rates of popular participation in these countries’ elections.

Within this section of the West’s population, some are even losing faith in the ability or competence of their fellow citizens in making the ‘right’ choices in elections. While traditionally it was the extreme right that showed a propensity to support authoritarianism in the West, today some progressive minded people are also ‘hoping’ for a benevolent dictator to save countries like USA from themselves. And some ‘academics’ are writing ‘scientific’ articles in support of this.

But the irony of the situation is that the policy mistakes made in a country like USA over the past few decades have been in the service of interest groups, and in direct opposition to the will of the people. Public opinion in USA, UK and France has consistently been against foreign wars, austerity measures, or the deterioration of social services. The general public has wanted decent incomes for all, corporate power reduced, corrupt bankers and politicians held accountable, and better and more equitable relations with other nations and cultures. Most people support clean energy and less pollution as well as healthcare and education sector reforms that benefit the poor, the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

So it is too little democracy rather than too much of it that has led to disastrous Western policies. It is precisely in the fact that politicians are corrupt and non-responsive to the wishes of the electorate that we can find the reasons for the current debacle. Should there be more democracy in the West, many of the ills of today would be cured. A more people-centred system of governance in these countries would automatically reduce the power of corporations over the media, banks, academia and public policy.

And herein lies the reasons behind such unexpected ‘campaigning’ against ‘big government’. Portraying ‘government’ as the ‘enemy’ of the ‘people’ certainly ensures that the potential power that average citizens could exercise over their own fates can never be realized. Instilling an irrational fear of a foreign ‘enemy’ or ‘terrorist’ also helps the cause of corporate fascism.

So a question arises on the cause of this weakness in Western ‘democracy’. And the answer to this seemingly complex question may be quite simple: The problem is in ‘representation’ itself. Representative democracy is not real democracy. It rather is a form of shirking responsibility, by pushing the difficult decisions onto the shoulders of elected representatives who cannot possibly be expected to take care of the needs of so many constituents.

By placing our trust in elected representatives and allowing them to take decisions on our behalves for the next 4 or 5 years, we are in effect saying that we do not care enough to take charge over matters that affect our lives on a daily basis. We even allow them to declare war on our behalves. By bowing to the power of ‘leaders’ we admit our will to be led by others, even to the limit of life and death decisions. This encourages corruption and throws the elected politicians to the wolves – the 1% who do have the resources and the power to practically own ‘our’ representatives. People who would not hesitate to steal our savings in banks, and to declare war on the world for the sake of greed alone.

Put differently: if all major national and local policies had to be voted on by the general population of a country, no interest group or lobby could have as much control over the wealth or policies of a nation. A president could never start a war on another nation willy-nilly. Extra-judicial killings would be impossible. Corrupt bankers could not get away with murder. Corporations could not rape and pillage the world. People would be earning decent incomes, and they would have free access to healthcare and education, especially in a country as rich as USA.

People would actually see good results from good government by the people and for the people in a system of Direct Democracy.

How power corrupts intellectuals

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I just visited one of my favourite web sites committed to improving US-Iranian relations, and was pleasantly surprised to come across a crucially important topic that is sadly ignored at our collective peril: Intellectuals are largely corrupted by power. Here is a quote from the aforementioned web site:

As Hillary notes in her opening remarks, we are especially grateful to Prof. Chomsky, and not just for appearing with us—though we do thank him for that. More importantly, “We thank him for prodding us…In his famous essay, ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals,’ published in the New York Review of Books forty six years ago, Prof. Chomsky pointed out that ‘when we consider the responsibility of intellectuals, our basic concern must be their role in the creation and analysis of ideology.’ For more than half a century, Prof. Chomsky has been both fearless and, it would seem, tireless in rigorously scrutinizing the claims of intellectuals who, in the service of power, ascribe universal validity to what are, in fact, very particular interests. Above all, he has been unrelenting in his critique of what he sees as the ‘fundamental political axiom’ of American foreign policy—‘namely that the United States has the right to extend its power and control without limit, insofar as is feasible.’”

So why is it that ‘intellectuals’ can be so stupid? I fear the answer is quite simple.

In the first instance, these intellectuals are driven by instinct and self-preservation, just as much as everyone else. For most of us, egos, prestige and financial gain constitute core drivers that can overwhelm or weaken the drive for scientific objectivity and learning.

Secondly, power shapes institutions and their governing rules and procedures. Without a direct challenge, the grasp of power over who gets recognised and rises in academic institutions will increase over time. As corporations get stronger in any economy over time, intellectual objectivity and independence of academic institutions from the interests of the powerful will lessen and weaken. This is particularly true of states where a greater share of the national wealth is diverted toward private corporations and interests as opposed to the public sector, which by definition is more accountable in a democratic or semi-democratic setting.

Thirdly, civilisations go through natural cycles of emergence, convergence and decline. Western civilisation is at the stage of decadence and decline today. Whatever it was that the west contributed to the intellectual history of the world over the past couple of centuries or so, is basically over.

In this context, not much can be expected of Western intellectuals, and US intellectuals in particular. A lot of what passes as intellectual or analytical work is mere propaganda of a particularly vacuous type led by showmen and entertainers within corporate-owned media.

Here and there one comes across US academics and analysts with a genuine moral and intellectual fibre, people like Chomsky, Finkelstein and the Leveretts. Invariably though, such substantive people are marginalised, ignored, or absued within governance systems controlled by private corporations – systems that are best described as ‘corporate fascist states’, like the one in USA.