Democratic Socialism Quotes

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The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
Edward L. Bernays (Propaganda)
I am, at the Fed level, libertarian; at the state level, Republican; at the local level, Democrat; and at the family and friends level, a socialist. If that saying doesn’t convince you of the fatuousness of left vs. right labels, nothing will.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Skin in the game)
If there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically. A government so perfect is not suited to men.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract)
A system is corrupt when it is strictly profit-driven, not driven to serve the best interests of its people.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change.
Brian Solis (Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web)
Our freedoms are vanishing. If you do not get active to take a stand now against all that is wrong while we still can, then maybe one of your children may elect to do so in the future, when it will be far more riskier — and much, much harder.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Civil disobedience, as I put it to the audience, was not the problem, despite the warnings of some that it threatened social stability, that it led to anarchy. The greatest danger, I argued, was civil obedience, the submission of individual conscience to governmental authority. Such obedience led to the horrors we saw in totalitarian states, and in liberal states it led to the public's acceptance of war whenever the so-called democratic government decided on it... In such a world, the rule of law maintains things as they are. Therefore, to begin the process of change, to stop a war, to establish justice, it may be necessary to break the law, to commit acts of civil disobedience, as Southern black did, as antiwar protesters did.
Howard Zinn (You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times)
Discourse and critical thinking are essential tools when it comes to securing progress in a democratic society. But in the end, unity and engaged participation are what make it happen.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
It’s great to live free of the other sheep until you hear the wolves howl.
Max Brooks (Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre)
The job facing American voters… in the days and years to come is to determine which hearts, minds and souls command those qualities best suited to unify a country rather than further divide it, to heal the wounds of a nation as opposed to aggravate its injuries, and to secure for the next generation a legacy of choices based on informed awareness rather than one of reactions based on unknowing fear.
Aberjhani (Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume I.)
It is above all in the present democratic age that the true friends of liberty and human grandeur must remain constantly vigilant and ready to prevent the social power from lightly sacrificing the particular rights of a few individuals to the general execution of its designs. In such times there is no citizen so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, and there are no individual rights so unimportant that they can be sacrificed to arbitrariness with impunity.
Alexis de Tocqueville
People and institutions that refuse to admit error eventually discredit themselves.
Jeffrey Tucker
The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau.
Ludwig von Mises (Bureaucracy)
Within the reigning social order, the general public must remain an object of manipulation, not a participant in thought, debate, and decision.
Noam Chomsky (Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies)
The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything.
Charles Moore
Don't get politics mixed up in this. It's all about money and it makes no difference if the Social Democrats or the moderates appoint the ministers
Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1))
Like King, we need to put on our cemetery clothes and be coffin-ready for the next great democratic battle.
Cornel West
To be a jazz freedom fighter is to attempt to galvanize and energize world-weary people into forms of organization with accountable leadership that promote critical exchange and broad reflection. The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist in a jazz quartet, quintet or band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase the creative tension with the group--a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project. This kind of critical and democratic sensibility flies in the face of any policing of borders and boundaries of "blackness", "maleness", "femaleness", or "whiteness".
Cornel West (Race Matters)
And then I understood that the answer is yes, yes yes: I care because I want you to care about me. I care because I have become aware of my absolute dependency upon you, whoever you are, for the outcome of my social, my democratic experience.
June Jordan (Some of Us Did Not Die: New and Selected Essays)
Democratic Socialism devolves into totalitarian Socialism and eventually into full on Communism as people resist statism.
A.E. Samaan
There is only one hope for mankind - and that is democratic socialism. There is only one party in Great Britain which can do it - and that is the Labour Party.
Aneurin Bevan
The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man. Let me explain what I mean by the white liberal. In America there is no such thing as Democrat or Republican anymore. In America you have liberals and conservatives. The only people living in the past who think in terms of I’m a Democrat or Republican, is the American Negro. He’s the one that runs around bragging about party affiliation. He’s the one that sticks to the Democrat or sticks to the Republican. But white people are divided into two groups, liberals and conservative. The Democrats who are conservative, vote with the Republicans who are conservative. The Democrats who are liberal vote with the Republicans that are liberal. The white liberal aren’t white people who are for independence, who are moral and ethical in their thinking. They are just a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. The same as the white conservative is a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. They are fighting each other for power and prestige, and the one that is the football in the game is the Negro, 20 million black people. A political football, a political pawn, an economic football, and economic pawn. A social football, a social pawn. The liberal elements of whites are those who have perfected the art of selling themselves to the Negro as a friend of the Negro. Getting sympathy of the Negro, getting the allegiance of the Negro, and getting the mind of the Negro. Then the Negro sides with the white liberal, and the white liberal use the Negro against the white conservative. So that anything that the Negro does is never for his own good, never for his own advancement, never for his own progress, he’s only a pawn in the hands of the white liberal. The worst enemy that the Negro have is this white man that runs around here drooling at the mouth professing to love Negros, and calling himself a liberal, and it is following these white liberals that has perpetuated problems that Negros have. If the Negro wasn’t taken, tricked, or deceived by the white liberal then Negros would get together and solve our own problems. I only cite these things to show you that in America the history of the white liberal has been nothing but a series of trickery designed to make Negros think that the white liberal was going to solve our problems. Our problems will never be solved by the white man. The only way that our problem will be solved is when the black man wakes up, clean himself up, stand on his own feet and stop begging the white man, and take immediate steps to do for ourselves the things that we have been waiting on the white man to do for us. Once we do for self then we will be able to solve our own problems’ "The white conservatives aren't friends of the Negro either, but they at least don't try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the "smiling" fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.
Malcolm X
All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.
Alexis de Tocqueville
I saw America's economy last night, people raiding dumpsters at a higher rate than normal in my home town. Digging through garbage shouldn't be a career. Thanks Democrats. Thanks Republicans.
Carroll Bryant
I think these younger Christians are the vanguard of some major new religious, social, and political arrangements that could make the older form of culture wars obsolete. After they wrestle with doubts and objections to Christianity many come out on the other side with an orthodox faith that doesn't fit the current categories of liberal Democrat or conservative Republican.
Timothy J. Keller
We (libertarians) find just as many things to rip on the left as we do on the right. People on the far-left and the far-right are the same exact person to us.
Trey Parker
In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies - the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions. In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were "solemn and rare," there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment - from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In "Brave New World" non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly "not of this world." Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx's phrase "the opium of the people" and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
Televangelists preach a corrupted perversion of Christ's socialist teachings. Prosperity gospel is predatory capitalism masquerading as religion.
Oliver Markus Malloy (American Fascism: A German Writer's Urgent Warning To America)
The purpose of a democratic government is to protect the poor from the rich. The purpose of religion is to protect the rich from the poor.
Oliver Markus Malloy (How to Defeat the Trump Cult: Want to Save Democracy? Share This Book)
It is a fact that any rich man, unless he is a Jew, has less to fear from Fascism than from either Communism or democratic Socialism.
George Orwell (Why I Write)
Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it. It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's aesthetic and intellectual integrity.
George Orwell (Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays)
There are growing domestic social and economic problems, in fact, maybe catastrophes. Nobody in power has any intention of doing anything about them. If you look at the domestic programs of the administrations of the past ten years-I include here the Democratic opposition-there's really no serious proposal about what to do about the severe problems of health, education, homelessness, joblessness, crime, soaring criminal populations, jails, deterioration in the inner cities - the whole raft of problems... In such circumstances you've got to divert the bewildered herd, because if they start noticing this they may not like it, since they're the ones suffering from it. Just having them watch the Superbowl and the sitcoms may not be enough. You have to whip them up into fear of enemies. In the 1930s Hitler whipped them into fear of the Jews and gypsies. You had to crush them to defend yourselves. We have our ways, too. Over the last ten years, every year ot two, some major monster is constructed that we have to defend ourselves against.
Noam Chomsky (Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda)
By far the most significant consequence of "selfish capitalism" (Thatch/Blatcherism) has been a startling increase in the incidence of mental illness in both children and adults since the 1970s.
Oliver James
Voting, the be all and end all of modern democratic politicians, has become a farce, if indeed it was ever anything else. By voting, the people decide only which of the oligarchs preselected for them as viable candidates will wield the whip used to flog them and will command the legion of willing accomplices and anointed lickspittles who perpetrate the countless violations of the people’s natural rights. Meanwhile, the masters soothe the masses by assuring them night and day that they — the plundered and bullied multitudes who compose the electorate — are themselves the government.
Robert Higgs
As in the political sphere, the child is taught that he is free, a democrat, with a free will and a free mind, lives in a free country, makes his own decisions. At the same time he is a prisoner of the assumptions and dogmas of his time, which he does not question, because he has never been told they exist. By the time a young person has reached the age when he has to choose (we still take it for granted that a choice is inevitable) between the arts and the sciences, he often chooses the arts because he feels that here is humanity, freedom, choice. He does not know that he is already moulded by a system: he does not know that the choice itself is the result of a false dichotomy rooted in the heart of our culture. Those who do sense this, and who don't wish to subject themselves to further moulding, tend to leave, in a half-unconscious, instinctive attempt to find work where they won't be divided against themselves. With all our institutions, from the police force to academia, from medicine to politics, we give little attention to the people who leave—that process of elimination that goes on all the time and which excludes, very early, those likely to be original and reforming, leaving those attracted to a thing because that is what they are already like. A young policeman leaves the Force saying he doesn't like what he has to do. A young teacher leaves teaching, here idealism snubbed. This social mechanism goes almost unnoticed—yet it is as powerful as any in keeping our institutions rigid and oppressive.
Doris Lessing
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
Once I had asked, ‘But are you a Democrat or a Republican?” and Jonathan said, “I’m socially progressive but fiscally conservative,” and Doug Miles, a football player who also came to Sunday breakfast but only ever read the sports section and ignored everyone, lifted his head and said, “Is that like being bisexual?” Which I actually thought was funny, even though I was pretty sure Doug was a jerk.
Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep)
Higher taxes to bring down public debt would also put to rest the tawdry rhetoric according to which ‘we’ should not live at the expense of ‘our children’ – when the real problem is that the ‘better-off’ live at everyone else’s expense by largely avoiding the social costs involved in the upkeep of their hunting grounds.
Wolfgang Streeck (Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism)
In the moral realm, there is very little consensus left in Western countries over the proper basis of moral behavior. And because of the power of the media, for millions of men and women the only venue where moral questions are discussed and weighed is the talk show, where more often than not the primary aim is to entertain, even shock, not to think. When Geraldo and Oprah become the arbiters of public morality, when the opinion of the latest media personality is sought on everything from abortion to transvestites, when banality is mistaken for profundity because [it's] uttered by a movie star or a basketball player, it is not surprising that there is less thought than hype. Oprah shapes more of the nation's grasp of right and wrong than most of the pulpits in the land. Personal and social ethics have been removed from the realms of truth and structures of thoughts; they have not only been relativized, but they have been democratized and trivialized.
D.A. Carson (The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism)
Captured by the ideological animus, both socialist and liberal-democratic art abandoned the criterion of beauty - considered anachronistic and of dubious political value - and replaced it with the criterion of correctness.
Ryszard Legutko (Triumf człowieka pospolitego)
Today's Republican Party...is an insurgent outlier. It has become ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition, all but declaring war on the government. The Democratic Party, while no paragon of civic virtue, is more ideologically centered and diverse, protective of the government's role as it developed over the course of the last century, open to incremental changes in policy fashioned through bargaining with the Republicans, and less disposed to or adept at take-no-prisoners conflict between the parties. This asymmetry between the parties, which journalists and scholars often brush aside or whitewash in a quest for "balance," constitutes a huge obstacle to effective governance.
Thomas E. Mann (It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the Politics of Extremism)
For 70 years Democrats bitterly denied being "socialists". Bernie Sanders has done the service of exposing them.
A.E. Samaan
Socialism is socialism. Government run enterprises are just as inept under democratic governments as they are under autocratic governments.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo (The Problem with Socialism)
All Socialism is Democratic Socialism. Socialist nations take away civil liberties by referendum.
A.E. Samaan
And every historic effort to forge a democratic project has been undermined by two fundamental realities: poverty and paranoia. The persistence of poverty generates levels of despair that deepen social conflict the escalation of paranoia produces levels of distrust that reinforce cultural division. Rae is the most explosive issue in American life precisely because it forces us to confront the tragic facts of poverty and paranoia despair, and distrust. In short, a candid examination of race matters takes us to the core of the crisis of American democracy (p. 107).
Cornel West (Race Matters)
It suffices here to say that the planned economy which the advocates of dictatorship wish to set up is precisely as socialistic as the Socialism propagated by the self-styled Social Democrats.
Ludwig von Mises (Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis)
The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany: 'Traditional values are to be debunked' and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it.
C.S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man)
The central planners of Democratic Socialism tighten their noose when people resist their plans and assert their rights. All Socialism is intended to devolve into Communism, and as a result, Totalitarianism.
A.E. Samaan
The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of régime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way.
George Orwell (Politics and the English Language)
We seek in one another the assurance that there is just one correct interpretation of the world, that everything is so simple that anybody can see it unless they're malicious or stupid or willfully ignorant; and we punish one another for proving with our differing conclusions that the truth is not that easy. We think we must suppress dissension to present the unified front we need to gain power over our enemies. But there are pro-life Democrats, pro-choice Christians, feminists who love their families, and conservatives who care about poor people.
Alisa Harris (Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics)
Ideologies aren't all that important. What's important is psychology. The Democratic constituency is just like a herd of cows. All you have to do is lay out enough silage and they come running. That's why I became an operative working with Democrats. With Democrats all you have to do is make a lot of noise, lay out the hay, and be ready to use the ole cattle prod in case a few want to bolt the herd. Eighty percent of the people who call themselves Democrats don't have a clue as to political reality. What amazes me is that you could take a group of people who are hard workers and convince them that they should support social programs that were the exact opposite of their own personal convictions. Put a little fear here and there and you can get people to vote any way you want. The voter is basically dumb and lazy. The reason I became a Democratic operative instead of a Republican was because there were more Democrats that didn't have a clue than there were Republicans. Truth is relative. Truth is what you can make the voter believe is the truth. If you're smart enough, truth is what you make the voter think it is. That's why I'm a Democrat. I can make the Democratic voters think whatever I want them to.
James Carville
In a covenant...among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and removed from society.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Cities must urge urban planners and architects to reinforce pedestrianism as an integrated city policy to develop lively, safe, sustainable and healthy cities. It is equally urgent to strengthen the social function of city space as a meeting place that contributes toward the aims of social sustainability and an open and democratic society.
Jan Gehl (Cities for People)
In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things. In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time. Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
Friedrich Engels (The Communist Manifesto)
We cannot, of course, expect every leader to possess the wisdom of Lincoln or Mandela’s largeness of soul. But when we think about what questions might be most useful to ask, perhaps we should begin by discerning what our prospective leaders believe it worthwhile for us to hear. Do they cater to our prejudices by suggesting that we treat people outside our ethnicity, race, creed or party as unworthy of dignity and respect? Do they want us to nurture our anger toward those who we believe have done us wrong, rub raw our grievances and set our sights on revenge? Do they encourage us to have contempt for our governing institutions and the electoral process? Do they seek to destroy our faith in essential contributors to democracy, such as an independent press, and a professional judiciary? Do they exploit the symbols of patriotism, the flag, the pledge in a conscious effort to turn us against one another? If defeated at the polls, will they accept the verdict, or insist without evidence they have won? Do they go beyond asking about our votes to brag about their ability to solve all problems put to rest all anxieties and satisfy every desire? Do they solicit our cheers by speaking casually and with pumped up machismo about using violence to blow enemies away? Do they echo the attitude of Musolini: “The crowd doesn’t have to know, all they have to do is believe and submit to being shaped.”? Or do they invite us to join with them in building and maintaining a healthy center for our society, a place where rights and duties are apportioned fairly, the social contract is honored, and all have room to dream and grow. The answers to these questions will not tell us whether a prospective leader is left or right-wing, conservative or liberal, or, in the American context, a Democrat or a Republican. However, they will us much that we need to know about those wanting to lead us, and much also about ourselves. For those who cherish freedom, the answers will provide grounds for reassurance, or, a warning we dare not ignore.
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
Democracy is not a form of government. It is a tool of government. Case in point, Stalinist USSR was a "democracy".
A.E. Samaan
Art was the first casualty of the Socialist and Communist revolutions of the 20th Century. Socialists killed the independent thinkers first.
A.E. Samaan
The "democratization of education" is everyone's fight, everyone's right.
Sharad Vivek Sagar
After the Civil War, Democrats promoted racism as a doctrine of biological inferiority.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
Leading Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan in the late nineteenth century and then, after Republicans shut it down, revived it in the early twentieth century.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
Social scientific research is and always will be tentative and imperfect. It does not claim to transform economics, sociology, and history into exact sciences. But by patiently searching for facts and patterns and calmly analyzing the economic, social, and political mechanisms that might explain them, it can inform democratic debate and focus attention on the right questions. It can help to redefine the terms of debate, unmask certain preconceived or fraudulent notions, and subject all positions to constant critical scrutiny. In my view, this is the role that intellectuals, including social scientists, should play, as citizens like any other but with the good fortune to have more time than others to devote themselves to study (and even to be paid for it—a signal privilege).
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
Today the left continues with this project of concealment. It doesn’t want people—especially young people—to know the role of the Democrats in protecting slavery and advancing racism.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
These self-styled liberals and progressives are honestly convinced that they are true democrats. But their notion of democracy is just the opposite of that of the nineteenth century. They confuse democracy with socialism. They not only do not see that socialism and democracy are incompatible but they believe that socialism alone means real democracy. Entangled in this error, they consider the Soviet system a variety of popular government.
Ludwig von Mises (Omnipotent Government)
Socialism lost its way largely when it became decoupled from the processes of democracy. My vision of a socially just society is one that is deeply democratic, that allows people’s voices to be heard, where people actually govern. C.L.R James sometimes used the slogan “every cook can govern” to speak to the concept that there should be no hierarchies of power between those who lead and their constituencies. This idea is related to Antonio Gramsci’s argument that the goal of the revolutionary party is for every member to be an intellectual. That is, everyone has the capacity, has the ability to articulate a vision of reality and to fight for the realization of their values and goals in society. Gramsci is pointing toward the development of a strategy that is deeply democratic, one where we don’t have elitist, vanguardist notions of what society should look like, but have humility and the patience to listen to and learn from working class and poor people, who really are at the center of what any society is.
Manning Marable
Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.
Albert Einstein (Why Socialism?)
The Italian neofascists were learning from the U.S. reactionaries how to achieve fascism's class goals within the confines of quasi-democratic forms: use an upbeat, Reaganesque optimism; replace the jackbooted militarists with media-hyped crowd pleasers; convince people that government is the enemy - especially its social service sector - while strengthening the repressive capacities of the state; instigate racist hostility and antagonisms between the resident population and immigrants; preach the mythical virtues of the free market; and pursue tax and spending measures that redistribute income upward.
Michael Parenti (Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism)
Early survey researchers noted in 1936 that 83% of Republicans believed that Franklin Delano Roosevelt's policies were leading the country down the road to dictatorship, a view shared by only 9% Democrats.
Bradley Palmquist (Partisan Hearts and Minds: Political Parties and the Social Identities of Voters)
Pastor Ted and other evangelical pastors I hear about in the media seem to perceive just about everything to be a threat against Christianity. Evolution is a threat. Gay marriage is a threat. A swear word uttered accidentally on television is a threat. Democrats are a threat. And so on. I don't see how any of these things pose a threat against Christianity. If someone disagrees with you about politics, or social issues, or the matter of origins, isn't that just democracy and free speech in action? How do opposing viewpoints constitute a threat?
Hemant Mehta (I Sold My Soul on Ebay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheist's Eyes)
North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, isn't democratic. The Nazis, the National Socialists, weren't socialists. And America isn't the land of the free. It's all just clever nationalist marketing.
Oliver Markus Malloy (How to Defeat the Trump Cult: Want to Save Democracy? Share This Book)
—Dedalus, you're an antisocial being, wrapped up in yourself. I'm not. I'm a democrat and I'll work and act for social liberty and equality among all classes and sexes in the United States of the Europe of the future.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Illustrated))
And when there are no more classes, when society is socially democratized and unified, then there will be revealed in all its metaphysical depths the never-ending tragedy of the conflict between personality and society.
Nikolai A. Berdyaev
The notion that Google/ Alphabet has the potential to be a democratizing force is certainly laudable, but the contradictions inherent in its projects must be contextualized in the historical conditions that both create and are created by it.
Safiya Umoja Noble (Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism)
Any ideology built around a notion of destiny—nationalism and socialism alike—runs the risk of calamity. The solution is a banal one: valuing and protecting rights and liberties, while ensuring that ordinary people are not only consulted through mass rallies but actually have democratic avenues to make choices and hold their leaders accountable. Without this bedrock, any postcapitalist society risks creating a new caste of oppressors.
Bhaskar Sunkara (The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality)
It even has a name. It’s called WEIRD research: white, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic. And most published social research papers are WEIRD.1
Christian Rudder (Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking))
If the Nazis are Socialists simply because they call themselves Socialists, then North Korea really is a Democratic Republic.
Atom Tate
Jesus was a socialist.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Inside The Mind of an Introvert)
The difference between Democrats and Republicans is: Democrats have accepted some ideals of socialism cheerfully, while Republicans have accepted them reluctantly.
Norman Mattoon Thomas
American Progressives have declared war on the sanctity and autonomy of the individual.
A.E. Samaan
National Socialism is what Marxism might have been if it could have broken its absurd and artificial ties with a democratic order.” —Adolf Hitler[173]
Stephen R.C. Hicks (Nietzsche And The Nazis)
Deleting welfare didn't eliminate poverty itself. We might as well have expected to conquer aging by overturning Social Security.
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People)
Have you ever played Monopoly? It's a board game designed to teach kids capitalism. And what happens in the end? The winner has all the money, and everyone else has nothing. Woohoo! So much fun! That's literally how America works. That's why there are a few super rich people who own almost everything, and tens of millions of dirt poor people who have nothing.
Oliver Markus Malloy (How to Defeat the Trump Cult: Want to Save Democracy? Share This Book)
Limited government is not a means to liberty, it is an end. That is to say, there are always going to be a group of citizens who cannot meet their basic needs, and there most assuredly will always be politicians willing to promise that they will meet them. The difference between liberty and tyranny by popular support, or correctly termed “democratic despotism, ” is little more than the vehicle a free society chooses to use in order to meet those needs.
Richard D. Baris (Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract)
Republicans have succeeded with a social agenda that gets people to vote against their own interests while the Democrats are so elitist that they can't tap into the anger that's real.
Peter Applebome (Dixie Rising: How the South Is Shaping American Values, Politics, and Culture)
For too long we have been misled by Democrats, who have depended upon our votes for power. For too long we have been made to believe that the state is sovereign, that we cannot lead prosperous lives without assistance from the government. But the truth is that we do not belong to the Democrat Party, nor do we belong to their socialist creed. We answer not to the false god of government, but to the one true God of our faith. Socialism is the gospel of envy and the sharing of misery, and our time within the pages of its history is coming to an end.
Candace Owens (Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation)
Socialists seem to think George Orwell’s 1984 is a suggestion, or at least are unashamed of mimicking the methods of the totalitarian state Orwell depicted. Libertarians know it to be a warning, and a government that micro-manages all aspects of humanity an intolerable reality.
A.E. Samaan
Mainly, though, the Democratic Party has become the party of reaction. In reaction to a war that is ill conceived, we appear suspicious of all military action. In reaction to those who proclaim the market can cure all ills, we resist efforts to use market principles to tackle pressing problems. In reaction to religious overreach, we equate tolerance with secularism, and forfeit the moral language that would help infuse our policies with a larger meaning. We lose elections and hope for the courts to foil Republican plans. We lost the courts and wait for a White House scandal. And increasingly we feel the need to match the Republican right in stridency and hardball tactics. The accepted wisdom that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists these days goes like this: The Republican Party has been able to consistently win elections not by expanding its base but by vilifying Democrats, driving wedges into the electorate, energizing its right wing, and disciplining those who stray from the party line. If the Democrats ever want to get back into power, then they will have to take up the same approach. ...Ultimately, though, I believe any attempt by Democrats to pursue a more sharply partisan and ideological strategy misapprehends the moment we're in. I am convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. For it's precisely the pursuit of ideological purity, the rigid orthodoxy and the sheer predictability of our current political debate, that keeps us from finding new ways to meet the challenges we face as a country. It's what keeps us locked in "either/or" thinking: the notion that we can have only big government or no government; the assumption that we must either tolerate forty-six million without health insurance or embrace "socialized medicine". It is such doctrinaire thinking and stark partisanship that have turned Americans off of politics.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
If a criminal becomes a politician, it's the fault of the citizens, not the system, and if a system keeps failing to oust the criminals from politics, that too is the fault of the citizens.
Abhijit Naskar
The Europeans thought they could take in millions of immigrants from the poorest regions of the Muslim world and turn them into good little social democrats in a single generation. And look at the results. For the most part the Muslims of Europe are ghettoized and seething with anger.
Daniel Silva (The Secret Servant (Gabriel Allon, #7))
In its quest for prosperity, the Party of the People declared itself wholeheartedly in favor of a social theory that forthrightly exalted the rich—the all-powerful creative class. For many cities and states, this was the economic strategy; this was what our leaders came up with to revive the urban wastelands and restore the de-industrialized zones. The Democratic idea was no longer to confront privilege but to flatter privilege, to sing the praises of our tasteful new master class. True, this was all done with an eye toward rebuilding the crumbling cities where the rest of us lived and worked, but the consequences of all this “creative class” bootlicking will take a long time to wear off.
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People)
Nearly a half century ago, while Social-Democratic and Communist theoreticians babbled about a society with "work for all," the Dadaists, those magnificent madmen, demanded unemployment for everybody.
Murray Bookchin (Post-Scarcity Anarchism)
Anarchy is not a social form, but a method of individuation. No society will concede to me more than a limited freedom and a well-being that it grants to each of its members. But I am not content with this and want more. I want all that I have the power to conquer. Every society seeks to confine me to the august limits of the permitted and the prohibited . But I do not acknowledge these limits, for nothing is forbidden and all is permitted to those who have the force and the valor. Consequently, anarchy, which is the natural liberty of the individual freed from the odious yoke of spiritual and material rulers, is not the construction of a new and suffocating society.' It is a decisive fight against all societies-christian, democratic, socialist, communist, etc., etc. Anarchism is the eternal struggle of a small minority of aristocratic outsiders against all societies which follow one another on the stage of history.
Renzo Novatore
Whoever educates the children controls the future. If we want a democratic future, we must plant the seeds in our little dandelions nationwide and ensure that our education is governed of, by, and for the people.
Rivera Sun
Fame had been democratized. During most of history only members of the privileged classes had possessed a realistic opportunity to achieve majestic fame, but in the eighteenth century it has been demonstrated repeatedly, by men such as Franklin, for instance, that fame might be achieved by men born into a lesser social rank.
John Ferling (Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution)
The philosophical assumptions, underlying values, social relations, customs, and overall outlooks on life differ significantly among civilizations. The revitalization of religion throughout much of the world is reinforcing these cultural differences. Cultures can change, and the nature of their impact on politics and economics can vary from one period to another. Yet the major differences in political and economic development among civilizations are clearly rooted in their different cultures. East Asian economic success has its source in East Asian culture, as do the difficulties East Asian societies have had in achieving stable democratic political systems. Islamic culture explains in large part the failure of democracy to emerge in much of the Muslim world.
Samuel P. Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order)
To be sure, I am not speaking about Christian equality, whose real name is equity; but about this democratic and social equality, which is nothing but the canonization of envy and the chimera of jealous ineptitude. This equality was never anything but a mask which could not become reality without the abolition of all merit and virtue.
Charles Forbes René de Montalembert
The debt is being cynically exploited by the far right, with collusion of the Democrat establishment, to undermine what remains of social programs, public education, unions, and, in general, remaining barriers to corporate tyranny.
Noam Chomsky (9-11)
What is needed most in architecture today is the very thing that is most needed in life- Integrity. Just as it is in a human being, so integrity is the deepest quality in a building...if we succeed, we will have done a great service to our moral nature- the psyche- of our democratic society...Stand up for integrity in your building and you stand for integrity not only in the life of those who did the building but socially a reciprocal relationship is inevitable.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Two men at Google who do not enjoy the legitimacy of the vote, democratic oversight, or the demands of shareholder governance exercise control over the organization and presentation of the world’s information. One man at Facebook who does not enjoy the legitimacy of the vote, democratic oversight, or the demands of shareholder governance exercises control over an increasingly universal means of social connection along with the information concealed in its networks.
Shoshana Zuboff (The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power)
Media work needs ideals. Maybe thirty years from now, after I retire, I'll see the media mature and make the transition from political party, interest group, and corporate to truly public. But over the next ten years, the encroachment of commercialism and worldliness will loom much larger than the democratization we imagine. -Jin Yongquan in China Ink
Judy Polumbaum
Please do not think that I am accusing socialists of insincerity or that I wish to hold them up to scorn either as bad democrats or as unprincipled schemers and opportunists. I fully believe, in spite of the childish Machiavellism in which some of their prophets indulge, that fundamentally most of them always have been as sincere in their professions as any other men. Besides, I do not believe in insincerity in social strife, for people always come to think what they want to think and what they incessantly profess. As regards democracy, socialist parties are presumably no more opportunists than are any others; they simply espouse democracy if, as, and when it serves their ideals and interests and not otherwise. Lest readers should be shocked and think so immoral a view worthy only of the most callous of political practitioners, ...
Joseph Schumpeter (Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy)
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there is something seriously wrong with this system. Capitalism is a system that puts rich people on a pedestal, legalizes greed, and enables the rich to exploit the poor. It’s morally wrong. What kind of a God would support something so immoral? Would Jesus support the exploitation of the poor by the rich? No, of course not. If you think of yourself as a follower of Christ’s teachings, if you consider yourself a good person, you are morally obligated to be against greed. It’s your duty as a good person to be against exploitation. It’s your moral duty to be against predatory capitalism.
Oliver Markus Malloy (How to Defeat the Trump Cult: Want to Save Democracy? Share This Book)
Collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamed of. ... By bringing the whole of life under the control of the State, Socialism necessarily gives power to an inner ring of bureaucrats, who in almost every case will be men who want power for its own sake and will stick at nothing in order to retain it.
George Orwell
Civilization, as a process, is indistinguishable from diminishing time-preference (or declining concern for the present in comparison to the future). Democracy, which both in theory and evident historical fact accentuates time-preference to the point of convulsive feeding-frenzy, is thus as close to a precise negation of civilization as anything could be, short of instantaneous social collapse into murderous barbarism or zombie apocalypse (which it eventually leads to). As the democratic virus burns through society, painstakingly accumulated habits and attitudes of forward-thinking, prudential, human and industrial investment, are replaced by a sterile, orgiastic consumerism, financial incontinence, and a ‘reality television’ political circus. Tomorrow might belong to the other team, so it’s best to eat it all now.
Nick Land (The Dark Enlightenment)
For what is socialism? With the frills removed, it is people collectively running society. Instead of being the prisoners of anarchic capitalist competition and the mad rush for profit at any cost, it is working together for the common good. Our tremendous co-operative power would be controlled, not by a ruling class in the search for ever greater profits, but democratically and for the fulfillment of human need.
Alex Callinicos (The Revolutionary Road To Socialism)
Conquest occurred through violence, and over-expolitation and oppression necessitate continued violence, so the army is present. There would be no contradiction in that, if terror reigned everywhere in the world, but the colonizer enjoys, in the mother country, democratic rights that the colonialist system refuses to the colonized native. In fact, the colonialist system favors population growth to reduce the cost of labor, and it forbids assimilation of the natives, whose numerical superiority, if they had voting rights, would shatter the system. Colonialism denies human rights to human beings whom it has subdued by violence, and keeps them by force in a state of misery and ignorance that Marx would rightly call a subhuman condition. Racism is ingrained in actions, institutions, and in the nature of the colonialist methods of production and exchange. Political and social regulations reinforce one another. Since the native is subhuman, the Declaration of Human Rights does not apply to him; inversely, since he has no rights, he is abandoned without protection to inhuman forces - brought in with the colonialist praxis, engendered every moment by the colonialist apparatus, and sustained by relations of production that define two sorts of individuals - one for whom privilege and humanity are one, who becomes a human being through exercising his rights; and the other, for whom a denial of rights sanctions misery, chronic hunger, ignorance, or, in general, 'subhumanity.
Albert Memmi (The Colonizer and the Colonized)
Among the many symbols used to frighten and manipulate the populace of the democratic states, few have been more important than "terror" and "terrorism." These terms have generally been confined to the use of violence by individuals and marginal groups. Official violence, which is far more extensive in both scale and destructiveness, is placed in a different category altogether. This usage has nothing to do with justice, causal sequence, or numbers abused. Whatever the actual sequence of cause and effect, official violence is described as responsive or provoked ("retaliation," "protective reaction," etc.), not as the active and initiating source of abuse. Similarly, the massive long-term violence inherent in the oppressive social structures that U.S. power has supported or imposed is typically disregarded. The numbers tormented and killed by official violence-wholesale as opposed to retail terror-during recent decades have exceeded those of unofficial terrorists by a factor running into the thousands. But this is not "terror," [...] "security forces" only retaliate and engage in "police action." These terminological devices serve important functions. They help to justify the far more extensive violence of (friendly) state authorities by interpreting them as "reactive" and they implicitly sanction the suppression of information on the methods and scale of official violence by removing it from the category of "terrorism." [...] Thus the language is well-designed for apologetics for wholesale terror.
Noam Chomsky (The Washington Connection & Third World Fascism (Political Economy of Human Rights, #1))
The democratization of media means that anyone with a phone can become a celebrity. Our short-sighted focus on self-esteem in children means that everyone gets a trophy, universities and education are “brands” instead of places of learning, standardized tests are used to assess wisdom, and grade inflation is rampant. The tribe has been replaced with followers and likes. Our economy, our bodies, our health, our children, and frankly our psyches are in big trouble.
Ramani Durvasula (Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist)
The same people who wear shirts that read “fuck your feelings” and rail against “political correctness” seem to believe that there should be no social consequences for [voting for Trump]. I keep hearing calls for empathy and healing, civility and polite discourse. As if supporting a man who would fill his administration with white nationalists and misogynists is something to simply agree to disagree on. Absolutely not. You don’t get to vote for a person who brags about sexual assault and expect that the women in your life will just shrug their shoulders. You don’t get to play the victim when people unfriend you on Facebook, as if being disliked for supporting a bigot is somehow worse than the suffering that marginalized people will endure under Trump. And you certainly do not get to enjoy a performance by people of color and those in the LGBT community without remark or protest when you enact policies and stoke hatred that put those very people’s lives in danger. Being socially ostracized for supporting Trump is not an infringement of your rights, it’s a reasonable response by those of us who are disgusted, anxious, and afraid. I was recently accused by a writer of “vote shaming” – but there’s nothing wrong with being made to feel ashamed for doing something shameful.
Jessica Valenti
What’s going on, I want to suggest, is that race and sex have become more than mechanisms to secure group loyalty for the Democratic left. In addition, they have become tactics of intimidation. The socialist left uses these mechanisms to force people to grovel and submit to its worldview. They want to overturn your moral code and replace it with their moral code. The economist John Maynard Keynes once called this “immoralism,” recognizing that it represented a kind of inversion of traditional moral values.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
She isn’t simply unafraid of a good fight, she lives for it, and will often actively go looking for a fight. This is what differentiates your run-of-the-mill fighter from a crusader. The Warrior Princess Submissive is no shrinking violet. She is that dyed-in-the-wool Republican who attends the Democratic National Convention wearing a Rand Paul t-shirt. She is the African-American woman who invites herself to a Ku Klux Klan rally without a hood... and hands out business cards to everyone there. She is the woman who invites the Jehovah's Witnesses into her home and feeds them dinner, just for the opportunity to defend Christmas - even though she may be a Pagan. When the other girls in high school or college were trying out for the pep squad or cheerleading, she set her sights on the debate team. While her friends agonize over how to “fit in” socially, she is war gaming ideas on how to change society to fit her ideals and principles. Are you someone she considers to be immoral or evil? Run. She will eviscerate you.
Michael Makai (The Warrior Princess Submissive)
The political perspective of this book, ironically, is the progeny of the progressive potential of capitalism as an historical system. The joint possibility of universal material well-being and the democratization of society is a product of the capitalist era. But the history of capitalism is a chronicle of the tension between possibilities and limits: democracy and universal affluence in perpetual and ubiquitous conflict with class domination - itself a product of the social organization of capitalist production.
Samuel Bowles (Schooling In Capitalist America: Educational Reform And The Contradictions Of Economic Life)
Democratic politics is about persuasion, not self-expression. I’m here, I’m queer will never provoke more than a pat on the head or a roll of the eyes. Accept that you will never agree with people on everything—that’s to be expected in a democracy. One effect of engaging in social movements tied to identity is that you’ve been surrounded by the like-minded and like-faced and like-educated. Impose no purity tests on those you would convince. Not everything is a matter of principle—and even when something is, there are usually other, equally important principles that might have to be sacrificed to preserve this one. Moral values are not pieces in a puzzle where everything has been precut to fit.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
There is no difference between the principles, policies and practical results of socialism—and those of any historical or prehistorical tyranny. Socialism is merely democratic absolute monarchy—that is, a system of absolutism without a fixed head, open to seizure of power by all corners, by any ruthless climber, opportunist, adventurer, demagogue or thug.
Ayn Rand
The Marxist promise that the state will "wither away" is like the guys promise that he will only insert the tip.
A.E. Samaan
By the Eighties socialism was dying even in the poor world, and there was nothing left to do for those who hated the status quo but embrace the programme of the anti-democratic far right, as Foucault had done, or more usually, just refuse to come out against radical reactionary forces on the grounds that any movement that was against the West couldn’t be all bad.
Nick Cohen (What's Left?: How Liberals Lost Their Way)
Case in point: Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. After criticizing Sessions for meeting with the Russian ambassador and claiming she had never done so in her ten years on the Armed Services Committee, it turned out that her tweets betrayed her. Twitter account records showed that she bragged on social media about two of her meetings with Kislyak, in 2013 and 2015.49
Gregg Jarrett (The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump)
People love to shout, “democracy for the people, by the people, of the people”, yet when it comes to actually practice this principle, their brain turns to dust and their vigor vanishes.
Abhijit Naskar (Mad About Humans: World Maker's Almanac)
The humanitarian philosophies that have been developed (sometimes under some religious banner and invariably in the face of religious opposition) are human inventions, as the name implies - and our species deserves the credit. I am a devout atheist - nothing else makes any sense to me and I must admit to being bewildered by those, who in the face of what appears so obvious, still believe in a mystical creator. However I can see that the promise of infinite immortality is a more palatable proposition than the absolute certainty of finite mortality which those of us who are subject to free thought (as opposed to free will) have to look forward to and many may not have the strength of character to accept it. Thus I am a supporter of Amnesty International, a humanist and an atheist. I believe in a secular, democratic society in which women and men have total equality, and individuals can pursue their lives as they wish, free of constraints - religious or otherwise. I feel that the difficult ethical and social problems which invariably arise must be solved, as best they can, by discussion and am opposed to the crude simplistic application of dogmatic rules invented in past millennia and ascribed to a plethora of mystical creators - or the latest invention; a single creator masquerading under a plethora of pseudonyms. Organisations which seek political influence by co-ordinated effort disturb me and thus I believe religious and related pressure groups which operate in this way are acting antidemocratically and should play no part in politics. I also have problems with those who preach racist and related ideologies which seem almost indistinguishable from nationalism, patriotism and religious conviction.
Harry W. Kroto
In the Social Democratic jargon of the time, the term ‘propaganda’ had connotations that were very different from those it later acquired. It did not mean simplistic messages used to bombard passive targets, but rather an intensive and wide-ranging education that was initiated by the workers. ‘Propagandized worker’ was therefore a title of honour, an indication of potential leader status.
Lars T. Lih (Lenin)
Exhibit A: I’m guessing you’re no fan of socialism, which was a founding principle of the Nazi movement. The name “Nazi” is an acronym for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which most of today’s Democrat socialists conveniently forget. Actually, that’s an understatement. These people don’t just overlook this truth, they’ve totally rewritten history on the matter. These days, Nazism gets associated with conservatism at the drop of a hat, but historically it stems from the left. Adolf Hitler? An art-loving vegetarian who seized power by wooing voters away from Germany’s Social Democrat and communist parties. Italy’s Benito Mussolini? Raised on Karl Marx’s Das Kapital before starting his career as a left-wing journalist and, later, implementing a deadly fascist regime.
Dave Rubin (Don't Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason)
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
Idealistic? Ruddy stupid, if you'll pardon the language, miss,: Mr Roberts said. "All this talk about power for the people and down with the ruling classes and everyone should govern themselves. It can never happen, I told him. The ruling classes are born to rule. They know how to do it. You take a person like you or me and you put us up there to run a country and we'd make a ruddy mess of it.
Rhys Bowen (A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #2))
The Flint water crisis illustrates how the challenges in America's shrinking cities are not a crisis of local leadership - or, at least, not solely that - but a crisis of systems. Paternalism, even if it is well meaning, cannot transcend the political, economic, and social obstacles that relegate places such as Flint to the bottom. The chronic underfunding of American cities imperils the health of citizens. It also stunts their ability to become full participants in a democratic society, and it shatters their trust in the public realm. Communities that are poor and communities of color - and especially those that are both - are hurt worst of all.
Anna Clark (The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy)
The very principle of democracy is founded on the possibility of making alternative choices. There is no longer a need for democracy, since ideology made the idea that "there is no alternative" acceptable. Adherence to a meta-social principle of superior rationality allows for the elimination of the necessity and possibility of choosing. The so-called principle of the rationality of "markets" exactly fills this function in the ideology of obsolescent capitalism. Democratic practice is thus emptied of all content in the way is open to what I have called "low-intensity democracy" - that is, to electoral buffooneries where parades of majorettes take the place of programs, to the society of the spectacle. Delegitimized by these practices, politics is undone, begins to drift and loses its potential power to give meaning and coherence to alternative societal projects.
Samir Amin
The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee, by a group of former Confederate soldiers; its first grand wizard was a Confederate general who was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. The Klan soon spread beyond the South to the Midwest and the West and became, in the words of historian Eric Foner, “the domestic terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.” The main point of the Klan’s orgy of violence was to prevent blacks from voting—voting, that is, for Republicans. Leading Democrats, including at least one president, two Supreme Court justices, and innumerable senators and congressmen, were Klan members. The last one, Robert Byrd, died in 2010 and was eulogized by President Obama and former President Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton called him her “mentor.” The sordid history of the Democratic Party in the early twentieth century is also married to the sordid history of the progressive movement during the same period. Progressives like Margaret Sanger—founder of Planned Parenthood and a role model for Hillary Clinton—supported such causes as eugenics and social Darwinism. While abortion was not an issue in Sanger’s day, she backed forced sterilization for “unfit” people, notably minorities. Sanger’s Negro Project was specifically focused on reducing the black population.
Dinesh D'Souza (Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party)
If there were social democratic redistributive measures that wiped out black poverty, and if racial and sexual discrimination could be abated through the good will and meritorious judgments of those in power, affirmative action would be unnecessary. Although many of my liberal and progressive citizens view affirmative action as a redistributive measure whose time is over or whose life is no longer worth preserving, I question their view because of the persistence of discriminatory practices that increase black social misery, and the warranted suspicion that good will and fair judgment among the powerful does not loom as large toward women and people of color.
Cornel West (Race Matters)
For nearly fifty years after the release of “Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine,” Americans fought back against the statism that Reagan feared. Jimmy Carter’s efforts failed in the 1970s. So did Hillary Clinton’s in the 1990s. But in 2010, despite overwhelming opposition from the American people, President Barack Obama found just barely enough support in Congress, both houses of which were controlled by Democrats, to pass Obamacare.
Ted Cruz (A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America)
By itself, partyism is not the most serious threat to democratic self-government. But if it decreases government’s ability to solve serious problems, then it has concrete and potentially catastrophic consequences for people’s lives. I
Cass R. Sunstein (#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media)
To summarise, the design of Nordic tax systems has over time created a ‘fiscal illusion’, whereby the public is not aware of the taxes they are paying. One can reflect on whether it is really in line with democratic principles to raise taxes in a way such that citizens are unaware of them. Interestingly, few proponents of introducing a Nordic model of high taxes in other countries stress that such a move would require hiding the true cost of taxation from the public.
Nima Sanandaji (Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism (Readings in Political Economy))
It is a special blessing to belong among those who can and may devote their best energies to the contemplation and exploration of objective and timeless things. How happy and grateful I am for having been granted this blessing, which bestows upon one a large measure of independence from one's personal fate and from the attitude of one's contemporaries. Yet this independence must not inure us to the awareness of the duties that constantly bind us to the past, present and future of humankind at large. Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore. In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own. I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them. I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper. I have never coveted affluence and luxury and even despise them a good deal. My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to any obligation and dependence I did not regard as absolutely necessary. [Part 2] I have a high regard for the individual and an insuperable distaste for violence and fanaticism. All these motives have made me a passionate pacifist and antimilitarist. I am against any chauvinism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as does any exaggerated personality cult. I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state. Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.
Albert Einstein
[Free trade agreements] are trade agreements that don't stick to trade…they colonize environmental labor, and consumer issues of grave concern (in terms of health safety, and livelihoods too) to many, many hundreds of millions of people - and they do that by subordinating consumer, environmental, and labor issues to the imperatives and the supremacy of international commerce. That is exactly the reverse of how democratic societies have progressed, because over the decades they've progressed by subordinating the profiteering priorities of companies to, say, higher environmental health standards; abolition of child labor; the right of workers to have fair worker standards…and it's this subordination of these three major categories that affect people's lives, labor, environment, the consumer, to the supremacy and domination of trade; where instead of trade getting on its knees and showing that it doesn't harm consumers - it doesn't deprive the important pharmaceuticals because of drug company monopolies, it doesn't damage the air and water and soil and food (environmentally), and it doesn't lacerate the rights of workers - no, it's just the opposite: it's workers and consumers and environments that have to kneel before this giant pedestal of commercial trade and prove that they are not, in a whole variety of ways, impeding international commerce…so this is the road to dictatorial devolution of democratic societies: because these trade agreements have the force of law, they've got enforcement teeth, and they bypass national courts, national regulatory agencies, in ways that really reflect a massive, silent, mega-corporate coup d'etat…that was pulled off in the mid-1990's.
Ralph Nader
Our democratic societies rest on a meritocratic worldview, or at any rate a meritocratic hope, by which I mean a belief in a society in which inequality is based more on merit and effort than on kinship and rents. This belief and this hope play a very crucial role in modern society, for a simple reason: in a democracy, the professed equality of rights of all citizens contrasts sharply with the very real inequality of living conditions, and in order to overcome this contradiction it is vital to make sure that social inequalities derive from rational and universal principles rather than arbitrary contingencies. Inequalities must therefore be just and useful to all, at least in the realm of discourse and as far as possible in reality as well.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
From the very beginning of its history, the manifold social evils of capitalism have given rise to oppositional movements. The one I am concerned with in this book is cooperativism, specifically worker cooperativism. There are many other kinds of cooperatives, including those in the credit, agriculture, housing, insurance, health, and retail sectors of the economy. But worker cooperativism is potentially the most “oppositional” form, the most anti-capitalist, since it organizes production in anti-capitalist ways. Indeed, the relations of production that constitute worker cooperativism also define socialism in its most general sense: workers’ democratic control over production and, in some varieties, ownership of the means of production (whether such ownership is organized individually, by owning shares of equity, or collectively). As one common formulation states, in the worker co-op, labor has power over capital, or “labor hires capital.” In the conventional business, by contrast, capital has power over labor, i.e., “capital hires labor.” None of the other kinds of cooperativism directly rejects these capitalist power-relations, although some may signify an implicit undermining of capitalism insofar as the co-op exists not primarily for the sake of maximizing profit but for satisfying some social need.
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
the Democratic Party had failed (in 1983) 'to remember waht got us this far and how we got here -- moral indignation, decent instincts, a sense of shared sacrifice and mutual responsibility, and a set of national priorities that emphasized what we had in common.. The Party that was the engine of the national interest -- molding our pluralistic interest into a compelling new social contract that served the nation well for fifty years -- became perceived as little more than the broker of narrow special interests. Instead of thinking of ourselves as Americans first, Democrats second, and members of interest groups third, we have begun to think in terms of special interests first and the greater interest second.. We have let our opponents set the agenda and define what is at stake. p. 140
Joe Biden (Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics)
One of the tactics we have already discussed: the left routinely practices the politics of division, not only rich versus poor but also white versus black, male versus female, heterosexual versus homosexual, legal versus illegal. This politics of perpetual turmoil, of pitting Americans against each other, is a tactic aimed at assembling a democratic majority of aggrieved so-called victims. While it takes new forms today, the division formula itself goes back to Marx and is intrinsic to socialism. Therefore, I have dealt with it separately.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us. No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism. We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them.
Kenneth Minogue (The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life)
The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of régime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.
George Orwell (Politics and the English Language)
while many people were irritated at over-mighty trade unions or insensitive bureaucrats, they were unwilling to countenance a wholesale retreat. The social democratic consensus and its institutional incarnations might be boring and even paternalist; but they worked and people knew it.
Tony Judt (Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents)
From the end of the World War twenty-one years ago, this country, like many others, went through a phase of having large groups of people carried away by some emotion--some alluring, attractive, even speciously inspiring, public presentation of a nostrum, a cure-all. Many Americans lost their heads because several plausible fellows lost theirs in expounding schemes to end barbarity, to give weekly handouts to people, to give everybody a better job--or, more modestly, for example, to put a chicken or two in every pot--all by adoption of some new financial plan or some new social system. And all of them burst like bubbles. Some proponents of nostrums were honest and sincere, others--too many of them--were seekers of personal power; still others saw a chance to get rich on the dimes and quarters of the poorer people in our population. All of them, perhaps unconsciously, were capitalizing on the fact that the democratic form of Government works slowly. There always exists in a democratic society a large group which, quite naturally, champs at the bit over the slowness of democracy; and that is why it is right for us who believe in democracy to keep the democratic processes progressive--in other words, moving forward with the advances in civilization. That is why it is dangerous for democracy to stop moving forward because any period of stagnation increases the numbers of those who demand action and action now.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
In accordance with the prevailing conceptions in the U.S., there is no infringement on democracy if a few corporations control the information system: in fact, that is the essence of democracy. In the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the leading figure of the public relations industry, Edward Bernays, explains that “the very essence of the democratic process” is “the freedom to persuade and suggest,” what he calls “the engineering of consent.” “A leader,” he continues, “frequently cannot wait for the people to arrive at even general understanding … Democratic leaders must play their part in … engineering … consent to socially constructive goals and values,” applying “scientific principles and tried practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs”; and although it remains unsaid, it is evident enough that those who control resources will be in a position to judge what is “socially constructive,” to engineer consent through the media, and to implement policy through the mechanisms of the state. If the freedom to persuade happens to be concentrated in a few hands, we must recognize that such is the nature of a free society.
Noam Chomsky (Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies)
[P]olitical freedom can easily provide the legal frame for economic slavery, with the underprivileged 'freely' selling themselves into servitude. We are thus brought to demand more than just political democracy: we need democratization of social and economic life. In short, we have to admit that what we first took as the failure fully to realize the noble principle of democratic freedom is a failure inherent to this principle itself. Learning how the distortion of a notion, its incomplete realization, is grounded in the distortion immanent to this notion is a big step in political education.
Slavoj Žižek
Wenn ich sagen soll, was mir neben dem Frieden wichtiger sei als alles andere, dann lautet meine Antwort ohne Wenn und Aber: Freiheit. Die Freiheit für viele, nicht nur für die wenigen. Freiheit des Gewissens und der Meinung. Auch Freiheit von Not und von Furcht.“ ("If I am to say what, besides peace, is more important to me than anything else, my unconditional answer is: Freedom. Freedom for the many, not merely for a few. Freedom of conscience and of opinion. And also freedom from poverty and fear.") Speech before an extraordinary convention of the Social Democratic Party in Bonn, Germany, June 14, 1987
Willy Brandt
Here we have the central moral claim of American socialism: collective ownership. At least in principle, nothing is yours, nothing is mine, everything is ours. The people—that is to say, the democratic majority—control everything. They have final say. They have the right, and the power, to treat the wealth and earnings of the country as a common pool to be tapped by the state and dispersed through the democratic process. The majority also has the right to other forms of control: for example, subsidizing some lifestyles over others, limiting or confiscating guns and restricting citizens from exercising “hate speech.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
Christians can disagree about public policy in good faith, and a libertarian and a social democrat can both claim to be living out the gospel. But the Christian libertarian has a particular obligation to recognize those places where libertarianism’s emphasis on freedom can shade into an un-Christian worship of the individual. Likewise the Christian liberal: even as he supports government interventions to assist the poor and dispossessed, he should be constantly on guard against the tendency to deify Leviathan and wary of the ways that government power can easily be turned to inhuman and immoral ends. In the contemporary United States, a host of factors—from the salience of issues like abortion to the anti-Christian biases of our largely left-wing intelligentsia—ensure that many orthodox Christians feel more comfortable affiliating with the Republican Party than with the Democrats. But this comfort should not blind Christians to the GOP’s flaws.
Ross Douthat (Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics)
Our feelings provide meaning not only for our private lives, but also for social and political processes. When we want to know who should rule the country, what foreign policy to adopt and what economic steps to take, we don’t look for the answers in scriptures. Nor do we obey the commands of the Pope or the Council of Nobel Laureates. Rather, in most countries, we hold democratic elections and ask people what they think about the matter at hand. We believe that the voter knows best, and that the free choices of individual humans are the ultimate political authority. Yet how does the voter know what to choose? Theoretically at least, the voter is supposed to consult his or her innermost feelings, and follow their lead. It is not always easy. In order to get in touch with my feelings, I need to filter out the empty propaganda slogans, the endless lies of ruthless politicians, the distracting noise created by cunning spin doctors, and the learned opinions of hired pundits. I need to ignore all this racket, and attend only to my authentic inner voice. And then my authentic inner voice whispers in my ear ‘Vote Cameron’ or ‘Vote Modi’ or ‘Vote Clinton’ or whomever, and I put a cross against that name on the ballot paper – and that’s how we know who should rule the country.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
Given the degree of feedback available to the average citizen of a democracy, it makes little sense to agitate for changing the system as a whole. Since the system is so flexible and responsive, it is impossible to imagine that it can be replaced with any system that is more flexible – thus the practical ideal for anyone interested in social change is to bring his ideas to the “marketplace” of democracy, see who he can get on board, and implement his vision within the system – peacefully, politically, democratically. This is a truly wonderful fairy tale, which has only the slight disadvantage of having nothing to do with democracy whatsoever.
Stefan Molyneux (Everyday Anarchy: The Freedom of Now)
Bankers are seeking to capture government and make financial policy immune from democratic choice. What promised to be a progressive social democratic Europe half a century ago is turning into a power grab by financial predators. The EU has confronted Greece, Cyprus and other indebted economies with an option of suffering debt deflation or leaving the eurozone. Since Greece’s Syriza coalition took the electoral lead in opposing the financial and fiscal austerity, the creditor response has been to dare Greece to withdraw – and to suffer a transitional financial chaos if it tries to save itself from being crushed by unemployment, bankruptcy and emigration.
Michael Hudson (Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy)
The right of self-determination of the peoples includes the right to a state of their own. However, the foundation of a state does not increase the freedom of a people. The system of the United Nations that is based on nation-states has remained inefficient. Meanwhile, nation-states have become serious obstacles for any social development. Democratic confederalism is the contrasting paradigm of the oppressed people. Democratic confederalism is a non-state social paradigm. It is not controlled by a state. At the same time, democratic confederalism is the cultural organizational blueprint of a democratic nation. Democratic confederalism is based on grassroots participation. Its decision-making processes lie with the communities. Higher levels only serve the coordination and implementation of the will of the communities that send their delegates to the general assemblies. For limited space of time they are both mouthpiece and executive institution. However, the basic power of decision rests with the local grassroots institutions.
Abdullah Öcalan (Democratic Confederalism)
(...) the interaction of Social Democratic ideals with the realities of Russian society lead to the creation of a new social type, the praktik, the activists who actually ran local organizations. This new type was something of a hybrid, made up of both plebeian intellectuals and ‘intelligentnye workers’ (workers who adopted intelligentsia ideals).
Lars T. Lih (Lenin)
I told myself that in the country of my birth, from which I was disengaged in an increasingly irreversible way, there undoubtedly were many men and women like him, basically decent people who had dreamed all their lives of the economic, social, cultural, and political progress that would transform Peru into a modern, prosperous, democratic society with opportunities open to all, only to find themselves repeatedly frustrated, and, like Uncle Ataulfo, had reached old age - the very brink of death - bewildered, asking themselves why we were moving backward instead of advancing and were worse off now with more discrimination, inequality, violence, and insecurity than when they were starting out
Edith Grossman (The Bad Girl)
In another dimension, the three most popular social ideas of Indust-reality--democracy, socialism, and anarchism--have a family resemblance, despite their differences. All represent what Arlen Riley Wilson has called "Stone Age Backlash." That is, as Imperialism spread, more Stone Age "Partnership Societies" were discovered and they set the intelligentsia to thinking ferociously, as the French say. Democracy, socialism and anarchy all represent various persons' ideas of how to re-create Partnership Society within the context of an expanding technological world. This explains the various attempts to blend them: Democratic Socialism; Mutualist Anarchism; Libertarian (anti-State) Marxist heresies, etc.
Robert Anton Wilson (Beyond Chaos and Beyond: The Best of Trajectories, Vol. II)
Decolonization is the process whereby we intend the conditions we want to live and social relations we wish to have. We have to supplant the colonial logic of the state itself. German philosopher Gustav Landauer wrote almost a hundred years ago that "the State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships." Decolonization requires us to exercise our sovereignties differently, and reconfigure our communities based on shared experiences, ideals, and visions. Almost all indigenous formulations of sovereignty--such as the Two Row Wampum agreement of peace, friendship, and respect between the Haudenosaunee nations and settlers--are premised on revolutionary notions of respectful coexistence and stewardship of the land, which goes far beyond any Western liberal democratic ideal. Original blog post: Unsettling America: Decolonization in Theory and Practice. Quoted In: Decolonize Together: Moving beyond a Politics of Solidarity toward a Practice of Decolonization. Taking Sides.
Harsha Walia
somewhat different. Many European countries have long practiced something resembling social democracy: but they have forgotten how to preach it. Social democrats today are defensive and apologetic. Critics who claim that the European model is too expensive or economically inefficient have been allowed to pass unchallenged. And yet, the welfare state is as popular as ever
Tony Judt (Ill Fares The Land: A Treatise On Our Present Discontents)
You might think that the Left could have a regime-change perspective of its own, based on solidarity with its comrades abroad. After all, Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party consolidated its power by first destroying the Iraqi communist and labor movements, and then turning on the Kurds (whose cause, historically, has been one of the main priorities of the Left in the Middle East). When I first became a socialist, the imperative of international solidarity was the essential if not the defining thing, whether the cause was popular or risky or not. I haven't seen an anti-war meeting all this year at which you could even guess at the existence of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition to Saddam, an opposition that was fighting for 'regime change' when both Republicans and Democrats were fawning over Baghdad as a profitable client and geopolitical ally. Not only does the 'peace' movement ignore the anti-Saddam civilian opposition, it sends missions to console the Ba'athists in their isolation, and speaks of the invader of Kuwait and Iran and the butcher of Kurdistan as if he were the victim and George W. Bush the aggressor.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
The American middle-class is being squeezed to death by a vise. (See Chart 9) In the streets we have avowed revolutionary groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society (which was started by the League for Industrial Democracy, a group with strong C.F.R. ties), the Black Panthers, the Yippies, the Young Socialist Alliance. These groups chant that if we don't "change" America, we will lose it. "Change" is a word we hear over and over. By "change" these groups mean Socialism. Virtually all members of these groups sincerely believe that they are fighting the Establishment. In reality they are an indispensible ally of the Establishment in fastening Socialism on all of us. The naive radicals think that under Socialism the "people" will run everything. Actually, it will be a clique of Insiders in total control, consolidating and controlling all wealth. That is why these schoolboy Lenins and teenage Trotskys are allowed to roam free and are practically never arrested or prosecuted. They are protected. If the Establishment wanted the revolutionaries stopped, how long do you think they would be tolerated?   ----   Chart 9   [Insert pic p125]
Gary Allen (None Dare Call It Conspiracy)
I've never understood America,"said the king. "Neither do we, sir. You might say we have two governments, kind of overlapping. First we have the elected government. It's Democratic or Republican, doesn't make much difference, and then there's corporation government." "They get along together, these governments?" "Sometimes," said Tod. "I don't understand it myself. You see, the elected government pretends to be democratic, and actually it is autocratic. The corporation governments pretend to be autocratic and they're all the time accusing the others of socialism. They hate socialism." "So I have heard," said Pippin. "Well, here's the funny thing, sir. You take a big corporation in America, say like General Motors or Du Pont or U.S. Steel. The thing they're most afraid of is socialism, and at the same time they themselves are socialist states." The king sat bolt upright. "Please?" he said. "Well, just look at it, sir. They've got medical care for employees and their families and accident insurance and retirement pensions, paid vacations -- even vacation places -- and they're beginning to get guaranteed pay over the year. The employees have representation in pretty nearly everything, even the color they paint the factories. As a matter of fact, they've got socialism that makes the USSR look silly. Our corporations make the U.S. Government seem like an absolute monarchy. Why, if the U.S. government tried to do one-tenth of what General Motors does, General Motors would go into armed revolt. It's what you might call a paradox sir.
John Steinbeck (The Short Reign of Pippin IV)
Today, as cities and suburbs reinvent themselves, and as cynics claim that government has nothing good to contribute to that process, it's important that institutions like libraries get the recognition they deserve. After all, the root of the word "library," liber; means both "book" and "free." Libraries stand for and exemplify something that needs defending: the public institutions that -- even in an age of atomization and inequality -- serve as bedrocks of civil society. Libraries are the kinds of places where ordinary people with different backgrounds, passions, and interests can take part in a living democratic culture. They are the kinds of places where the public, private, and philanthropic sectors can work together to reach for something higher than the bottom line.
Eric Klinenberg (Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life)
The German delegation, led by a clutch of Social Democratic politicians, arrived in Paris in early May. They expected to be treated, especially by Wilson, as a fellow democratic nation, there to negotiate a final equitable peace. Instead, to their shock and humiliation, they were received as a beaten adversary to be punished and reduced to impotence, while Wilson sat mutely by, doing nothing.
Arthur Herman (1917: Vladimir Lenin, Woodrow Wilson, and the Year That Created the Modern Age)
Under one or another Democratic administration, 120,000 Japanese Americans were torn from their homes and livelihoods and thrown into detention camps; atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki with an enormous loss of innocent life; the FBI was given authority to infiltrate political groups; the Smith Act was used to imprison leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and later on leaders of the Communist party for their political beliefs; detention camps were established to round up political dissidents in the event of a “national emergency”; during the late 1940s and 1950s, eight thousand federal workers were purged from government because of their political associations and views, with thousands more in all walks of life witchhunted out of their careers; the Neutrality Act was used to impose an embargo on the Spanish Republic that worked in favor of Franco’s fascist legions; homicidal counterinsurgency programs were initiated in various Third World countries; and the Vietnam War was pursued and escalated. And for the better part of a century, the Congressional leadership of the Democratic party protected racial segregation and stymied all antilynching and fair employment bills. Yet all these crimes, bringing ruination and death to many, have not moved the liberals, the social democrats, and the “democratic socialist” anticommunists to insist repeatedly that we issue blanket condemnations of either the Democratic party or the political system that produced it, certainly not with the intolerant fervor that has been directed against existing communism.
Michael Parenti (Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism)
Because no one of us lives for himself and no one dies for himself. For if we live, then we live for the Lord; and if we die, then we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.' Pastor Jón Prímus to himself: That's rather good. With that he thrust the manual into his cassock pocket, turned towards the coffin, and said: That was the formula, Mundi. I was trying to get you to understand it, but it didn't work out; actually it did not matter. We cannot get round this formula anyway. It's easy to prove that the formula is wrong, but it is at least so right that the world came into existence. But it is a waste of words to try to impute to the Creator democratic ideas or social virtues; or to think that one can move Him with weeping and wailing, and persuade Him with logic and legal quibbles. Nothing is so pointless as words. The late pastor Jens of Setberg knew all this and more besides. But he also knew that the formula is kept in a locker. The rest comes by itself. The Creation, which includes you and me, we are in the formula, this very formula I have just been reading; and there is no way out of it. Because no one lives for himself and so on; and whether we live or die, we and so on. You are annoyed that demons should govern the world and that consequently there is only one virtue that is taken seriously by the newspapers: killings. You said they had discovered a machine to destroy everything that draws breath on earth; they were now trying to agree on a method of accomplishing this task quickly and cleanly; preferably while having a cocktail. They are trying to break out of the formula, poor wretches. Who can blame them for that? Who has never wanted to do that? Many consider the human being to be the most useless animal on earth or even the lowest stage of evolution in all the universe put together, and that it is more than high time to wipe this creature out, like the mammoth in the tundras. We once knew a war maiden, you and I. There was only one word ever found for her: Úa. So wonderful was this creation that it's no exaggeration to say that she was completely unbearable; indeed I think that we two helped one another to destroy her, and yet perhaps she is still alive. There was never anything like her. ... In conclusion I, as the local pastor, thank you for having participated in carrying the Creation on your shoulders alongside me.
Halldór Laxness (Under the Glacier)
my purpose here is to scrutinize the tacit Democratic boast about always being better than those crazy Republicans. In truth, what Bill Clinton accomplished were things that no Republican could have done. Thanks to our two-party system, Democratic politicians carry a brand identity that inhibits them in some ways but allows them remarkable latitude in others. They are forever seen as weaklings in the face of the country’s enemies, for example; but on basic economic questions they are trusted to do the right thing for average people. That a Democrat might be the one to pick apart the safety net is a violation of this basic brand identity, but by the very structure of the system it is extremely difficult to hold the party accountable for such a deed. This, in turn, is why only a Democrat was able to do that job and get away with it. Only a Democrat was capable of getting bank deregulation passed; only a Democrat could have rammed NAFTA through Congress; and only a Democrat would be capable of privatizing Social Security, as George W. Bush found out in 2005. “It’s kind of the Nixon-goes-to-China theory,” the conservative Democrat Charles Stenholm told the historian Steven Gillon on this last subject. “It takes a Democrat to do some of the hard choices in social programs.”19
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?)
New Rule: Americans must realize what makes NFL football so great: socialism. That's right, the NFL takes money from the rich teams and gives it to the poorer one...just like President Obama wants to do with his secret army of ACORN volunteers. Green Bay, Wisconsin, has a population of one hundred thousand. Yet this sleepy little town on the banks of the Fuck-if-I-know River has just as much of a chance of making it to the Super Bowl as the New York Jets--who next year need to just shut the hell up and play. Now, me personally, I haven't watched a Super Bowl since 2004, when Janet Jackson's nipple popped out during halftime. and that split-second glimpse of an unrestrained black titty burned by eyes and offended me as a Christian. But I get it--who doesn't love the spectacle of juiced-up millionaires giving one another brain damage on a giant flatscreen TV with a picture so real it feels like Ben Roethlisberger is in your living room, grabbing your sister? It's no surprise that some one hundred million Americans will watch the Super Bowl--that's forty million more than go to church on Christmas--suck on that, Jesus! It's also eighty-five million more than watched the last game of the World Series, and in that is an economic lesson for America. Because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich almost always win and the poor usually have no chance. The World Series is like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You have to be a rich bitch just to play. The Super Bowl is like Tila Tequila. Anyone can get in. Or to put it another way, football is more like the Democratic philosophy. Democrats don't want to eliminate capitalism or competition, but they'd like it if some kids didn't have to go to a crummy school in a rotten neighborhood while others get to go to a great school and their dad gets them into Harvard. Because when that happens, "achieving the American dream" is easy for some and just a fantasy for others. That's why the NFL literally shares the wealth--TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put all of it in a big commie pot and split it thirty-two ways. Because they don't want anyone to fall too far behind. That's why the team that wins the Super Bowl picks last in the next draft. Or what the Republicans would call "punishing success." Baseball, on the other hand, is exactly like the Republicans, and I don't just mean it's incredibly boring. I mean their economic theory is every man for himself. The small-market Pittsburgh Steelers go to the Super Bowl more than anybody--but the Pittsburgh Pirates? Levi Johnston has sperm that will not grow and live long enough to see the Pirates in a World Series. Their payroll is $40 million; the Yankees' is $206 million. The Pirates have about as much chance as getting in the playoffs as a poor black teenager from Newark has of becoming the CEO of Halliburton. So you kind of have to laugh--the same angry white males who hate Obama because he's "redistributing wealth" just love football, a sport that succeeds economically because it does just that. To them, the NFL is as American as hot dogs, Chevrolet, apple pie, and a second, giant helping of apple pie.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Concluding that democracy was indefensible—for reasons similar to those suggested by Brennan, Caplan, Friedman, and others—Shepard urged his fellow political scientists to disabuse themselves of their unjustified faith in the public: the electorate “must lose the halo which has surrounded it. . . . The dogma of universal suffrage must give way to a system of educational and other tests which will exclude the ignorant, the uninformed, and the anti-social elements which hitherto have so frequently controlled elections.”7 Even John Dewey, who had once declared his own “democratic faith,” in a long debate with Walter Lippmann acknowledged that the public was unlikely to be able to rise to the level of civic knowledge and competence demanded in a period of ever more complexity, and suggested that Whitman-like poets would be needed to provide a suitable and accessible “presentation” of the complex political and scientific information needed by the citizenry of a complex modern society.8
Patrick J. Deneen (Why Liberalism Failed (Politics and Culture))
In the democratic, egalitarian spirit of our day, we hold in suspicion positions of social authority, yet we submit to the power of peers. Social anxiety, peer group pressure, and competition all dictate our lives. Many are more afraid of offending their friends than they are of offending figures of authority. We have moved from a culture based upon hierarchy to a peerarchy. Ironically we flee from relational distinctions and boundaries, yet without these traditions and boundaries we become mired in codependency.
Mark Sayers (Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm)
Complex operations, in which agencies assume complementary roles and operate in close proximity-often with similar missions but conflicting mandates-accentuate these tensions. The tensions are evident in the processes of analyzing complex environments, planning for complex interventions, and implementing complex operations. Many reports and analyses forecast that these complex operations are precisely those that will demand our attention most in the indefinite future. As essayist Barton and O'Connell note, our intelligence and understanding of the root cause of conflict, multiplicity of motivations and grievances, and disposition of actors is often inadequate. Moreover, the problems that complex operations are intended and implemented to address are convoluted, and often inscrutable. They exhibit many if not all the characteristics of "wicked problems," as enumerated by Rittel and Webber in 1973: they defy definitive formulations; any proposed solution or intervention causes the problem to mutate, so there is no second chance at a solution; every situation is unique; each wicked problem can be considered a symptom of another problem. As a result, policy objectives are often compound and ambiguous. The requirements of stability, for example, in Afghanistan today, may conflict with the requirements for democratic governance. Efforts to establish an equitable social contract may well exacerbate inter-communal tensions that can lead to violence. The rule of law, as we understand it, may displace indigenous conflict management and stabilization systems. The law of unintended consequences may indeed be the only law of the land. The complexity of the challenges we face in the current global environment would suggest the obvious benefit of joint analysis - bringing to bear on any given problem the analytic tools of military, diplomatic and development analysts. Instead, efforts to analyze jointly are most often an afterthought, initiated long after a problem has escalated to a level of urgency that negates much of the utility of deliberate planning.
Michael Miklaucic (Commanding Heights: Strategic Lessons from Complex Operations)
Democrats have become the party of socialism, open borders, sanctuary cities, the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), underfunding the military, abortion on demand, infanticide, environmental extremism, gun confiscation, higher taxes, radical identity politics, suppression of free speech and religious expression, and among some Democratic members of Congress, undisguised anti-Semitism. They’re also the party of intolerance, smears, lies, character assassination, besmirchment, and fake Russian dossiers.
Sean Hannity (Live Free or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink)
In the case of Tunisia, it was indeed this single act that sparked what had been long-standing active protest movements and moved them forward. But that's not so unusual. Let's look at our own history. Take the civil rights movement. There had been plenty of concern and activism about violent repression of blacks in the South, and it took a couple of students sitting in at a lunch counter to really set it off. Small acts can make a big difference when there is a background of concern, understanding, and preliminary activism.
Noam Chomsky (Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire)
Ignorance of the character structure of masses of people invariably leads to fruitless questioning. The Communists, for example, said that it was the misdirected policies of the Social Democrats that made it possible for the fascists to seize power. Actually this explanation did not explain anything, for it was precisely the Social Democrats who made a point of spreading illusions. In short, it did not result in a new mode of action. That political reaction in the form of fascism had 'befogged,' 'corrupted,' and 'hypnotized' the masses is an explanation that is as sterile as the others. This is and will continue to be the function of fascism as long as it exists. Such explanations are sterile because they fail to offer a way out. Experience teaches us that such disclosures, no matter how often they are repeated, do not convince the masses; that, in other words, social economic inquiry by itself is not enough. Wouldn't it be closer to the mark to ask, what was going on in the masses that they could not and would not recognize the function of fascism? To say that, 'The workers have to realize...' or 'We didn't understand...' does not serve any purpose. Why didn't the workers realize, and why didn't they understand? The questions that formed the basis of the discussion between the Right and the Left in the workers' movements are also to be regarded as sterile. The Right contended that the workers were not predisposed to fight; the Left, on the other hand, refuted this and asserted that the workers were revolutionary and that the Right's statement was a betrayal of revolutionary thinking. Both assertions, because they failed to see the complexities of the issue, were rigidly mechanistic. A realistic appraisal would have had to point out that the average worker bears a contradiction in himself; that he, in other words, is neither a clear-cut revolutionary nor a clear-cut conservative, but stands divided. His psychic structure derives on the one hand from the social situation (which prepares the ground for revolutionary attitudes) and on the other hand from the entire atmosphere of authoritarian society—the two being at odds with one another.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
Bernays’s business partner, Paul Mazur, said, “We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture.… People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.” As Bernays later wrote, in 1928, the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government that is the true ruling power of this country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.… In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons … who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
Al Gore (The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change)
We see, as in the universes of the material kosmos, after meteorological, vegetable, and animal cycles, man at last arises, born through them, to prove them, concentrate them, to turn upon them with wonder and love -- to command them, adorn them, and carry them upward into superior realms -- so, out of the series of the preceding social and political universes, now arise these States. We see that while many were supposing things established and completed, really the grandest things always remain; and discover that the work of the New World is not ended, but only fairly begun
Walt Whitman (Democratic Vistas and Other Papers)
What may be learned from the rebuttals made by the defendants in New Jersey and from the protests that were sparked by the decision of the court? Much of the resistance, it appears, derives from a conservative anxiety that equity equates to "leveling." The fear that comes across in many of the letters and the editorials in the New Jersey press is that democratizing opportunity will undermine diversity and even elegance in our society and that the best schools will be dragged down to a sullen norm, a mediocre middle ground of uniformity. References to Eastern European socialism keep appearing in these letters.
Jonathan Kozol (Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools)
The fascist dictator declares that the masses of people are biologically inferior and crave authority, that basically, they are slaves by nature. Hence, a totalitarian authoritarian regime is the only possible form of government for such people. It is significant that all dictators who today plunge the world into misery stem from the suppressed masses of people. They are intimately familiar with this sickness on the part of masses of people. What they lack is an insight into natural processes and development, the will to truth and research, so that they are never moved by a desire to want to change these facts. On the other hand, the formal democratic leaders made the mistake of assuming that the masses of people were automatically capable of freedom and thereby precluded every possibility of establishing freedom and self-responsibility in masses of people as long as they were in power. They were engulfed in the catastrophe and will never reappear. Our answer is scientific and rational. It is based on the fact that masses of people are indeed incapable of freedom, but it does not—as racial mysticism does—look upon this incapacity as absolute, innate, and eternal. It regards this incapacity as the result of former social conditions of life and, therefore, as changeable.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
The Republicans have successfully persuaded much of the public that they are the party of Joe Sixpack and Democrats are the party of Jessica Yogamat. The result is that today certain swaths of the country are so thoroughly dominated by the radical Republican right that certain federal laws and even constitutional protections are, practically speaking, a dead letter there. If identity liberals were thinking politically, not pseudo-politically, they would concentrate on turning that around at the local level, not on organizing yet another march in Washington or preparing yet another federal court brief. The paradox of identity liberalism is that it paralyzes the capacity to think and act in a way that would actually accomplish the things it professes to want. It is mesmerized by symbols: achieving superficial diversity in organizations, retelling history to focus on marginal and often minuscule groups, concocting inoffensive euphemisms to describe social reality, protecting young ears and eyes already accustomed to slasher films from any disturbing encounter with alternative viewpoints. Identity liberalism has ceased being a political project and has morphed into an evangelical one. The difference is this: evangelism is about speaking truth to power. Politics is about seizing power to defend the truth.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
Take one famous example: arguments about property destruction after Seattle. Most of these, I think, were really arguments about capitalism. Those who decried window-breaking did so mainly because they wished to appeal to middle-class consumers to move towards global exchange-style green consumerism, and to ally with labor bureaucracies and social democrats abroad. This was not a path designed to provoke a direct confrontation with capitalism, and most of those who urged us to take this route were at least skeptical about the possibility that capitalism could ever really be defeated. Many were in fact in favor of capitalism, if in a significantly humanized form. Those who did break windows, on the other hand, didn't care if they offended suburban homeowners, because they did not figure that suburban homeowners were likely to ever become a significant element in any future revolutionary anticapitalist coalition. They were trying, in effect, to hijack the media to send a message that the system was vulnerable -- hoping to inspire similar insurrectionary acts on the part of those who might be considering entering a genuinely revolutionary alliance; alienated teenagers, oppressed people of color, undocumented workers, rank-and-file laborers impatient with union bureaucrats, the homeless, the unemployed, the criminalized, the radically discontent. If a militant anticapitalist movement was to begin, in America, it would have to start with people like these: people who don't need to be convinced that the system is rotten, only, that there's something they can do about it. And at any rate, even if it were possible to have an anticapitalist revolution without gun-battles in the streets -- which most of us are hoping it is, since let's face it, if we come up against the US army, we will lose -- there's no possible way we could have an anticapitalist revolution while at the same time scrupulously respecting property rights. Yes, that will probably mean the suburban middle class will be the last to come on board. But they would probably be the last to come on board anyway.
David Graeber (Revolutions in Reverse: Essays on Politics, Violence, Art, and Imagination)
When, then, the Social Democrat worker found himself in the economic crisis which degraded him to the status of a coolie, the development of his revolutionary sentiments was severely retarded by the conservative structuralization that had been taking shape in him for decades. Either he remained in the camp of the Social Democrats, notwithstanding his criticism and rejection of their policies, or he went over to the NSDAP [Nazi party] in search of a better replacement. Irresolute and indecisive, owing to the deep contradiction between revolutionary and conservative sentiments, disappointed by his own leadership, he followed the line of least resistance. Whether he would give up his conservative tendencies and arrive at a complete consciousness of his actual responsibility in the production process, i.e., at a revolutionary consciousness, depended solely on the correct or incorrect leadership of the revolutionary party. Thus the communist assertion that it was the Social Democrat policies that put fascism in the saddle was correct from a psychological viewpoint. Disappointment in Social Democracy, accompanied by the contradiction between wretchedness and conservative thinking, must lead to fascism if there are no revolutionary organizations. For example, following the fiasco of the Labor party's policies in England, in 1930–31, fascism began to infiltrate the workers who, then, in the election of 1931, cut away to the Right, instead of going over to communism.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
An oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms, to acquire arms, only deserves to be treated like slaves. We cannot, unless we have become bourgeois pacifists or opportunists, forget that we are living in a class society from which there is no way out, nor can there be, save through the class struggle. In every class society, whether based on slavery, serfdom, or, as at present, wage-labor, the oppressor class is always armed. Not only the modern standing army, but even the modern militia - and even in the most democratic bourgeois republics, Switzerland, for instance - represent the bourgeoisie armed against the proletariat. That is such an elementary truth that it is hardly necessary to dwell upon it. Suffice it to point to the use of troops against strikers in all capitalist countries. A bourgeoisie armed against the proletariat is one of the biggest fundamental and cardinal facts of modern capitalist society. And in face of this fact, revolutionary Social-Democrats are urged to “demand” “disarmament”! That is tantamount of complete abandonment of the class-struggle point of view, to renunciation of all thought of revolution. Our slogan must be: arming of the proletariat to defeat, expropriate and disarm the bourgeoisie. These are the only tactics possible for a revolutionary class, tactics that follow logically from, and are dictated by, the whole objective development of capitalist militarism. Only after the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie will it be able, without betraying its world-historic mission, to consign all armaments to the scrap-heap. And the proletariat will undoubtedly do this, but only when this condition has been fulfilled, certainly not before.
Vladimir Lenin (The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution)
Alexis de Tocqueville warned that as the economy and government of America got bigger, citizens could become smaller: less practiced in the forms of everyday power, more dependent on vast distant social machines, more isolated and atomized--and therefore more susceptible to despotism. He warned that if the "habits of the heart" fed by civic clubs and active self-government evaporated, citizens would regress to pure egoism. They would stop thinking about things greater than their immediate circle. Public life would disappear. And that would only accelerate their own disempowerment. This is painfully close to a description of the United States since Trump and Europe since Brexit. And the only way to reverse this vicious cycle of retreat and atrophy is to reverse it: to find a sense of purpose that is greater than the self, and to exercise power with others and for others in democratic life.
Eric Liu (You're More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Change Happen)
In terms of literary history, the publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798 is seen as a landmark. The volume contains many of the best-known Romantic poems. The second edition in 1800 contained a Preface in which Wordsworth discusses the theories of poetry which were to be so influential on many of his and Coleridge's contemporaries. The Preface represents a poetic manifesto which is very much in the spirit of the age. The movement towards greater freedom and democracy in political and social affairs is paralleled by poetry which sought to overturn the existing regime and establish a new, more 'democratic' poetic order. To do this, the writers used 'the real language of men' (Preface to Lyrical Ballads) and even, in the case of Byron and Shelley, got directly involved in political activities themselves. The Romantic age in literature is often contrasted with the Classical or Augustan age which preceded it. The comparison is valuable, for it is not simply two different attitudes to literature which are being compared but two different ways of seeing and experiencing life. The Classical or Augustan age of the early and mid-eighteenth century stressed the importance of reason and order. Strong feelings and flights of the imagination had to be controlled (although they were obviously found widely, especially in poetry). The swift improvements in medicine, economics, science and engineering, together with rapid developments in both agricultural and industrial technology, suggested human progress on a grand scale. At the centre of these advances towards a perfect society was mankind, and it must have seemed that everything was within man's grasp if his baser, bestial instincts could be controlled. The Classical temperament trusts reason, intellect, and the head. The Romantic temperament prefers feelings, intuition, and the heart.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Lynum had plenty of information to share. The FBI's files on Mario Savio, the brilliant philosophy student who was the spokesman for the Free Speech Movement, were especially detailed. Savio had a debilitating stutter when speaking to people in small groups, but when standing before a crowd and condemning his administration's latest injustice he spoke with divine fire. His words had inspired students to stage what was the largest campus protest in American history. Newspapers and magazines depicted him as the archetypal "angry young man," and it was true that he embodied a student movement fueled by anger at injustice, impatience for change, and a burning desire for personal freedom. Hoover ordered his agents to gather intelligence they could use to ruin his reputation or otherwise "neutralize" him, impatiently ordering them to expedite their efforts. Hoover's agents had also compiled a bulging dossier on the man Savio saw as his enemy: Clark Kerr. As campus dissent mounted, Hoover came to blame the university president more than anyone else for not putting an end to it. Kerr had led UC to new academic heights, and he had played a key role in establishing the system that guaranteed all Californians access to higher education, a model adopted nationally and internationally. But in Hoover's eyes, Kerr confused academic freedom with academic license, coddled Communist faculty members, and failed to crack down on "young punks" like Savio. Hoover directed his agents to undermine the esteemed educator in myriad ways. He wanted Kerr removed from his post as university president. As he bluntly put it in a memo to his top aides, Kerr was "no good." Reagan listened intently to Lynum's presentation, but he wanted more--much more. He asked for additional information on Kerr, for reports on liberal members of the Board of Regents who might oppose his policies, and for intelligence reports about any upcoming student protests. Just the week before, he had proposed charging tuition for the first time in the university's history, setting off a new wave of protests up and down the state. He told Lynum he feared subversives and liberals would attempt to misrepresent his efforts to establish fiscal responsibility, and that he hoped the FBI would share information about any upcoming demonstrations against him, whether on campus or at his press conferences. It was Reagan's fear, according to Lynum's subsequent report, "that some of his press conferences could be stacked with 'left wingers' who might make an attempt to embarrass him and the state government." Lynum said he understood his concerns, but following Hoover's instructions he made no promises. Then he and Harter wished the ailing governor a speedy recovery, departed the mansion, slipped into their dark four-door Ford, and drove back to the San Francisco field office, where Lynum sent an urgent report to the director. The bedside meeting was extraordinary, but so was the relationship between Reagan and Hoover. It had begun decades earlier, when the actor became an informer in the FBI's investigation of Hollywood Communists. When Reagan was elected president of the Screen Actors Guild, he secretly continued to help the FBI purge fellow actors from the union's rolls. Reagan's informing proved helpful to the House Un-American Activities Committee as well, since the bureau covertly passed along information that could help HUAC hold the hearings that wracked Hollywood and led to the blacklisting and ruin of many people in the film industry. Reagan took great satisfaction from his work with the FBI, which gave him a sense of security and mission during a period when his marriage to Jane Wyman was failing, his acting career faltering, and his faith in the Democratic Party of his father crumbling. In the following years, Reagan and FBI officials courted each other through a series of confidential contacts. (7-8)
Seth Rosenfeld (Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power)
Congress would later find that though bureau officials undertook COINTELPRO in the name of national security, its purpose was “preventing or disrupting the exercise of First Amendment rights.” The program took tactics developed for use against foreign adversaries during war and applied them to citizens: leaking phony allegations, sending anonymous poison-pen letters, interfering with jobs, having people arrested on drug charges, distributing misinformation, and encouraging violence. “In essence, the Bureau took the law into its own hands, conducting a sophisticated vigilante operation against domestic enemies,” the committee said. “Many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, but COINTELPRO went far beyond that. The unexpressed major premise of the programs was a law enforcement agency has the duty to do whatever is necessary to combat perceived threats to the existing social and political order.
Seth Rosenfeld (Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power)
Much of the so-called environmental movement today has transmuted into an aggressively nefarious and primitive faction. In the last fifteen years, many of the tenets of utopian statism have coalesced around something called the “degrowth” movement. Originating in Europe but now taking a firm hold in the United States, the “degrowthers,” as I shall characterize them, include in their ranks none other than President Barack Obama. On January 17, 2008, Obama made clear his hostility toward, of all things, electricity generated from coal and coal-powered plants. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal . . . under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. . . .”3 Obama added, “. . . So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”4 Degrowthers define their agenda as follows: “Sustainable degrowth is a downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions.”5 It “is an essential economic strategy to pursue in overdeveloped countries like the United States—for the well-being of the planet, of underdeveloped populations, and yes, even of the sick, stressed, and overweight ‘consumer’ populations of overdeveloped countries.”6 For its proponents and adherents, degrowth has quickly developed into a pseudo-religion and public-policy obsession. In fact, the degrowthers insist their ideology reaches far beyond the environment or even its odium for capitalism and is an all-encompassing lifestyle and governing philosophy. Some of its leading advocates argue that “Degrowth is not just an economic concept. We shall show that it is a frame constituted by a large array of concerns, goals, strategies and actions. As a result, degrowth has now become a confluence point where streams of critical ideas and political action converge.”7 Degrowth is “an interpretative frame for a social movement, understood as the mechanism through which actors engage in a collective action.”8 The degrowthers seek to eliminate carbon sources of energy and redistribute wealth according to terms they consider equitable. They reject the traditional economic reality that acknowledges growth as improving living conditions generally but especially for the impoverished. They embrace the notions of “less competition, large scale redistribution, sharing and reduction of excessive incomes and wealth.”9 Degrowthers want to engage in polices that will set “a maximum income, or maximum wealth, to weaken envy as a motor of consumerism, and opening borders (“no-border”) to reduce means to keep inequality between rich and poor countries.”10 And they demand reparations by supporting a “concept of ecological debt, or the demand that the Global North pays for past and present colonial exploitation in the Global South.”11
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
In the elaborate con that is American electoral politics, the Republican voter has long been the easiest mark in the game, the biggest dope in the room. Everyone inside the Beltway knows this. The Republican voters themselves are the only ones who never saw it. Elections are about a lot of things, but at the highest level, they’re about money. The people who sponsor election campaigns, who pay the hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the candidates’ charter jets and TV ads and 25-piece marching bands, those people have concrete needs. They want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, antitrust waivers and dozens of other things. They mostly don’t care about abortion or gay marriage or school vouchers or any of the social issues the rest of us spend our time arguing about. It’s about money for them, and as far as that goes, the CEO class has had a brilliantly winning electoral strategy for a generation. They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population. The Republicans give them everything that they want, while the Democrats only give them mostly everything. They get everything from the Republicans because you don’t have to make a single concession to a Republican voter. All you have to do to secure a Republican vote is show lots of pictures of gay people kissing or black kids with their pants pulled down or Mexican babies at an emergency room. Then you push forward some dingbat like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin to reassure everyone that the Republican Party knows who the real Americans are. Call it the “Rove 1-2.” That’s literally all it’s taken to secure decades of Republican votes, a few patriotic words and a little over-the-pants rubbing. Policywise, a typical Republican voter never even asks a politician to go to second base. While we always got free trade agreements and wars and bailouts and mass deregulation of industry and lots of other stuff the donors definitely wanted, we didn’t get Roe v. Wade overturned or prayer in schools or balanced budgets or censorship of movies and video games or any of a dozen other things Republican voters said they wanted.
Matt Taibbi (Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus)
Since the 1970s, the battlefields on which the contradictions of democratic capitalism are fought out have become ever more complex, making it exceedingly difficult for anyone outside the political and financial elites to recognize the underlying interests and identify their own. While this may generate apathy on the mass level and thereby make life easier for the elites, there is no relying on it, in a world in which blind compliance with financial investors is propounded as the only rational and responsible behavior. To those who refuse to be talked out of other social rationalities and responsibilities, such a world may appear simply absurd - at which the only rational and responsible conduct to throw as many as wrenches as into the works of haute finance. Where democracy as we know it is effectively suspended, as it already is in countries like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, street riots and popular insurrection may be the last remaining mode of political expression for those devoid of market power. Should we hope in the name of democracy that we will soon have the opportunity to observe a few more examples?
Wolfgang Streeck (How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System)
Gossip is perhaps the most familiar and elementary form of disguised popular aggression. Though its use is hardly confined to attacks by subordinates on their superiors, it represents a relatively safe social sanction. Gossip, almost by definition has no identifiable author, but scores of eager retailers who can claim they are just passing on the news. Should the gossip—and here I have in mind malicious gossip—be challenged, everyone can disavow responsibility for having originated it. The Malay term for gossip and rumor, khabar angin (news on the wind), captures the diffuse quality of responsibility that makes such aggression possible. The character of gossip that distinguishes it from rumor is that gossip consists typically of stories that are designated to ruin the reputation of some identifiable person or persons. If the perpetrators remain anonymous, the victim is clearly specified. There is, arguably, something of a disguised democratic voice about gossip in the sense that it is propagated only to the extent that others find it in their interest to retell the story.13 If they don’t, it disappears. Above all, most gossip is a discourse about social rules that have been violated. A person’s reputation can be damaged by stories about his tightfistedness, his insulting words, his cheating, or his clothing only if the public among whom such tales circulate have shared standards of generosity, polite speech, honesty, and appropriate dress. Without an accepted normative standard from which degrees of deviation may be estimated, the notion of gossip would make no sense whatever. Gossip, in turn, reinforces these normative standards by invoking them and by teaching anyone who gossips precisely what kinds of conduct are likely to be mocked or despised. 13. The power to gossip is more democratically distributed than power, property, and income, and, certainly, than the freedom to speak openly. I do not mean to imply that gossip cannot and is not used by superiors to control subordinates, only that resources on this particular field of struggle are relatively more favorable to subordinates. Some people’s gossip is weightier than that of others, and, providing we do not confuse status with mere public deference, one would expect that those with high personal status would be the most effective gossipers.
James C. Scott (Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts)
This was a talk to an anarchist conference, and in my view the libertarian movements have been very shortsighted in pursuing doctrine in a rigid fashion without being concerned about the human consequences. So it's perfectly proper… I mean, in my view, and that of a few others, the state is an illegitimate institution. But it does not follow from that that you should not support the state. Sometimes there is a more illegitimate institution which will take over if you do not support this illegitimate institution. So, if you're concerned with the people, let's be concrete, let's take the United States. There is a state sector that does awful things, but it also happens to do some good things. As a result of centuries of extensive popular struggle there is a minimal welfare system that provides support for poor mothers and children. That's under attack in an effort to minimize the state. Well, anarchists can't seem to understand that they are to support that. So they join with the ultra-right in saying "Yes, we've got to minimize the state," meaning put more power into the hands of private tyrannies which are completely unaccountable to the public and purely totalitarian. It's kind of reminiscent of an old Communist Party slogan back in the early thirties "The worse, the better." So there was a period when the Communist Party was refusing to combat fascism on the theory that if you combat fascism, you join the social democrats and they are not good guys, so "the worse, the better." That was the slogan I remember from childhood. Well, they got the worse: Hitler. If you care about the question of whether seven-year-old children have food to eat, you'll support the state sector at this point, recognizing that in the long term it's illegitimate. I know that a lot of people find that hard to deal with and personally I'm under constant critique from the left for not being principled. Principle to them means opposing the state sector, even though opposing the state sector at this conjuncture means placing power into the hands of private totalitarian organizations who would be delighted to see children starve. I think we have to be able to keep those ideas in our heads if we want to think constructively about the problems of the future. In fact, protecting the state sector today is a step towards abolishing the state because it maintains a public arena in which people can participate, and organize, and affect policy, and so on, though in limited ways. If that's removed, we'd go back to a [...] dictatorship or say a private dictatorship, but that's hardly a step towards liberation.
Noam Chomsky (Chomsky On Anarchism)
One might say that, until now, the social, cultural, and political framework for knowledge of the Gulag has not been in place. I first became aware of this problem several years ago, when walking across the Charles Bridge, a major tourist attraction in what was then newly democratic Prague. There were buskers and hustlers along the bridge, and, every fifteen feet or so someone was selling precisely what one would expect to find for sale in such a postcard-perfect spot. Paintings of appropriately pretty streets were on display, along with bargain jewelry and 'Prague' key chains. Among the bric-a-brac, one could buy Soviet military paraphernalia: caps, badges, belt buckles, and little pins, the tin Lenin and Brezhnev images that Soviet schoolchildren once pinned to their uniforms. The sight struck me as odd. Most of the people buying the Soviet paraphernalia were Americans and West Europeans. All would be sickened by the thought of wearing a swastika. None objected, however, to wearing the hammer and sickle on a T-shirt or a hat. It was a minor observation, but sometimes, it is through just such minor observations that a cultural mood is best observed. For here, the lesson could not have been clearer: while the symbol of one mass murder fills us with horror, the symbol of another mass murder makes us laugh.
Anne Applebaum (Gulag: A History)
You might have thought that, faced with a novel anti-political picture of the nation, liberals would have countered with an imaginative, hopeful vision of what we share as Americans and what we might accomplish together. Instead, they lost themselves in the thickets of identity politics and developed a resentful, disuniting rhetoric of difference to match it. You might have thought that, faced with Republican's steady acquisition of institutional power, they would have poured their energies into helping the Democratic Party win elections at every level of government and in every region of the country, reaching out especially to working-class Americans who used to vote for it. Instead, they became enthralled with social movements operating outside those institutions and developed disdain for the demos living between the coasts. You might have thought that, faced with the dogma of radical economic individualism that Reaganism normalized, liberals would have used their positions in our educational institutions to teach young people that they share a destiny with all their fellow citizens and have duties toward them. Instead, they trained students to be spelunkers of their personal identities and left them incurious about the world outside of their heads. You might have thought a lot of reasonable things. And you would have been wrong.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
Neoliberal economics, the logic of which is tending today to win out throughout the world thanks to international bodies like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund and the governments to whom they, directly or indirectly, dictate their principles of ‘governance’,10 owes a certain number of its allegedly universal characteristics to the fact that it is immersed or embedded in a particular society, that is to say, rooted in a system of beliefs and values, an ethos and a moral view of the world, in short, an economic common sense, linked, as such, to the social and cognitive structures of a particular social order. It is from this particular economy that neoclassical economic theory borrows its fundamental assumptions, which it formalizes and rationalizes, thereby establishing them as the foundations of a universal model. That model rests on two postulates (which their advocates regard as proven propositions): the economy is a separate domain governed by natural and universal laws with which governments must not interfere by inappropriate intervention; the market is the optimum means for organizing production and trade efficiently and equitably in democratic societies. It is the universalization of a particular case, that of the United States of America, characterized fundamentally by the weakness of the state which, though already reduced to a bare minimum, has been further weakened by the ultra-liberal conservative revolution, giving rise as a consequence to various typical characteristics: a policy oriented towards withdrawal or abstention by the state in economic matters; the shifting into the private sector (or the contracting out) of ‘public services’ and the conversion of public goods such as health, housing, safety, education and culture – books, films, television and radio – into commercial goods and the users of those services into clients; a renunciation (linked to the reduction in the capacity to intervene in the economy) of the power to equalize opportunities and reduce inequality (which is tending to increase excessively) in the name of the old liberal ‘self-help’ tradition (a legacy of the Calvinist belief that God helps those who help themselves) and of the conservative glorification of individual responsibility (which leads, for example, to ascribing responsibility for unemployment or economic failure primarily to individuals, not to the social order, and encourages the delegation of functions of social assistance to lower levels of authority, such as the region or city); the withering away of the Hegelian–Durkheimian view of the state as a collective authority with a responsibility to act as the collective will and consciousness, and a duty to make decisions in keeping with the general interest and contribute to promoting greater solidarity. Moreover,
Pierre Bourdieu (The Social Structures of the Economy)
The state's case against Smith, however, did claim to speak to his actual guilt or innocence, and it has to be considered carefully. The reason this is important has nothing to do with Roy Smith or Bessie Goldberg or even Al DeSalvo; they're all dead. In some ways there is nothing less relevant than an old murder case. The reason it is important is this: Here is a group of people who have gathered to judge--and possibly execute--a fellow citizen. It's the highest calling there is, the very thing that separates us from social anarchy, and it has to be done well. A trial, however, is just a microcosm of the entire political system. When a democratic government decides to raise taxes or wage war or write child safety laws, it is essentially saying to an enormous jury, "This is our theory of how the world works, and this is our proposal for dealing with it. If our theory makes sense to you, vote for us in the next election. If it doesn't, throw us out." The ability of citizens to scrutinize the theories insisted on by their government is their only protection against abuse of power and, ultimately, against tyranny. If ordinary citizens can't coolly and rationally evaluate a prosecutor's summation in a criminal trial, they won't have a chance at calling to task a deceitful government. And all governments are deceitful--they're deceitful because it's easier than being honest. Most of the time, it's no more sinister than that.
Sebastian Junger (A Death in Belmont)
In the first place, this is a history of Europe’s reduction. The constituent states of Europe could no longer aspire, after 1945, to international or imperial status. The two exceptions to this rule—the Soviet Union and, in part, Great Britain—were both only half-European in their own eyes and in any case, by the end of the period recounted here, they too were much reduced. Most of the rest of continental Europe had been humiliated by defeat and occupation. It had not been able to liberate itself from Fascism by its own efforts; nor was it able, unassisted, to keep Communism at bay. Post-war Europe was liberated—or immured—by outsiders. Only with considerable effort and across long decades did Europeans recover control of their own destiny. Shorn of their overseas territories Europe’s erstwhile sea-borne empires (Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal) were all shrunk back in the course of these years to their European nuclei, their attention re-directed to Europe itself. Secondly, the later decades of the twentieth century saw the withering away of the ‘master narratives’ of European history: the great nineteenth-century theories of history, with their models of progress and change, of revolution and transformation, that had fuelled the political projects and social movements that tore Europe apart in the first half of the century. This too is a story that only makes sense on a pan-European canvas: the decline of political fervor in the West (except among a marginalized intellectual minority) was accompanied—for quite different reasons—by the loss of political faith and the discrediting of official Marxism in the East. For a brief moment in the 1980s, to be sure, it seemed as though the intellectual Right might stage a revival around the equally nineteenth-century project of dismantling ‘society’ and abandoning public affairs to the untrammelled market and the minimalist state; but the spasm passed. After 1989 there was no overarching ideological project of Left or Right on offer in Europe—except the prospect of liberty, which for most Europeans was a promise now fulfilled. Thirdly, and as a modest substitute for the defunct ambitions of Europe’s ideological past, there emerged belatedly—and largely by accident—the ‘European model’. Born of an eclectic mix of Social Democratic and Christian Democratic legislation and the crab-like institutional extension of the European Community and its successor Union, this was a distinctively ‘European’ way of regulating social intercourse and inter-state relations. Embracing everything from child-care to inter-state legal norms, this European approach stood for more than just the bureaucratic practices of the European Union and its member states; by the beginning of the twenty-first century it had become a beacon and example for aspirant EU members and a global challenge to the United States and the competing appeal of the ‘American way of life’.
Tony Judt (Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945)
POLLARD had known better, but instead of pulling rank and insisting that his officers carry out his proposal to sail for the Society Islands, he embraced a more democratic style of command. Modern survival psychologists have determined that this “social”—as opposed to “authoritarian”—form of leadership is ill suited to the early stages of a disaster, when decisions must be made quickly and firmly. Only later, as the ordeal drags on and it is necessary to maintain morale, do social leadership skills become important. Whalemen in the nineteenth century had a clear understanding of these two approaches. The captain was expected to be the authoritarian, what Nantucketers called a fishy man. A fishy man loved to kill whales and lacked the tendency toward self-doubt and self-examination that could get in the way of making a quick decision. To be called “fishy to the backbone” was the ultimate compliment a Nantucketer could receive and meant that he was destined to become, if he wasn’t already, a captain. Mates, however, were expected to temper their fishiness with a more personal, even outgoing, approach. After breaking in the green hands at the onset of the voyage—when they gained their well-deserved reputations as “spit-fires”—mates worked to instill a sense of cooperation among the men. This required them to remain sensitive to the crew’s changeable moods and to keep the lines of communication open. Nantucketers recognized that the positions of captain and first mate required contrasting personalities. Not all mates had the necessary edge to become captains, and there were many future captains who did not have the patience to be successful mates. There was a saying on the island: “[I]t is a pity to spoil a good mate by making him a master.” Pollard’s behavior, after both the knockdown and the whale attack, indicates that he lacked the resolve to overrule his two younger and less experienced officers. In his deference to others, Pollard was conducting himself less like a captain and more like the veteran mate described by the Nantucketer William H. Macy: “[H]e had no lungs to blow his own trumpet, and sometimes distrusted his own powers, though generally found equal to any emergency after it arose. This want of confidence sometimes led him to hesitate, where a more impulsive or less thoughtful man would act at once. In the course of his career he had seen many ‘fishy’ young men lifted over his head.” Shipowners hoped to combine a fishy, hard-driving captain with an approachable and steady mate. But in the labor-starved frenzy of Nantucket in 1819, the Essex had ended up with a captain who had the instincts and soul of a mate, and a mate who had the ambition and fire of a captain. Instead of giving an order and sticking with it, Pollard indulged his matelike tendency to listen to others. This provided Chase—who had no qualms about speaking up—with the opportunity to impose his own will. For better or worse, the men of the Essex were sailing toward a destiny that would be determined, in large part, not by their unassertive captain but by their forceful and fishy mate.
Nathaniel Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex)
What would it mean for us to come to terms with the knowledge that civilization, our whole mode of development and culture, has been premised and built upon extermination—on a history experienced as "terror" without end" (to borrow a phrase from Adorno)? To dwell on such a thought would be to throw into almost unbearable relief the distance between our narratives of inherent human dignity and grace and moral superiority, on the one hand, and the most elemental facts of our actual social existence, on the other. We congratulate ourselves for our social progress—for democratic governance and state-protected civil and human rights (however notional or incompletely defended—yet continue to enslave and kill millions of sensitive creatures who in many biological, hence emotional and cognitive particulars resemble us. To truly meditate on such a contradiction is to comprehend our self-understanding to be not merely flawed, but comically delusional... In the nineteenth century, the animal welfare advocate Edward Maitland warned that our destruction of other animals lead only to our own "debasement and degradation of character" as a species. "For the principles of Humanity cannot be renounced with impunity; but their renunciation, if persisted in, involves inevitably the forfeiture of humanity itself. And to cease through such forfeiture man is to become demon." What else indeed can we call a being but demon who routinely enslaves and kills thousands of millions of other gentle beings, imprisons them in laboratories, electrocutes or poisons or radiates or drowns them?
John Sanbonmatsu (Critical Theory and Animal Liberation)
Having judged, condemned, abandoned his cultural forms, his language, his food habits, his sexual behavior, his way of sitting down, of resting, of laughing, of enjoying himself, the oppressed flings himself upon the imposed culture with the desperation of a drowning man. Developing his technical knowledge in contact with more and more perfected machines, entering into the dynamic circuit of industrial production, meeting men from remote regions in the framework of the concentration of capital, that is to say, on the job, discovering the assembly line, the team, production �time,� in other words yield per hour, the oppressed is shocked to find that he continues to be the object of racism and contempt. It is at this level that racism is treated as a question of persons. �There are a few hopeless racists, but you must admit that on the whole the population likes….� �With time all this will disappear.� �This is the country where there is the least amount of race prejudice.� �At the United Nations there is a commission to fight race prejudice.� Films on race prejudice, poems on race prejudice, messages on race prejudice. Spectacular and futile condemnations of race prejudice. In reality, a colonial country is a racist country. If in England, in Belgium, or in France, despite the democratic principles affirmed by these respective nations, there are still racists, it is these racists who, in their opposition to the country as a whole, are logically consistent. It is not possible to enslave men without logically making them inferior through and through. And racism is only the emotional, affective, sometimes intellectual explanation of this inferiorization. The racist in a culture with racism is therefore normal. He has achieved a perfect harmony of economic relations and ideology. The idea that one forms of man, to be sure, is never totally dependent on economic relations, in other words—and this must not be forgotten—on relations existing historically and geographically among men and groups. An ever greater number of members belonging to racist societies are taking a position. They are dedicating themselves to a world in which racism would be impossible. But everyone is not up to this kind of objectivity, this abstraction, this solemn commitment. One cannot with impunity require of a man that he be against �the prejudices of his group.� And, we repeat, every colonialist group is racist. �Acculturized� and deculturized at one and the same time, the oppressed continues to come up against racism. He finds this sequel illogical, what be has left behind him inexplicable, without motive, incorrect. His knowledge, the appropriation of precise and complicated techniques, sometimes his intellectual superiority as compared to a great number of racists, lead him to qualify the racist world as passion-charged. He perceives that the racist atmosphere impregnates all the elements of the social life. The sense of an overwhelming injustice is correspondingly very strong. Forgetting racism as a consequence, one concentrates on racism as cause. Campaigns of deintoxication are launched. Appeal is made to the sense of humanity, to love, to respect for the supreme values.
Frantz Fanon (Toward the African Revolution)
The white liberal is the worst enemy to America, and the worst enemy to the black man. Let me explain what I mean by the white liberal. In America there is no such thing as Democrat or Republican anymore. In America you have liberals and conservatives. The only people living in the past who think in terms of I’m a Democrat or Republican, is the American Negro. He’s the one that runs around bragging about party affiliation. He’s the one that sticks to the Democrat or sticks to the Republican. But white people are divided into two groups, liberals and conservative. The Democrats who are conservative, vote with the Republicans who are conservative. The Democrats who are liberal vote with the Republicans that are liberal. The white liberal aren’t white people who are for independence, who are moral and ethical in their thinking. They are just a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. The same as the white conservative is a faction of white people that are jockeying for power. They are fighting each other for power and prestige, and the one that is the football in the game is the Negro, 20 million black people. A political football, a political pawn, an economic football, and economic pawn. A social football, a social pawn. The liberal elements of whites are those who have perfected the art of selling themselves to the Negro as a friend of the Negro. Getting sympathy of the Negro, getting the allegiance of the Negro, and getting the mind of the Negro. Then the Negro sides with the white liberal, and the white liberal use the Negro against the white conservative. So that anything that the Negro does is never for his own good, never for his own advancement, never for his own progress, he’s only a pawn in the hands of the white liberal. The worst enemy that the Negro have is this white man that runs around here drooling at the mouth professing to love Negros, and calling himself a liberal, and it is following these white liberals that has perpetuated problems that Negros have. If the Negro wasn’t taken, tricked, or deceived by the white liberal then Negros would get together and solve our own problems. I only cite these things to show you that in America the history of the white liberal has been nothing but a series of trickery designed to make Negros think that the white liberal was going to solve our problems. Our problems will never be solved by the white man. The only way that our problem will be solved is when the black man wakes up, clean himself up, stand on his own feet and stop begging the white man, and take immediate steps to do for ourselves the things that we have been waiting on the white man to do for us. Once we do for self then we will be able to solve our own problems’ "The white conservatives aren't friends of the Negro either, but they at least don't try to hide it. They are like wolves; they show their teeth in a snarl that keeps the Negro always aware of where he stands with them. But the white liberals are foxes, who also show their teeth to the Negro but pretend that they are smiling. The white liberals are more dangerous than the conservatives; they lure the Negro, and as the Negro runs from the growling wolf, he flees into the open jaws of the "smiling" fox. One is the wolf, the other is a fox. No matter what, they’ll both eat you.
Malcom X
Equal protection under the law is not a hard principle to convince Americans of. The difficulty comes in persuading them that it has been violated in particular cases, and of the need to redress the wrong. Prejudice and indifference run deep. Education, social reform, and political action can persuade some. But most people will not feel the sufferings of others unless they feel, even in an abstract way, that 'it could have been me or someone close to me'. Consider the astonishingly rapid transformation of American attitudes toward homosexuality and even gay marriage over the past decades. Gay activism brought these issues to public attention but attitudes were changed during tearful conversations over dinner tables across American when children came out to their parents (and, sometimes, parents came out to their children). Once parents began to accept their children, extended families did too, and today same-sex marriages are celebrated across the country with all the pomp and joy and absurd overspending of traditional American marriages. Race is a wholly different matter. Given the segregation in American society white families have little chance of seeing and therefore understanding the lives of black Americans. I am not black male motorist and never will be. All the more reason, then, that I need some way to identify with one if I am going to be affected by his experience. And citizenship is the only thing I know we share. The more differences between us are emphasized, the less likely I will be to feel outrage at his mistreatment. Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity. There is no denying that by publicizing and protesting police mistreatment of African-Americans the movement mobilized supporters and delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. But there is also no denying that the movement's decision to use this mistreatment to build a general indictment of American society, and its law enforcement institutions, and to use Mau-Mau tactics to put down dissent and demand a confession of sins and public penitence (most spectacularly in a public confrontation with Hillary Clinton, of all people), played into the hands of the Republican right. As soon as you cast an issue exclusively in terms of identity you invite your adversary to do the same. Those who play one race card should be prepared to be trumped by another, as we saw subtly and not so subtly in the 2016 presidential election. And it just gives that adversary an additional excuse to be indifferent to you. There is a reason why the leaders of the civil rights movement did not talk about identity the way black activists do today, and it was not cowardice or a failure to be "woke". The movement shamed America into action by consciously appealing to what we share, so that it became harder for white Americans to keep two sets of books, psychologically speaking: one for "Americans" and one for "Negroes". That those leaders did not achieve complete success does not mean that they failed, nor does it prove that a different approach is now necessary. No other approach is likely to succeed. Certainly not one that demands that white Americans agree in every case on what constitutes discrimination or racism today. In democratic politics it is suicidal to set the bar for agreement higher than necessary for winning adherents and elections.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
to be open and straightforward about their needs for attention in a social setting. It is equally rare for members of a group in American culture to honestly and openly express needs that might be in conflict with that individual’s needs. This value of not just honestly but also openly fully revealing the true feelings and needs present in the group is vital for it’s members to feel emotional safe. It is also vital to keeping the group energy up and for giving the feedback that allows it’s members to know themselves, where they stand in relation to others and for spiritual/psychological growth. Usually group members will simply not object to an individual’s request to take the floor—but then act out in a passive-aggressive manner, by making noise or jokes, or looking at their watches. Sometimes they will take the even more violent and insidious action of going brain-dead while pasting a jack-o’-lantern smile on their faces. Often when someone asks to read something or play a song in a social setting, the response is a polite, lifeless “That would be nice.” In this case, N.I.C.E. means “No Integrity or Congruence Expressed” or “Not Into Communicating Emotion.” So while the sharer is exposing his or her vulnerable creation, others are talking, whispering to each other, or sitting looking like they are waiting for the dental assistant to tell them to come on back. No wonder it’s so scary to ask for people’s attention. In “nice” cultures, you are probably not going to get a straight, open answer. People let themselves be oppressed by someone’s request—and then blame that someone for not being psychic enough to know that “Yes” meant “No.” When were we ever taught to negotiate our needs in relation to a group of people? In a classroom? Never! The teacher is expected to take all the responsibility for controlling who gets heard, about what, and for how long. There is no real opportunity to learn how to nonviolently negotiate for the floor. The only way I was able to pirate away a little of the group’s attention in the school I attended was through adolescent antics like making myself fart to get a few giggles, or asking the teacher questions like, “Why do they call them hemorrhoids and not asteroids?” or “If a number two pencil is so popular, why is it still number two,” or “What is another word for thesaurus?” Some educational psychologists say that western culture schools are designed to socialize children into what is really a caste system disguised as a democracy. And in once sense it is probably good preparation for the lack of true democratic dynamics in our culture’s daily living. I can remember several bosses in my past reminding me “This is not a democracy, this is a job.” I remember many experiences in social groups, church groups, and volunteer organizations in which the person with the loudest voice, most shaming language, or outstanding skills for guilting others, controlled the direction of the group. Other times the pain and chaos of the group discussion becomes so great that people start begging for a tyrant to take charge. Many times people become so frustrated, confused and anxious that they would prefer the order that oppression brings to the struggle that goes on in groups without “democracy skills.” I have much different experiences in groups I work with in Europe and in certain intentional communities such as the Lost Valley Educational Center in Eugene, Oregon, where the majority of people have learned “democracy skills.” I can not remember one job, school, church group, volunteer organization or town meeting in mainstream America where “democracy skills” were taught or practiced.
Kelly Bryson (Don't Be Nice, Be Real)
When the time comes, & I hope it comes soon, to bury this era of moral rot & the defiling of our communal, social, & democratic norms, the perfect epitaph for the gravestone of this age of unreason should be Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's already infamous quote: "I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing... as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” Grassley's vision of America, quite frankly, is one I do not recognize. I thought the heart of this great nation was not limited to the ranks of the plutocrats who are whisked through life in chauffeured cars & private jets, whose often inherited riches are passed along to children, many of whom no sacrifice or service is asked. I do not begrudge wealth, but it must come with a humility that money never is completely free of luck. And more importantly, wealth can never be a measure of worth. I have seen the waitress working the overnight shift at a diner to give her children a better life, & yes maybe even take them to a movie once in awhile - and in her, I see America. I have seen the public school teachers spending extra time with students who need help & who get no extra pay for their efforts, & in them I see America. I have seen parents sitting around kitchen tables with stacks of pressing bills & wondering if they can afford a Christmas gift for their children, & in them I see America. I have seen the young diplomat in a distant foreign capital & the young soldier in a battlefield foxhole, & in them I see America. I have seen the brilliant graduates of the best law schools who forgo the riches of a corporate firm for the often thankless slog of a district attorney or public defender's office, & in them I see America. I have seen the librarian reshelving books, the firefighter, police officer, & paramedic in service in trying times, the social worker helping the elderly & infirm, the youth sports coaches, the PTA presidents, & in them I see America. I have seen the immigrants working a cash register at a gas station or trimming hedges in the frost of an early fall morning, or driving a cab through rush hour traffic to make better lives for their families, & in them I see America. I have seen the science students unlocking the mysteries of life late at night in university laboratories for little or no pay, & in them I see America. I have seen the families struggling with a cancer diagnosis, or dementia in a parent or spouse. Amid the struggles of mortality & dignity, in them I see America. These, & so many other Americans, have every bit as much claim to a government working for them as the lobbyists & moneyed classes. And yet, the power brokers in Washington today seem deaf to these voices. It is a national disgrace of historic proportions. And finally, what is so wrong about those who must worry about the cost of a drink with friends, or a date, or a little entertainment, to rephrase Senator Grassley's demeaning phrasings? Those who can't afford not to worry about food, shelter, healthcare, education for their children, & all the other costs of modern life, surely they too deserve to be able to spend some of their “darn pennies” on the simple joys of life. Never mind that almost every reputable economist has called this tax bill a sham of handouts for the rich at the expense of the vast majority of Americans & the future economic health of this nation. Never mind that it is filled with loopholes written by lobbyists. Never mind that the wealthiest already speak with the loudest voices in Washington, & always have. Grassley’s comments open a window to the soul of the current national Republican Party & it it is not pretty. This is not a view of America that I think President Ronald Reagan let alone President Dwight Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt would have recognized. This is unadulterated cynicism & a version of top-down class warfare run amok. ~Facebook 12/4/17
Dan Rather
Mueller kicked off the meeting by pulling out a piece of paper with some notes. The attorney general and his aides believed they noticed something worrisome. Mueller’s hands shook as he held the paper. His voice was shaky, too. This was not the Bob Mueller everyone knew. As he made some perfunctory introductory remarks, Barr, Rosenstein, O’Callaghan, and Rabbitt couldn’t help but worry about Mueller’s health. They were taken aback. As Barr would later ask his colleagues, “Did he seem off to you?” Later, close friends would say they noticed Mueller had changed dramatically, but a member of Mueller’s team would insist he had no medical problems. Mueller quickly turned the meeting over to his deputies, a notable handoff. Zebley went first, summing up the Russian interference portion of the investigation. He explained that the team had already shared most of its findings in two major indictments in February and July 2018. Though they had virtually no chance of bringing the accused to trial in the United States, Mueller’s team had indicted thirteen Russian nationals who led a troll farm to flood U.S. social media with phony stories to sow division and help Trump. They also indicted twelve Russian military intelligence officers who hacked internal Democratic Party emails and leaked them to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The Trump campaign had no known role in either operation. Zebley explained they had found insufficient evidence to suggest a conspiracy, “no campaign finance [violations], no issues found. . . . We have questions about [Paul] Manafort, but we’re very comfortable saying there was no collusion, no conspiracy.” Then Quarles talked about the obstruction of justice portion. “We’re going to follow the OLC opinion and conclude it wasn’t appropriate for us to make a final determination as to whether or not there was a crime,” he said. “We’re going to report the facts, the analysis, and leave it there. We are not going to say we would indict but for the OLC opinion.
Philip Rucker (A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America)
America capital has taken up this easy banner of world disorder and we are simply the poor willing fools that follow on behind. We are expected and asked to beat the Russians to death, and yet we are the ultimate victims ourselves: we socialists, we democrats, we progressives, we liberals, we republicans. Though it isn't the private crusade of America, American capital is conducting it, financing it, directing it, and using it, because America to-day is in the hands of violent expansionists, imperialists, capitalists, fascists—call them what you like. They believe the world is theirs, with their atom bomb and their sickening dollars. They are men who have seized America from the feeble hands of a frightened man, and through him they are directing a brazen attack upon the common liberties of all men. With our Imperialists they ask the world to stop Russia! Stop Russia for what?...So that American capital can extend its economic and political dominion over this entire universe, even to the poles! Like our own--these American imperialists are terrified of any movement for social and economic freedom because their Imperialism cannot exist in a better world and they know it. It cannot exist while Russia remains an example in social ownership and social courage. If we ever looked to America for leadership in human affairs, we may have looked to the late President Roosevelt, but these men are not Roosevelt men. Roosevelt's men have gone. Instead we have the new men of America. The men of capital representation, of military ambition, of political threat, of economic force. These are the men we are expected to follow in this great campaign against Russia. But it isn't only Russia that they attack. Their war is upon a world of resisting people who seek self-determination and some ultimate, simple, liberty. Their war is upon every progressive citizen, particularly those desperate partisans who fight for their liberty in America itself. Already the American schemers have the world by the throat. This very nation they have buttered with their silver dollars, saving us from the sins of all-out Socialism. Our entire economy to-day is primed and based on the American loan. What more dominion could one nation have over another?
James Aldridge (The Diplomat)
was my first indication that the policies of Mamaw’s “party of the working man”—the Democrats—weren’t all they were cracked up to be. Political scientists have spent millions of words trying to explain how Appalachia and the South went from staunchly Democratic to staunchly Republican in less than a generation. Some blame race relations and the Democratic Party’s embrace of the civil rights movement. Others cite religious faith and the hold that social conservatism has on evangelicals in that region. A big part of the explanation lies in the fact that many in the white working class saw precisely what I did, working at Dillman’s. As far back as the 1970s, the white working class began to turn to Richard Nixon because of a perception that, as one man put it, government was “payin’ people who are on welfare today doin’ nothin’! They’re laughin’ at our society! And we’re all hardworkin’ people and we’re gettin’ laughed at for workin’ every day!”20 At around that time, our neighbor—one of Mamaw and Papaw’s oldest friends—registered the house next to ours for Section 8. Section 8 is a government program that offers low-income residents a voucher to rent housing. Mamaw’s friend had little luck renting his property, but when he qualified his house for the Section 8 voucher, he virtually assured that would change. Mamaw saw it as a betrayal, ensuring that “bad” people would move into the neighborhood and drive down property values. Despite our efforts to draw bright lines between the working and nonworking poor, Mamaw and I recognized that we shared a lot in common with those whom we thought gave our people a bad name. Those Section 8 recipients looked a lot like us. The matriarch of the first family to move in next door was born in Kentucky but moved north at a young age as her parents sought a better life. She’d gotten involved with a couple of men, each of whom had left her with a child but no support. She was nice, and so were her kids. But the drugs and the late-night fighting revealed troubles that too many hillbilly transplants knew too well. Confronted with such a realization of her own family’s struggle, Mamaw grew frustrated and angry. From that anger sprang Bonnie Vance the social policy expert: “She’s a lazy whore, but she wouldn’t be if she was forced to get a job”; “I hate those fuckers for giving these people the money to move into our neighborhood.” She’d rant against the people we’d see in the grocery store: “I can’t understand why people who’ve worked all their lives scrape by while these deadbeats buy liquor and cell phone coverage with our tax money.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)