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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why the right was able to put the country in such deep Kimchee

Someone was asking me about why the Right has been so successful and what we can do to put things right, and that reminded me of some comments I'd heard on the Thom Hartman show. So tonight I'm listening to a "Democracy Now Interview" and they are talking about Caesar Chavez and his mentor, whose mentor had been "Saul Alinsky." So I had my laptop going and I googled "Saul Alinsky" and what do I find, pretty much the Right took their instruction from Saul Alinsky and other leftists. Of course they ignored the chapter about analyzing whether the "end justifies the means" but Glen Beck and other Righties organized the Tea Party as the culmination of organizing based on (and aimed at) the efforts of Union Activists like Ceasar Chavez who'd been trying to do something to help workers. Glen Beck has a book that is a homage to Saul Alinsky;, so they demonize Saul Alinsky and then take pages out of his book. Essentially the modus operandi of the right is to hijack any strategies or rhetoric they can focus group test to work for them.

So the leaders of the far right read Saul Alinsky, love his ideas, and then try to warn folks to not actually read him in his own words because he's "Evil, but brilliant." John Hawkins quotes his ideas and how to "use [them] against "liberals" He's not the first but here's the list he uses:, only he makes it 13 rules and kind of ignores Alinsky's own words to make him a straw devil:
Always remember the first rule of power tactics:
Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.
The second rule is: Never go outside the experience of your people.
…The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.
…the fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
…the fourth rule carries within it the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
…the sixth rule is: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
…the seventh rule is: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
…the eighth rule: Keep the pressure on.
…the ninth rule: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
The tenth rule: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
…The eleventh rule is: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.
…The twelfth rule: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
…The thirteenth rule: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. — Rules for Radicals

He doesn't mention Alinsky's commandment to consider ends versus means, and he doesn't note that the Tea Party considers his book a bible. Wikipedia reports:

"Adam Brandon, a spokesman for the conservative non-profit organization FreedomWorks, one of several groups involved in organizing Tea Party protests, says the group gives Alinsky's Rules for Radicals to its top leadership members. A shortened guide called Rules for Patriots is distributed to its entire network. In a January 2012 story that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, citing the organization's tactic of sending activists to town-hall meetings, Brandon explained, "his [Alinsky's] tactics when it comes to grass-roots organizing are incredibly effective." Former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey also gives copies of Alinsky's book Rules for Radicals to Tea Party leaders."

The Tea Party is really the culmination of a movement that goes way back, but got it's formation in the "Right to Life Movement." Those members read Saul Alinsky. They run for office to offices from Dog Catcher to Party jobs. And they follow Saul Alinsky's advice. When the Republicans organized the Tea Party they were focused on Economic issues. They were using social issues like abortion as a means to get "simple people" to vote against their economic interests. The Right to life Activists were then recruited (With lots of money from a few billionaires) to fight against Barack Obama when he was elected by forming the Tea Party.. So the Tea Party is essentially an anti-Left, anti-Labor, anti-women's rights brand of radicalism. Unfortunately they get their energy from racism, fighting women's rights, and other social issues -- and that irritates their funders whose real concern is effing workers. So when John calls Alinsky "evil" he's really engaging in projectionism.

So to fight the Tea Party and the right's appropriation of Alinsky. The best thing we can do is to read him and adopt his strategies.

Further Reading:


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Horror that lies ahead

She said:

It is already the dark ages my friend.

Just because no one has connected the dots,

Doesn't mean we aren't at the end.

I said:

I believe that our POV influences outcomes so I won't go that far.

Hope may be faint but it makes a guiding star.

It's not the dark ages until someone kills me or I fail completely and pass away.

As long as there is one light in the darkness the dark can be kept at bay.

She said:

and that's how it's done Christopher....

making sure people don't believe the canary in the mine

I said:

I didn't say the canary wasn't dead.

Just that the entrance is up ahead.

And the people I'm leading are my responsibility.

We have to get to the entrance,

so we can be free.

She said:

do you think the peasants knew the horror they would face

when the Roman empire collapsed until the hoards burned their town...

or the priests started burning their midwives

I said:

Some of the peasants in ancient Rome,

saw the horror that lay ahead,

as they marched far from home.

While they were fighting far away,

Hannibal was burning their farms,

and carrying their wives away.

They fought Romes wars,

and came home slaves, broken and alone.

While the men who had sent them away.

Danced and drank in far Pompeii.

And who was worse? Hannibal or their own leaders?

What gained the corrupt senators and tribunes, when Vesuvius entombed them in their homes?

What lesson did they learn when their laziness collapsed the world?

They learned nothing! They brought in lions and circuses instead!

And when the corruption made them sick and their slaves turned to another God,

They became the bishops and convened an authoritarian synod.

They burned their own libraries, and poisoned their own great teachers.

Because it was easier to control the masses if they controlled the preachers!

They learned nothing, and they never will.

And when men invaded, some from far away.

They blamed the "barbarians" and blamed their own peasants.

And they married the barbarians, and played the noble game.

Living in dark and cold castles, and hunting peasants for fun.

Until they realized, if they didn't start learning science.

They would be conquered, by men from the Desert far away.

And sadly:

Power and privilege are like wood alcohol, a blinding swill.

It is on us people around them, to learn the lessons of history.

And stand up and teach them, and enforce the lessons of democracy.

For tyranny and dysfunction, are our greatest teachers.

If we but learn to listen with our inner ear,

and analyze the lessons of all the smoke and tears.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Our Officers earn themselves a "black spot" -- piracy in Business Government

I've been making the case that our inequality problems are political and not purely economic. If we had a system of owner operators then they'd be self governing, but our system is built on banks that rule the money supply, and businesses with partial or complete monopolies over resources or branded products. This system is designed to siphon money off to those who govern wealth, which becomes synonymous with those who own capital.

Paul Krugman weighs into the inequality debate. with his latest editorial in the New York Times:

"A few days ago, The Times published a report on a society that is being undermined by extreme inequality. This society claims to reward the best and brightest regardless of family background. In practice, however, the children of the wealthy benefit from opportunities and connections unavailable to children of the middle and working classes. And it was clear from the article that the gap between the society’s meritocratic ideology and its increasingly oligarchic reality is having a deeply demoralizing effect." [""]

And of course these gaps reflect political power as well a economic power -- and are destructive!

The report illustrated in a nutshell why extreme inequality is destructive, why claims ring hollow that inequality of outcomes doesn’t matter as long as there is equality of opportunity. If the rich are so much richer than the rest that they live in a different social and material universe, that fact in itself makes nonsense of any notion of equal opportunity.

But of course the "equality of opportunity" is false advertising too. Later in the article he notes:

The data in question have been compiled for the past decade by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, who use I.R.S. numbers to estimate the concentration of income in America’s upper strata. According to their estimates, top income shares took a hit during the Great Recession, as things like capital gains and Wall Street bonuses temporarily dried up. But the rich have come roaring back, to such an extent that 95 percent of the gains from economic recovery since 2009 have gone to the famous 1 percent. In fact, more than 60 percent of the gains went to the top 0.1 percent, people with annual incomes of more than $1.9 million.

And this follows on a report that showed that the improvement in GDP over the last 30 years has pretty much all gone to the same people.

Basically, while the great majority of Americans are still living in a depressed economy, the rich have recovered just about all their losses and are powering ahead.

So we have a depression for most people but opportunity for the wealthy.

"An aside: These numbers should (but probably won’t) finally kill claims that rising inequality is all about the highly educated doing better than those with less training. Only a small fraction of college graduates make it into the charmed circle of the 1 percent. Meanwhile, many, even most, highly educated young people are having a very rough time. They have their degrees, often acquired at the cost of heavy debts, but many remain unemployed or underemployed, while many more find that they are employed in jobs that make no use of their expensive educations. The college graduate serving lattes at Starbucks is a cliché, but he reflects a very real situation."

I certainly found that to be the case. One of the smartest men I've known struggled while getting two college degrees and struggled in blue collar work until he finally landed the kind of work equal to his education and became a curator of a small museum.

What’s driving these huge income gains at the top? There’s intense debate on that point, with some economists still claiming that incredibly high incomes reflect comparably incredible contributions to the economy. I guess I’d note that a large proportion of those superhigh incomes come from the financial industry, which is, as you may remember, the industry that taxpayers had to bail out after its looming collapse threatened to take down the whole economy.

Krugman doesn't attack this but my Mathematically Perfected Money friends and folks talking about how capital goods are displacing workers (automation) have an explanation. If a person can only sell his labor at less than it is worth and must borrow to survive then all he can expect to net is a net transfer of his labor earnings to his employers and eventual replacement with automation that also belongs to those same masters. Capitalism is entering an automated stage where it no longer needs us. We are becoming 'superfluous'.

In any case, however, whatever is causing the growing concentration of income at the top, the effect of that concentration is to undermine all the values that define America. Year by year, we’re diverging from our ideals. Inherited privilege is crowding out equality of opportunity; the power of money is crowding out effective democracy.

Money can buy offices, and if not it can buy the officers.

So what can be done? For the moment, the kind of transformation that took place under the New Deal — a transformation that created a middle-class society, not just through government programs, but by greatly increasing workers’ bargaining power — seems politically out of reach. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on smaller steps, initiatives that do at least a bit to level the playing field.

What we are needing is not just income redistribution but a redistribution of common properties that have been usurped. The days when the super rich own oil deposits, own the assets that process the oil, and then make money from the refined product, need to end. The oil in the ground belongs to the commons and the companies need to pay for the privilege of taking out of the ground and compensate those harmed by the removal. Same with Coal and other minerals. We need to put the profits from oil in a National Sovereign fund not the pockets of fat cats.

Take, for example, the proposal by Bill de Blasio, who finished in first place in Tuesday’s Democratic primary and is the probable next mayor of New York, to provide universal prekindergarten education, paid for with a small tax surcharge on those with incomes over $500,000. The usual suspects are, of course, screaming and talking about their hurt feelings; they’ve been doing a lot of that these past few years, even while making out like bandits. But surely this is exactly the sort of thing we should be doing: Taxing the ever-richer rich, at least a bit, to expand opportunity for the children of the less fortunate.

All that is nice, but pinning hopes on education only addresses the openings where education is a premium entry card. But it won't end favoritism, nepotism, or the simple advantages of connections and access do to education and class. We need to enable blue collar people to have a stake in this country and people to own their tools and have a share in business capital.

Some pundits are already suggesting that Mr. de Blasio’s unexpected rise is the leading edge of a new economic populism that will shake up our whole political system. That seems premature, but I hope they’re right. For extreme inequality is still on the rise — and it’s poisoning our society.

Either it will be populism or it will be unrest. Either we'll have a system that is fair to everyone or it will degenerate into some Terminator/Robocop/Caprica future. It's not a new issue. Ellen Brown in the group "Global Research" (which I may or may not agree with otherwise) notes;

"The Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913 in response to a wave of bank crises, which had hit on average every six years over a period of 80 years. The resulting economic depressions triggered a populist movement for monetary reform in the 1890s."

Ellen Brown then notes: "Mary Ellen Lease, an early populist leader, said in a fiery speech that could have been written today:"

"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master. . . . Money rules . . . .Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us. . . ."

Krugman is pointing to a problem he is probably too afraid to take on too directly for fear of retaliation. But the solution is simple:

"We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and we want the power to make loans direct from the government. We want the foreclosure system wiped out."

A "well regulated capitalism can only provide that if there is judicial, legislative and executive direction in the direction of actual justice and equity. But Ellen notes that the Federal Reserve Act was a bait and switch. Instead of holding the giant monopolies and banks accountable it ratified their governance of banking.

"That was what they wanted, but the Federal Reserve Act that they got was not what the populists had fought for, or what their leader William Jennings Bryan thought he was approving when he voted for it in 1913."

And Ellen then notes: "In the stirring speech that won him the Democratic presidential nomination in 1896, Bryan insisted":

"[We] believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government. . . . Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson . . . and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business."

And you hear the same arguments echoed down to the same time, with, as Ellen notes, he answers "with this famous outcry against the restrictive gold standard":"

You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

Nothing has changed except the orders of magnitude of the wealth, and the internationalization of the issue. The privateering of banks in using paper money, and even more perniciously electronic money, to make loans and acquire people's homes, work, tools, and labor at a pittance is a tool with a power greater than a pirate ship's broadside.

Merely getting rid of the reserve won't fix this. But turning the Fed into the agency it should be and sovereign money issued by purchasing assets rather than loaning money would help.

Further Reading:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Can we prevent a Hunger Games future?

I finally went to see "The Hunger Games" part II. My problem in watching it is that I can't help but think this is where our future is headed as a country unless we improve our government and make it more constitutional in spirit as opposed to lip service, and more democratic and locally run. The movie shows the evils of too much centralization and an all powerful bureaucratic police state. At the same time, this episode was a bit more hopeful as it showed the people starting to push back against the lies and deceptions of a media-propaganda based police state. Top down government has inherent evils, and without bottom up structures like representation in the legislature and judiciary, it eventually evolves into something really ugly as is depicted in the books and the movie. If we want a better world we'd best prevent the de-evolution of our country into pure plutocracy. We are already half way there. I've seen the Hollywood types already building games that resemble the Hunger games. And as we see what is happening in Detroit and other cities, it's not implausible. Just under our current system it's likely to be 50 central cities with hunger games going on rather than one nationwide one; maybe with a championship each year with 100 contestants...

Walk on the Darkside, or the light?

Do we walk in the darkness, or in the light?

The human condition is that we are all on a walk. Some of us walk on the darkside and some of us walk where there is light. Those who walk in the dark do so for a lot of reasons: greed, anger, fear, pain.  If they only hurt themselves, they deserve all our love and pity and we ought to help them. But when they hurt others they have to be stopped or taken down politically. When people are walking on the darkside or dancing on the skulls of suffering people we have to love them enough to know them, walk in their shoes, and defeat them.


Anyone who has ever done any hunting or natural observation knows that the best hunters love their enemy so well they can predict their movements. A good hunter loves his target. His empathy and sympathy doesn't translate to sparing it because he knows that it's life is short anyway and that he needs to eat or use it's meat to live. Most natural hunters rationalize this with the notion that the animal will be "Reborn." When one kills an animal in conflict, they consider it a brother and mourn that they have to kill it. Killing is only murder in the state of nature when it is done out of spite, hatred, or is directed at "brother man". In a state of nature survival means making others life go dark so that one can survive. One can mitigate this by living as a vegetarian, but then one either gives one's life to predators or defends from them, so even vegetarians must kill to survive sometimes.


In a state of civilization, as Locke demonstrated in his famous book, we don't live like animals. Killing is never right. Running selfish plots that do in others is always walking the darkside. We have to survive too. That brings us into conflict with one another over resources, but the way we resolve conflict in civilization is to trade things we need for things we don't need. We can afford to gift one another and receive gifts in return. We can either live together for the common weal, or we can come into conflict. A virtuous commonwealth is one run for the common weal. The spirit of "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" can actually be a virtuous thing if it applies to everyone in a settlement or collection of settlements.

Advertizing versus Reality

Thus Locke's translation of "res publica" as "commonwealth was a statement of human dignity that epitomizes the human spirit. One can translate it as a a system run for the "common weal" really easy and he meant it to mean that. The latin just translates as "our thing" or a system run by "representation of the public". He knew however that many would see it as "commonwealth" as in the wealth of the commons, and have no problem with aristocrats owning it. But he made the point that in a state of civilization we trust authorities with power on the assumption that they'll uphold their end of the deal. He also made the case that when they violate that trust they neither deserve God nor the people's trust and no longer should hold those offices. People stand up to be officers advertizing that they will live up to principles such as equal application of the law, justice, equity and upholding the commonwealth. In reality the reality has been different from the advertizing since the first war leaders made themselves kings, then made themselves tyrants and emperors, then rewrote the history books to make themselves saints, or died trying. Advertized attributes like "nobility", justice, honor and courage have been defined as much by their violation as their being upheld. But unless a government is run in the common weal of all it's people, the reality is dark and muddy, not bright, clear and shining.

And in our present day, the same buccaneering spirit that drove the pirates and privateers, warriors and robber barons is still Animate. For some the "commonwealth" is motivated by a pirate spirit where the pirate captains keep firm chains on their pirate crew, and try to keep all the loot for themselves. Conservatism as a virtue is about protecting tradition, rule of law, family values, traditional values, and protecting society from violence and upheaval. Our modern cons aren't conservatives they are buccaneers. All that stuff is advertisement. They are really about protecting the property of the wealthy, dispossessing and looting, and darwinian behavior. They might advertise Christian values but they practice con artist values. Good Christians are manipulated by people who confuse them with issues like "right to life" and fears of homosexuality or brown people by people who know the hunting spirit of the "state of nature" and see them as mere tools to be used in reality. Hypocrisy is a term that doesn't even do the behavior justice. We've got a lot of people who have learned machiavellian and Randian philosophy, but pretend to be whatever they need to pretend to be to get power. They aren't conservatives anymore. Most of them are buccaneers and cons. Some of them are so confused they think that literalist religion and Ayn Randian con behavior go together. They don't.

Fighting the Buccaneer spirit

Buccaneers were often ordinary sea-captains who saw an opportunity and knew nobody was looking. Life at sea was difficult. More the "law of nature" than that of civilization. And men went to sea (mostly men) to make their fortunes and took their chances as much with storms and reefs as with other men. Modern businessmen see themselves pretty much as inheritors of the same tradition. J.P. Morgan is reputed to have flown Henry Morgan's Jolly Roger. Even if he never did, the spirit of the early Capitalist barons was never far from the pirate/privateering tradition of Henry Morgan and our founder Robert Morris. Our business teaches people to sell useless things to people. Many business teachers teach folks that they need to be willing to "sell refrigerators to Eskimos" to be effective. Sales and fraud aren't that far apart. And many modern businessmen all walk close to the border between the light and the dark. Turn your back and they train a broadside on people. Modern businessmen make money by bribing politicians, extorting from other politicians, and using the law to establish privileges and usurp resources they otherwise wouldn't have acquired.

Once we understand the buccaneer spirit which motivates the cons presently we can love them as our brothers and fight them well. Once one understands that much of what we are hearing is deliberate deception we can learn to read between the lines and seek to divine what they are really up to. Like the Commissars of Russia or the folks depicted in 1984 what they say is; often the opposite of their intentions, what they project on others is often reflective of their own intentions, and their promises are only not worthless when one has them by their b****. We can predict their next moves by understanding them. Protect the country from default? Only if that protects their investors. National Security? Only if it protects their wrong-doing from being leaked. "Free Trade" = Freebooting. The pirate captains of the world will get together to organize slavery for everyone but will never get along very long because pirates live to fight. Once you see them for the pirates they are, you understand organizations like "Skulls and Bones" and the people who take those solemn vows. They are our brothers of the coast, but until we can force them to treat us as brothers. They are as likely to give us a broadside as trade with us or do their mission with integrity. And our businesses have reinforced that profit, especially short term, rapacious profit, is the God really worshiped.

So we love them enough to beat them in business. Get laws to break up their monopolies, reclaim the commons they've usurped and looted. Recover their loot, and that give bounties to whistleblowers to rat them out. We laugh when they talk about "death taxes" -- as estate taxes are life for the living and not taxing wealth at death just passes unearned privileges they got from us to the next generation. We need to understand that wealth and privilege are earned -- not gained with a broadside of canon (figuratively mostly). We fight them using the same legal powers and privileges that they use against us. By fighting corruption.

We fight the buccaneer spirit at the expense of getting labeled pirates. We fight for the common weal against pirates who have gotten letters legalizing their buccaneering. They are after profits. If we can convince them that they can make more money by doing the right thing -- maybe they'll do it. But absent that we have to beat on them.

I still believe we can change. Nobody should deserve to be cussed out, attacked or put in jail unless they deserve it individually. But when they are walking on the edge of darkside or dancing on the skulls of suffering people we have to stop them for their own sake and ours.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Why we need a 3000+ county and 100% of towns and cities solution

Labor progressives, Civil Libertarian progressives all need to rally around "good government" progressive efforts. And that starts at the local level. Anyone who pays attention to politics and digs a little, soon finds that even in "liberal" districts with "good" leaders there is a lot of room for process improvement and ethical cleanup. If the Military-Security Industrial complex and Financial monsters dominate at the National level, at the local level their lawyers, investors and developers dominate at local levels. Where-ever there is money to be made developers and corrupt businessmen descend like flies and their maggots test their corrupt chops. The one thing the recent poisoning of West Virginia water supplies, and "Bridgegate" have in common, is local corruption. Bridgegate may be about a high powered lawyer in New Jersey's effort to redevelop his property there. And the company that leaked chemicals poisoning West Virginia Water was formed just before the disaster, filed for bankruptcy, and the "bank" that aided that filing is owned by the same people who owned the now bankrupt company. When Mafia do it it's criminals, when the criminals are corrupt lawyers and insiders it is "getting things done" and perfectly legal. Our country is in trouble.

If we want to clean up politics in this country, we have to start with the local politicians. We either have to put them under a spotlight to keep them honest and push them to always do the right thing, replace them, or find the guts to run against them. Progressives seem oblivious to the corrupt developers, contractors, privateers and thefts going on all around us. What is going on in New Jersey is going on around the country. And what is going on in West Virginia is where the rest of our states are headed if we don't reign in our nascent aristocracy.

It's no accident that some parts of America are poor. There are rich people who use their local power to oppress and steal around the country. They can only be reigned in by local activism and by progressives who care about their local government as much as the Federal Government.

Further reading:

Steve Kornacki's thorough exposition on how the corruption in New Jersey related to Hobocken and "Bridgegate":

Kennedy was in the process of "evolving" on Russia and Cuba:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Enemies and Bureaucracy Intro

People misunderstand the "enemy" because they fail to understand that thinking requires us to differentiate between individual, human, very personal "enemies" who are actors on the stage filling roles; and who can change those roles sometimes. Because they fail to understand that we have many "frenemies" in this world who are unreliable friends, unreliable enemies, and sometimes both; but need to be handled with strategy not naevity or anger.

An example of a "frenemy" are your religious Wahabi Arabs. They have a world model that draws its inspiration from the Caliphs of the 8th century. When you see a man dressing like the Prophet, who has memorized the Koran and Haddith, and who lives by those teachings, you are meeting an actor. He probably thinks he's just a religious muslim, but he's acting out an ideology that follows certain rules and demands certain behaviors. If you don't understand him he might send airliners crashing into towers. And he might do it even if you do understand him if your understanding is delusional.

We do have people in this country who think they understand Al Qaeda, and it didn't stop 9/11/2001 because they either saw the Wahabi as all terrorists or trusted them. We still have people who work with the same people who launched 9/11. We are doing it in Syria. Prince Bandar created Al Qaeda, there is no evidence he ever broke with them. There is no point getting paranoid. That is reality. Prince Bandar was stirring up things a little for his Oily friends every bit as much as he was living out 800 year old fantasies; Frenemies. Prince Bandar threatened the Russians in Sochi through his Chechen Clients. The Russians understand. They put millions of people in uniform to protect the place. It probably won't work perfectly. Al Qaeda was not a non-state actor. It works for the Saudis. The Saudis are our friends. Al Qaeda is our enemy. Same people. Who'd figure? We are allied with the Saudis so if A=B and B=C then we are A=C; allied with Al Qaeda. Some of our CIA is.

Certainly if our politicians were brighter folks like Senator McCain would be more careful about praising Jihadists fighting Assad if he knew they were controlled by the same folks who control Al Qaeda. But we humans aren't that simple or that smart. Two different plays by the same author. What the members of Al Qaeda did was personal. What Bandar is doing is treacherous and personal. What Chris Christie did with "Bridge-gate" is both personal and treacherous, and was essentially an act of war on New York City. But I'm sure he's a "loyal" friend. They are all "loyal" Friends. Like Brutus and Julius Caesar.

But the real enemy is never these individuals. Individuals can be corrupt, deluded, vicious, unreliable, friends one day and launching airplanes at buildings the next. But there are forces too. Forces like inertia, entropy, and human equivalents like greed, anger and bureaucracy. The Human equivalents are driven by human frailties and the way people are organized. One of those "forces" is an age-old set of human structures and organizing principles called "Bureaucracy."

Taming or Fighting Bureaucracy

The right is right to fear "large government" but they are delusional in that they don't identify what they mean. If they had a clear genuine intention to do something about "large government" they'd be pushing for less bureaucracy and more democratic government. But they are only against bureaucracy outside law enforcement and big business so you rarely hear them defining terms or clarifying targets. They know that they use bureaucracy and it's structures just as sharply as the left does. And many righties are themselves bureaucrats.

Bureaucracy has structural attributes: Hierarchy, lists, rules, top down direction, bottom down responsibility that make it an ideal vehicle for armies, police, tax collection, or any kind of administration. Bureaucratic governance is a feature of government, and if you see a bureaucracy anywhere you are seeing a government "not a person", but bureaucracy and it's attributes amplify the power and influence of those at the top of their hierarchy. When the right complains about "big government" they talk about features of bureaucratic government:

  • Laws listed and treated as sacred.
  • Laws interpreted arbitrarily and applied as regulations with no relationship to real world.
  • Officials who follow these "laws" and claim they can't use common sense because of the laws.
  • Common sense treated as corruption depending on who uses it, with those at the top of the hierarchy deciding
  • Those running hierarchies blaming subordinates for their bad decisions or taking credit for the decisions of subordinates
  • Corruption seen as perfectly okay by high status officials near top of hierarchy, who interpret the rules
  • Folks following lists and pursuing organizational objective without any regard to it's impacts on that mission, sometimes long after the organization has lost any resemblance to it's original purpose.

When the right demonize "government programs" they are talking about the particular and peculiar corruptions associated with bureaucratic governance. For example the Byzantines inherited a bureaucratic governance from the Romans that was inherited from Greek Kingdoms who inherited it from the Persians, who inherited it from Babylon! When Byzantium was reduced to one city it had the same bureaucracy and nearly the same numbers as it had had when the city of Constantinople (now Istambul) administered a vast empire. When it fell the Turks and Russians picked up it's bureaucratic organization. Before it fell the Vatican had already copied most of it's features. It influences from the USA to Russia to this day. Other countries have parallel structures and bureaucrats copy each other, but bureaucracy is eternal. There is no getting rid of it completely but it can be reduced from the size of a Brown bear to a Teddy bear with a little reforming. If the Right were talking about turning Brown Bear Bureaucracies to Teddy bear Bureaucracies they'd make sense and people would understand them better.

The way to reduce bureaucracy is by reducing hierarchy, and increasing the power of bottom up representative structures and also raising the accountability of the hierarchs who head bureaucracies. Bureaucrat hierarchs resist both accountability and anything that makes them consult with others and thus reduces their authority, and so there are a million ways that they frustrate or control efforts at reform, but it can be done. Bureaucracy can't be eliminated. Folks pretend to eliminate it all the time, but it doesn't even make sense to try. Al Qaeda is an Arab World that means sort of "the structure." It's a very flat, very loose, and very networked bureaucratic structure. Bureaucracy pops up everywhere, and the biggest bureaucrats are the folks who run giant companies. When we hear righties talking about "reducing government" they aren't talking about reducing bureaucracy, just transferring it's power to their rich patrons.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Letter to my Righty Friends

Hey Guys. It's pretty obvious to me that y'all have been at war with the rest of us for some time. It took a long time for me to figure it out because I'm an American first and thought that everybody in this country, including you guys, believed in Democratic-Republicanism, thought of this country as a commonwealth, and that those who claimed to "believe" in the constitution actually in fact respect and practice it's principles. Boy was I wrong. You guys need to look within the reality of what you are proposing. The only Government small enough to drown in a bathtub are Monarchies. Do you want King Christie, or King Obama, to run everything dictatorial-like? Turns out, Small Government is a bait and switch. What most of us want is participatory democracy, not a King. We want "consent of governed". We want the right to eat, drink, have a roof over the head, and be left free in our homes. And we want that to be a common project not a freebooting operation run by pirate captains who never share their loot. Not all of us of course, but most of us want common sense and pragmatism not any kind of ideology.

We are Giving you the black spot

Most of us believe that politics can be a good thing. It has the virtue of creating win/win policies when pursued virtuously and as an art. You've made politics something vicious. And now you are projecting that viciousness on the people hurt by your tactics and strategy. I'm a white guy, I could go to the darkside and not take it personally, but my minority, women and Gay-Lesbian-Transgender friends won't. And to add insult to injury your recent policies are stripping me and other working white guys of their power too - by destroying jobs and the safety net. Turns out we have common interest with minorities, women and gay-lesbians. Trickle down only seems to be your masters marking their territory. We are losing the middle class and that affects 90% of us. Politics is personal. And when those with power (including money, ownership, and influence) won't play together and share their toys, well the playground stops being a nice place to play. If I'd ever been tempted to be a con before, this great recession (face it it's a great depression) and your nasty policies have made it so it will not happen in my life-time. The New Deal makes a lot more sense when one is unemployed and broke after losing money to the con swindlers. Most of us have come to think of you guys as con artists not conservatives.

Abusive projection

For example, you guys meet in groups like groundswell that seem to be projecting your own behavior when you argue:

"The meeting notes also stated that an "active radical left is dedicated to destroy [sic] those who oppose them" with "vicious and unprecedented tactics. We are in a real war; most conservatives are not prepared to fight."

Now from my POV abusive projection is the order of the day from you guys. You attack gay groups, non-partisan groups registering voters, women and other minorities; and then refers to our efforts to stop them as "vicious and uncontained." You built up ACORN into a demonic thing and then even after it was gone still act like it is still an ongoing conspiracy. You guys have become all the nasty attitudes and tactics you love to go on about. You remind me of the Trotskyite guys I used to debate with back in College. Ends justify means? concern for your brother? Common weal? Forgeddaboutit. These kinds of selfish behavior and abusive projection are symptoms of sociopathy not a movement with integrity.

I'm sure there are folks on the far left who have the same machiavellian/ "ends justify means" approach to politics as the righty folks have. I've met them. There aren't very many. But you folks use any excuse to engage in corrupt fights based on shoddy principles, so it's not progressives who are deliberately stopping traffic on the GW Bridge to get back at "enemies." Just bad politicians and worse operatives. I welcome real conservatives who really are not prepared to fight -- but are prepared to actually discuss issues and resolve them. None of you fit that bill right now. We are resisting you because we don't want to be destroyed, degraded, dispossessed and treated like dirt; not because we hate you guys. We might think most of you are tools unless you've the wealthy and powerful paying and preying on you because it doesn't trickle down, but we don't want a literal war or literal fighting. The ones who get paid may be willing useful tools, like dogs on a dog sled, but the rest of you are being played.

Problem is your movement can't stop with well enough. You and your paid shills in the fake (faux) media, have to hate us, insult us, and then get offended when we get offended. But, we gave you welfare reform. We gave you deregulation. Welfare Reform is something we are all about too. Deregulation let loose an entire cadre of buccaneers and freebooters who swindled everybody worldwide from Ma and Pa with their balloon mortgage to Sovereign funds that bankrupted entire countries [Iceland]. So we have to re-regulate or our economy and politics will collapse. Don't facts sway you? Maybe, but fox makes up it's own. We can agree that this country is in trouble -- yet you make up stuff that doesn't make sense about why. So the swindled are the reason that the economy collapsed? So Wall Street will fix itself if we leave it alone to monopolize, conglomeratize, merge and become more and more a plutocratic government? Doesn't that disturb you?

And the problem isn't conservism it is corruption

When the right cuts off benefits to the poor, the poor don't suddenly find hundreds of dollars in a jar and eat. They can't even grow their own potatoes in most of the country. When you cut WIC, and SNAP, Unemployment and jobs, and then give the proceeds to your wealthy patrons, that isn't conservatism, that is corruption. When we let the powers that be (which include quisling lefties) enable pirates to privateer, loot and steal with impunity, then that is tyranny, oppression and corruption -- not conservatism.

Resisting oppression, repression and usurpation; tyranny.

We are resisting usurpation, oppression and power grabs, not resisting conservative values. But your paranoia is such that when they one of your own bullies someone and get caught on it -- suddenly the cops are the bullies. You are rallying around Chris Christie even as his behavior is on video. You can't lie with records -- that is why so much of his releases so far are so "redacted." This isn't new behavior. I remember Nixon and his tapes. Somehow sociopathic behavior is "hard choices", "realistic" and "getting things done, when done by righties. When Grover only cares about tax cuts on his rich patrons I think most of us should be cluing ourselves. But my righty friends, most of you are not members of the 1% and you should recognize that your party is not right. It's buccaneering. When John Locke defined Tyranny it's core is government for "private, separate advantage." The right pretty much enshrines privateering as a business model. That may not be national tyranny, but it is state tyranny or corporate tyranny.

So what do you do when your "friends" start making economic war on you? You figuratively fight back, you organize, you protest, you try to change minds. Let's keep it a figurative war.

The Right and left thus have all sorts of councils about what to do to win their struggles. Normally it would be a legitimate struggle between rich and poor, employers and employees, senior management and their employees and customers, and advertizing versus reality. And we'd work it out. But you folks don't seem interested in solving common problems more than beating the snot out of invented enemies like myself. You would think we could resolve things under rule of law with negotiation and elections. It's not happening now. It may be normal in the sense of the sad historical mess that is human history but it's not normal in the normative sense. I don't think the majority of people have caught on yet, but those of us who have caught on can see that this is an escalation of politics as usual into increasingly violent politics and incitement. It has to be stopped somehow. Let's try a little ot go from figurative war and partisanship back to debate and figurative partisanship. How about it? Your masters already own most of the country. Do we have to give them everything to satisfy you? Our democratic structure itself is liable to come under assault. Our plutocrats such as the Koch's and their frenemies the Rockefellers and Soros, think they run the world through running US. I think we can do better than that.

Where are the Frederick Douglass Republicans?

I mean I could be swayed by ideas like this:

" "We are failing the propaganda battle with minorities. Terms like, 'GOP,' 'Tea Party,' 'Conservative' communicate 'racism.'" The Groundswellers proposed an alternative: "Fredrick Douglas Republican," a phrase, the memo noted, that "changes minds." (His name is actually spelled "Frederick Douglass.")"

But you know that ever since Nixon (with Haldeman and Erlichman) pursued his southern Strategy y'all been pursuing the "Archie Bunker" strategy of using hate and mysogyny to further a class war against the majority of the people in this country. You will continue to lose (Even if you win) if you continue to see their problems with minorities and woman as mere propaganda battles. It's not the democrats who wanted to force women to have intrusive ultrasounds or who thought it was a good idea to replace Obstetrics and Gynecology Doctors with Uncle Sam. You aren't losing the "messaging war" because you don't package it right, but because the message is ugly. You folks are packaging stinky poisonous tripe in the constitution and then accusing us of subverting it. You folks are attacking progress since the new deal as if having a middle class or well fed and educated workers were something bad. You folks learned all about the tactics and strategies of the far left only to apply the most machiavellian and cynical ones available. You read novels decrying behavior as instructions on how to get your way. I've never seen so many sociopaths in one place as at one of your gatherings.

You can't talk Frederick Douglass while suppressing the vote. I'd really like to see some Frederick Douglas Republicans, but when you get one you run him out of the party like you did your last party chairman. Rancid Previous drummed out your last Frederick Douglass Republican. The conservatives make way for the con artists.

Mafioso Politics is not normal politics.

Chris Christie's assault on Fort Lee is a symptom of a problem that doesn't come from the left. It comes from your own mirrors. Y'all need to actually read the testaments in the bible and stop projecting your hatred and fear on others. I love all you like the brothers and sisters of mine you are. But you truly are becoming a frightening bunch of human beings who think "Tony Soprano" is an ideal behavior model. All we want is a society that looks out for the common weal. For crimminy sakes we are the rubes who bought into ACA because you guys said it might work better than single payer. And we tried your other ideas. They do work -- for your wealthy patrons who paid for them. You don't have a messaging problem. You've got a Rancid message.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Being a little less naive about politics

Strategic Alliances

One thing I've learned since I've had internet email is that friends, frenemies, and allies are sometimes the same people on different issues, and that even a long time friend can sometimes turn out to be a stuffed shirt or a twit. Worse even saintly me can act like a complete twit. Somehow twit and twitter go together. Somehow threads tend to obey certain rules of insanity that lead to observations like "Godwin's law" being almost definitional "happenings" in political threaded discussions. So it's important not to take anyone, not even oneself too seriously based on one encounter. Though one can bet that anything said on the internet even if it is supposed to be totally private and confidential will reach all unintended ears. So relax cautiously. It takes time to figure out if someone is a real serious twit or not. Though not always.

“Thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise.” [Hannah Arendt]

Truthdig Review of Hannah Arendt's last interviews

Review of Truthdig article on Hannah Arent's Final Inteview

Truthdig has a review by Andrew Nagorski of a collection of the final interviews given by Hannah Arendt shortly before she died in 1975.

The review is worth reading, and so is the book of interviews:

Thinking Itself is Such a Dangerous Enterprise

The review is very good and highlights some important details of the background of her last days. She died sort of "in media res" still fighting the battle of clear thinking versus dogma and exploitation, and Nagorski notes that she believed that "critical thought always challenges and undermines established rules and conventional wisdom"

“Thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise.”

Destroying the Legend of the Greatness of Evil

Personally I think her choice of wording might have been better. When she was writing about the "banality of evil" and used the expression; "banality of evil" she wasn't saying that evil wasn't evil. As Nagorski points out, when the nasty folks who'd been the self promoting "master race" faced trial they all were suddenly merely: "obeying orders" -- even the ones who had directed those orders. And when she said “There’s something outrageously stupid about this,” and: “The whole thing is simply comical!” As Nagorski notes "“comical” clearly doesn’t mean ha-ha funny". If you read the transcripts of the Nuremberg trial you'll see the pathetic nasty distusting nature anti-semitism, of hatred and evil itself. and the absolute muddy selfish, greedy, Pathetic nastiness of evil. As she states and Nagorski Highlights in his review:

“One of my main intentions was to destroy the legend of the greatness of evil, of the demonic force,” she told Errera. To that end, she wanted to prove that “if there was anyone who deprived himself of any demonic aura, it was Herr Eichmann.”

Pathetic People not Great People

Not big, giant, mighty demons, just pathetic, sad, sick things. And a continuing battle, as folks doing evil always want to paint themselves as "good people" making the "hard decisions" or even heroic. The word she should have used was "pathetic."

Eichmann and the rest of them were pathetic, not heroic. And their later day imitators are too.

the review:
Book of Interviews at Amazon:

Further Reading

Written 1/10/2014, Added some headers, formating and the following list of links:

Trump's GOP Totalitarian Movement and Totalitarian Propaganda
Hannah Arendt Trump and the Stateless
The Dictator in Front of the Mob
Hannah Arendt on Donald Trump's Mob
Our Democratic Movement is not Totalitarian
The Power of Doublespeak
Being a Little Less Naive about Politics
Authoritarians and Totalitarians, Altemeyer & Arendt
EMAD Trump
Subsidiarity and Fascism

Thursday, January 9, 2014

We Gonna Maka U an Offa U can't refuz

Chris Christie shows that he's what he is.

I can see why some folks love him. He's a real life Tony Soprano -- or maybe Archie Bunker runs for Governor (except Archie Bunker was depicted as having actually fought in a war) -- and everyone loves the Uncle who's a bully but not to "me." But he's a bully. Recently I made a joking poem that compared most of the Republican party to an Army of Grinches, but Chris Christie isn't a Grinch, he's an old fashioned troll. The first thing he did as Governor was to turn down a Federal project that would have benefited both New Jersey and New York, and was going to cost next to nothing for New Jersey because the Feds were going to fund part of it. He nixed it. The man has a thing about bridges. He demands a toll or nobody can cross them. 3 Days for a "study" that it turns out was just intended to punish a Democrat who dared to support a Democrat for Governor. Real Piece of work. He messes with people all around New York City when he blocks traffic, and he knows it. He's a troll. What need I say? He says that he was betrayed by his staff. And who knows maybe they'll take the "fall for the Gipper." Grinches love their trolls and figureheads. A lot of scoundrels took a fall for the Reagan-Troll. Maybe he really didn't know. Wink. Wink. Moderate??? Wink, Wink. He's a con and we should stop letting ourselves be conned. This man is no moderate but he knows how to con us into thinking that bullying is conservative.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Freebooters Stealing homes

I've talked a little of the financial crisis brought on by the freebooting behavior of pretty much all our banks. The writers Ravi Batra, coming from the left; and Kevin Phillips coming from the right and also from a historical view, both predicted the entire mess. And I've noticed that the frauds and swindles in this swindle bubble housing market have followed three stages:

1. In the first banks learned to securitize loans and resell them to investors. And they found they could make money from those sales up front. They didn't have to wait for folks to pay their monthly mortgage, they could turn them into securities. This led to what might have been a normal housing expansion as housing prices tracked locational prosperity or simple inflation being turned into a bubble as folks were encouraged to leverage purchases of homes on the expectation of selling those homes later, and the banks no longer worried about making money downstream, they could sell derivative contracts instead.

2. But then they began creating derivative contracts in a fraudulent manner, selling mortgages in a fraudulent manner, and leveraging their loans with additional derivative contracts. To the point where they often can't prove who owns the underlying loan and that made a second phase of fraud. They started preparing to pawn off the risk on their investors and home-buyers. Eventually their frauds collapsed, the companies that had been the fronts for these operations were "wound up" by the FDIC, but the banks were deemed "too big to fail" and no one frog-marched there. So there was a huge sucking sound as money was sucked out of intact businesses, workers -- and home owners.

3. This led to the third phase of the swindle when they started fraudulently foreclosing on mortgages they didn't own anymore -- because they'd already sold them several times. They did this by arbitrarily raising interest rates on variable mortgages, and by victimizing people who lost jobs due to their original perfidy.

The blog "Deadly Clear" goes into detail on this, and I'll be partially quoting:

In most cases they could rely on judges who didn't care if they still owned the note. As the author of a blog that explains this in much more detail than I care to go into writes:

When all is said and done the courts come back to the main premise, “Did you pay?”. That is so injudicious on so many levels. The deeper we get into securitization and contract law we soon realize (after dissection) there is one very basic question being ignored – “Is the Promissory Note even enforceable?”

Now since there is so much corruption in our courts a lot of courts are going to ignore this question. So if I owed a mortgage I'd feel safer just paying the darn thing off, but there are people who get into trouble because of bank fraud who are accused of being late or not paying when they in fact are, so if someone is in trouble with a loan it is worth fighting this.

Non-traditional mortgages and sub-prime mortgages are the culprits here. In many cases people were sold them fraudulently from the beginning, but even if they knew what they were getting into, most were lied to about Non Traditional Mortgages (I was sold one and they lied to me and it took me a few months to figure it out and I can be an idiot but fortunately i caught it early enough and had the resources to get out of it. But it turns out that many of these loans were illegally done in the first place.

Anyway the frauds were sloppy and so some folks in trouble may be able to prove that the banks have no business foreclosing on their home anyway. For more read:
Also read these:
More on Ravi Batra:
Amazon: []
More on Kevin Phillips:
Amazon Profile and list of books: []
Democracy Now Interview:
A Good Year for Revolution []
Review of "American Theocracy:"

Unfortunately the Judges must be honest enough to go along with the law for that to work.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Icebreakers stuck under the Polar skies

First there was one boat stuck in the ice,
Down in the antipodes, very cold but nice.
Then came an icebreaker, chopped through the cold
Came close to rescue them, to save them from the ice.
The Icebreaker got stuck, as it chugged and tugged.
Then there were two boats, stuck in the ice.
The two boats put out a call; "We are stuck in the ice"
So along came a third Icebreaker, to break through the Ice.
The icebreaker got stuck in the frozen seas before they got too far.
Now there were three boats stuck, under the Southern Cross stars.
So they sent along a fourth boat, "we'll give it one more try.
Next thing you know there were four boats stuck, under the wintry skies.

Rights come from below: John Locke's exegesis and what it tells us.

Arguing Against the Divine Right of Kings

Anyone whose actually read John Locke's argument against "the divine right of Kings" knows that it was founded on a profound exegesis taken from the bible as well as reason. In those days the notion that there even should be a conflict between reason and biblical study was foreign -- as long as boundaries were respected. What some histories don't show is that John Locke published his book post-humously, that he lived his final days in exile, and that he was taking his life in hand to write that book. Folks like to portray the Glorious revolution as bloodless, but it wasn't.

Rooted in British Resilience

And his exegesis draws more from the long resistance of common folks to oppression in Britain as it does to anything from classical literature. It draws from the protestant movement as much as it does from the revival of "the enlightenment" and that movement owes its birth to common folks long before Martin Luther or Calvin, when the bible was translated into common languages and read by common people and painfully transcribed by scribes so that people could own a copy that would be a family heirloom. The elites of the church discouraged most common folks from reading the bible, but they couldn't completely suppress it anywhere and their ideas were championed by folks such as John Wycliff (1320-1384) who created the movement that eventually evolved into Protestantism;.... And folks like Watt Tyler (died 15 June 1381), who had the presumption to resist the Monarchy, [Peasants Revolt]. That this story is still seminal to modern issues is illuminated by the vast discrepancy between popular and historical accounts and official ones (compare the Wikpedia article on Watt Tyler to the version in ). To this day there are people who would build up Richard the II and defame the peasants who revolted -- and are passionate enough about it to continually rewrite Wikipedia articles.

The exegesis of the Peasant Revolt is similar to that of John Locke. The medieval historian Sir Richard Froissart explains the feelings of the peasants:

"The evil-disposed in these districts began to rise, saying, they were too severely oppressed; that at the beginning of the world there were no slaves, and that no one ought to be treated as such, unless he had committed treason against his lord, as Lucifer had done against God; but they had done no such thing, for they were neither angels nor spirits, but men formed after the same likeness with their lords, who treated them as beasts. This they would not longer bear, but had determined to be free, and if they labored or did any other works for their lords, they would be paid for it."

The Commons Started with Commoners

The author of the article writes:

"The peasants had not formed a revolutionary doctrine, only the ideas of freedom, respect, and fairness in their attempts to support themselves."

But the truth is the notion that peasants are not dogs and are equal to noblemen and other aristocrats is indeed revolutionary. And John Locke's two treatises pick up on the argument. She also notes:

"To them it would have appeared almost as incredible for the animal-people to turn on their masters as it would be for us to conceive our dogs banding together and hunting us down in packs. One dog might prove rebellious but we would never expect all the rebellious dogs to unite with horses and other beasts, as we are their divinely appointed masters."

Peasant Underground

But the Peasants of Wycliff and Watt read the bible and were quietly the equals of anyone. They shared jokes about the wealthy and expressed them in short poems, which were basically the tweets of the day. Some of which found their way into common literature. John Ball, who was a priest at the peasant revolt is said to have said:

"When Adam delved and Eve span,[a] Who was then the gentleman?[3] From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty" [John_Ball_(priest)]

Rooting Intellectual Arguments in Popular Common Sense

More than a century later John Locke picks up this exegesis in his Two Treatises on Government. Locke's exegesis is powerful because he goes at it from both positive proofs and refutations. His opening comments on the subject directly descend from John Ball. He was arguing against the fallacies of one Sir Robert Filmer, who had passed away before he began writing. I introduces the notions of primogeniture and 'divine right' in his own exegesis beginning in verse §95:

"§95. If God, by his positive grant and revealed declaration, first gave rule and dominion to any man, he that will claim by that title, must have the same positive grant of God for his succession: for if that has not directed the course of its descent and conveyance down to others, nobody can succeed to this title of the first ruler. Children have no right of inheritance to this, and primogeniture can lay no claim to it, unless God, the Author of this constitution, hath so ordained it. Thus we see the pretensions of Saul’s family, who received his crown from the immediate appointment of God, ended with his reign; and David, by the same title that Saul reigned, viz., God’s appointment, succeeded in his throne, to the exclusion of Jonathan, and all pretensions of paternal inheritance: and if Solomon had a right to succeed his father, it must be by some other title than that of primogeniture."
Two Treatises on Government §95.

Filmer as a Strawman for Hobbes

It was simple for John Locke to write his book as a refutation of the vanities of Sir Robert Filmer who was asserting a divine and patrilineal right to succession of English Kings. He was following on the arguments introduced by Wycliff, John Ball, and the common peasantry of England, and adding to them from his knowledge of Greek, Roman and modern historical narrative. The common folks had a vision of liberty that applies to everyone, while the vision of the noble only applies to "everyone" theoretically and under conditions of complete anarchy and "the state of nature". These universal notions of freedom and opportunity were invisible to the nobles, if not seen as a threat to their power and privilege, but not to many of the common people, who rejected the notion that they were mere "dogs." And of course there are shills among the intelligencia who dream of being among the nobility who will [to this day] argue for this. Locke risked his life to argue differently. Some people lump Locke with Hobbes, but they were on opposite sides. Locke however argued with John Filmer because he could refer to his book.

Using Exegesis

And he uses many forms of argumentation, and examples he then comes back to the subject on page 101 verse 161:

“....Saul, the first king God gave the Israelites, was of the tribe of Benjamin. Was the “ancient and prime right of lineal succession re-established” in him? The next was David, the youngest son of Jesse, of the posterity of Judah, Jacob’s third son. Was the “ancient and prime right of lineal succession to paternal government reestablished in him?” or in Solomon, his younger son and successor in the throne? or in Jeroboam over the ten tribes? or in Athaliah, a woman who reigned six years, an utter stranger to the royal blood?”
Two Treatises on Government §161 page 101.

Unraveling Dogma

The bible is not a good source for notions of hereditary nobility outside the creation of a class of slaves to God; the Levites and Cohain and repeated promises in the "haftorah" to the line of David. But reading Samuel, and considering that God first picks Saul, then David, then strips David of the Northern Kingdom, tells us that nobility as defined in scripture is provisional on the person keeping the trust of both God and the people he is supposed to lead. And almost none of them are elder sons and some of them, like King David, started as sheep-herders.

“If the ancient and prime right of lineal succession to paternal government were re-established” in any of these or their posterity, “the ancient and prime right of lineal succession to paternal government” belongs to younger brothers as well as elder, and may be re-established in any man living: for whatever younger brothers, “by ancient and prime right of lineal succession,” may have as well as the elder, that every man living may have a right to by lineal succession, and Sir Robert as well as any other. And so what a brave right of lineal succession to his paternal or regal government our author has re-established, for the securing the rights and inheritance of crowns, where every one may have it, let the world consider.”
Two Treatises on Government §161 page 101.

The Shaky Foundation of Monarchal Exegesis

If nobility is to be established on the Bible, then that is a shaky foundation if anyone actually reads it. But Locke is frying more fish than simple patrilineal authority. He's after the whole notion of hereditary aristocracy, the idea that someone by mere inheritance has the right to rule others or control and exercise great wealth and power unchecked. But that was what Sir Robert Filmer's argument was; that patriarchy and patrilineal succession are established and sanctioned by God. Locke pretty much refutes this by the end of Chapter VII of Book 1.

Drawing on Greek and Roman Sources

But he continues the discussion in book II Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government, Chapter 1. He first discusses Greek and Roman history and how it supports notions of commonwealth and common-weal. He does this argumentation in the context of an argument between the state of humans in a "state of nature" and how governments emerge out of that state of nature.

"95. Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and indepen- dent, no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent, which is done by agreeing with other men, to join and unite into a community for their comfort- able, safe, and peaceable living, one amongst another, in a secure enjoy- ment of their properties, and a greater security against any that are not of it. This any number of men may do, because it injures not the free- dom of the rest; they are left, as they were, in the liberty of the state of Nature. When any number of men have so consented to make one com- munity or government, they are thereby presently incorporated, and make one body politic, wherein the majority have a right to act and conclude the rest...."
Line 95 of Book II

Kings as War-Heroes

He makes the case for how men bond together to form communities out of the "state of nature" deals with the theoretical exceptions, that early kings mostly got their authority from their prowess as leaders and generals; and then he turns back to the bible, noting that the role for both judges and the early kings was that of a General and War-leader:

109. “And thus, in Israel itself, the chief business of their judges and first kings seems to have been to be captains in war and leaders of their armies, which (besides what is signified by “going out and in before the people,” which was, to march forth to war and home again at the heads of their forces) appears plainly in the story of Jephtha. The Ammonites making war upon Israel, the Gileadites, in fear, send to Jephtha, a bastard of their family, whom they had cast off, and article with him, if he will assist them against the Ammonites, to make him their ruler, which they do in these words: “And the people made him head and captain over them” (Judges 11. 11), which was, as it seems, all one as to be judge. “And he judged Israel” (Judges 12. 7)—that is, was their captain-general- “six years....”

Kingship related to Virtue and Works, not heredity

And he continues pointing out example after example, he notes that:

"...And therefore those who, after Saul being solemnly chosen and saluted king by the tribes at Mispah, were unwill- ing to have him their king, make no other objection but this, “How shall this man save us?” (ch. 10. 27), as if they should have said: “This man is unfit to be our king, not having skill and conduct enough in war to be able to defend us.” And when God resolved to transfer the government to David, it is in these words: “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His people” (ch. 13. 14.)." [Verse 109]

And concludes:

"As if the whole kingly authority were nothing else but to be their general; and therefore the tribes who had stuck to Saul’s family, and opposed David’s reign, when they came to Hebron with terms of submission to him, they tell him, amongst other arguments, they had to submit to him as to their king, that he was, in effect, their king in Saul’s time, and therefore they had no reason but to receive him as their king now. “Also,” say they, “in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel, and the Lord said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel.”[Also verse 109]

He notes that kingdoms existed by necessity. Generals are born from the need for good strategy and a central figure to coordinate things. But this is a gift, an exchange, given by necessity, not heredity:

"110. Thus, whether a family, by degrees, grew up into a commonwealth, and the fatherly authority being continued on to the elder son, every one in his turn growing up under it tacitly submitted to it, and the easiness and equality of it not offending any one, every one acquiesced till time seemed to have confirmed it and settled a right of succession by prescription; or whether several families, or the descendants of several families, whom chance, neighbourhood, or business brought together, united into society; the need of a general whose conduct might defend them against their enemies in war, and the great confidence the innocence and sincerity of that poor but virtuous age, such as are almost all those which begin governments that ever come to last in the world, gave men one of another, made the first beginners of commonwealths generally put the rule into one man’s hand, without any other express limitation or restraint but what the nature of the thing and the end of government required."

But even this is:

..."was given them for the public good and safety, and to those ends, in the infancies of commonwealths, they commonly used it; and unless they had done so, young societies could not have subsisted. Without such nursing fathers, without this care of the governors, all governments would have sunk under the weakness and infirmities of their infancy, the prince and the people had soon perished together."

Refuting Patriarchy and Hereditary Nobility

In this passage John Locke both concedes and refutes a central point of Patriarchy. Yes, we need executives, but these executives hold their jobs based on trust and virtue, not hereditary or arbitrary decisions from on high. He points out that the Kings portrayed in the Bible have their jobs by trust from men and God. And he concludes:

"Yet, when ambition and luxury, in future ages, would retain and increase the power, without doing the business for which it was given, and aided by flattery, taught princes to have distinct and separate interests from their people, men found it necessary to examine more carefully the original and rights of government, and to find out ways to restrain the exorbitances and prevent the abuses of that power, which they having entrusted in another’s hands, only for their own good, they found was made use of to hurt them."

If leaders have their positions from trust, then they hold them based on trust, and when they lose that trust they lose the right to be leaders. When they are excellent at what they are supposed to do they are virtuous leaders, when they no longer fulfil that trust they are neither virtuous, legitimate, nor can they claim God's support. That John Locke felt similar is shown in his concluding statements:

242. "If a controversy arise betwixt a prince and some of the people in a matter where the law is silent or doubtful, and the thing be of great consequence, I should think the proper umpire in such a case should be the body of the people. For in such cases where the prince hath a trust reposed in him, and is dispensed from the common, ordinary rules of the law, there, if any men find themselves aggrieved, and think the prince acts contrary to, or beyond that trust, who so proper to judge as the body of the people (who at first lodged that trust in him) how far they meant it should extend? But if the prince, or whoever they be in the administration, decline that way of determination, the appeal then lies nowhere but to Heaven. Force between either persons who have no known superior on earth or, which permits no appeal to a judge on earth, being properly a state of war, wherein the appeal lies only to heaven; and in that state the injured party must judge for himself when he will think fit to make use of that appeal and put himself upon it. "

And he concludes his work:

"243. To conclude. The power that every individual gave the society when he entered into it can never revert to the individuals again, as long as the society lasts, but will always remain in the community; because without this there can be no community—no commonwealth, which is contrary to the original agreement;" [Verse: 243]

He was referring specifically to the Legislature, but generally to all officers of the government.


I've written on this before, but I needed to write it down again, focusing on this piece, both to explicitly explain it and so I don't have to explain it over and over again. A friend pointed to the Peasants revolt to me more than a year ago and I didn't understand what she meant since they all were betrayed and murdered by the King in a betrayal that would do justice to the Wedding in "Game of Thrones". I continually refer to this subject so I wanted to write on it somewhere where I can quote myself. Locke's thesis should be a tautology, but the far right and it's patron aristocrats have their hands everywhere rewriting narratives in order to rebrand people who criticized them as their supporters and hijack their names to advance concepts that the authors would have opposed.