Tyranny

BREAD, CIRCUSES & BOMBS – DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE – PART TWO

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on November 9, 2014

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In Part One of this article I discussed the similarities between the Roman Empire and the American Empire at a high level. In this article I’ll delve into some specific similarities and rhymes between the fall of the Roman Empire and our modern day empire of debt, decay and decline. I’ll address our expansive level of bread and circuses and how defects in our human nature lead to people willingly sacrificing their liberty for promises of safety and security. All empires decline due to the same human failings and ours is no exception. If anything, ours will be far more spectacular and rapid due to our extreme level of hubris, arrogance, willful ignorance and warlike preference for dealing with foreign powers.

It seems there were a few visionary thinkers in the late 1950s who foresaw the dire course our former Republic was setting. Their writings were a prophecy and a warning. There was still time to change course and avoid the pitfalls that led to the Roman Empire collapse. In Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley warned against allowing a few amoral men using propaganda, scientific advancements, technology, brainwashing, and economics to control and manipulate a willfully ignorant populace into a dystopian dictatorship. The Soviet and Chinese dictatorships of the late 1950s are long gone, but Huxley foresaw how modern propaganda techniques would be used by the state to drown the masses in a sea of triviality, irrelevance, and consumerism.

“In their propaganda today’s dictators rely for the most part on repetition, suppression and rationaliza­tion — the repetition of catchwords which they wish to be accepted as true, the suppression of facts which they wish to be ignored, the arousal and rationaliza­tion of passions which may be used in the interests of the Party or the State. As the art and science of manip­ulation come to be better understood, the dictators of the future will doubtless learn to combine these tech­niques with the non-stop distractions which, in the West, are now threatening to drown in a sea of irrele­vance the rational propaganda essential to the mainten­ance of individual liberty and the survival of demo­cratic institutions.”

Another man of vision was President Dwight D. Eisenhower. As someone who understood the military industrial complex and the world of politics and power, he knew the danger of allowing the arms industry to dictate the foreign policy of the country. Maintaining a military empire bankrupted Rome and it is bankrupting the American empire. Eisenhower’s warning was unheeded.

“We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

When I was researching the similarities between the fall of the Roman Empire and our American Empire fall in progress, I stumbled across an essay written in 1956 by Ben Moreell called Of Bread and Circuses  

Toxic Bread, iGadgets, Circuses, & Zoloft

“The evil was not in bread and circuses, per se, but in the willingness of the people to sell their rights as free men for full bellies and the excitement of the games which would serve to distract them from the other human hungers which bread and circuses can never appease. The moral decay of the people was not caused by the doles and the games. These merely provided a measure of their degradation. Things that were originally good had become perverted and, as Shakespeare reminds us, ‘Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.’”Ben Moreell – 1956 – Of Bread and Circuses

There is nothing inherently evil about food, iPhones, professional sports, television, computers, music or medicine. Human beings need food to sustain them, entertainment to provide relaxation and diversion from their daily labors, and medicine to alleviate illness and prolong their lives. Only when the people allow themselves to be lured into servitude by malevolent purveyors of bread and circuses does the perversion of seemingly harmless things begin to fester and overwhelm a nation with the fetid stench of decay and decadence. The moral degeneration of the American populace, like the Roman people before them, happened slowly over time as they sold their liberty, freedom, and self-respect for full bellies, an endless array of modern day distractions, and promises from their highly educated rulers they would be taken care of and protected from all threats to their well-being, whether foreign, domestic, physical, mental, or social.

It did not happen all at once. It happened gradually over time. We allowed the weaker facets of our human nature to succumb to the pleasurable promises of a minority of power seeking manipulative men who always attempt to control and influence the majority because they believe they are wiser and deserving of riches, glory and supremacy. The greediest, most arrogant, ambitious and well educated amongst us tend to rise to the top in all societies. As Ben Franklin stated, only a virtuous people can keep sociopaths from gaining control of our political, economic and financial systems and perverting a republic built upon a foundation of free markets, liberty, and self-sufficiency.

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”Benjamin Franklin

Historian Tacitus noted, as Rome became more and more corrupt, the number of laws grew rapidly. The Roman aristocracy, through corruption and thievery achieved lofty status in Roman society. Senators and wealthy knights engaged in extensive practices of conspicuous consumption, creating palatial town houses and monumental “art villas” to demonstrate their high rank in society. The peasants sank into poverty, while being satiated with bread and circuses. And it was all done legally, just as it is being done legally today by our beloved aristocracy and their minions.

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus – The Annals of Imperial Rome

Has the proliferation of laws, rules, and regulations over the last century made us freer, safer and less corrupt?

The virtue of the American people has dissipated rapidly over the last century through their willful ignorance, laziness, apathy, vanity, greed and covetousness, while the true ruling power has consciously and intelligently manipulated the masses without them being aware they were being molded, controlled, dominated and influenced by Ivy League educated men of no conscious, empathy, or sense of decency. The paragraph below, written in 1928 by Edward Bernays, reveals the true nature of our “democracy” and our real masters:

“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 Bernays – Propaganda

Bernays and his disciples believed the American citizenry nothing more than a herd of irrational animals that needed to be led by enlightened despots like him and other highly educated wealthy men who knew what was best in a democratic society. The term propaganda developed negative connotations after some Germans used it so effectively during the 1930s, so modern American despots changed the term to public relations. It’s all about the message. As media tools have become more technologically advanced and the study of human psychology perfected, the members of the invisible government have achieved their goal of governing, molding, and pulling the wires that control the public mind in a way that enriches them and their benefactors while satisfying the base needs of the masses and keeping them distracted with trivialities, technological wonders, and a myriad of bogeyman threats. These men have contempt for the common man. They have contempt for the U.S. Constitution. They have contempt for free markets. And they have control of our country.

Needs, Wants & Desires

The concept of bread and circuses ties closely to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. The ruling class realizes the masses must be kept fed, clothed and housed or revolution would ensue. The human needs documented by Maslow were satisfied or not satisfied by humans prior to the 20th century. Once the ruling class gained control of the monetary system through their jurisdiction over the Federal Reserve and the fiscal system through their manipulation of taxes and spending, they were able to bribe the masses with their own money. The rise of the welfare state has not reduced poverty or boosted the standard of living of the poor. It has enslaved tens of millions at the basic human needs level. Once those in power had successfully bribed the masses with bread (SNAP), shelter (subsidized housing), subsistence (unemployment compensation & welfare), security (Social Security) and safety (Medicare, Medicaid), it was only necessary to keep them distracted with circuses to efficiently teach them to love their servitude.

“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World

abraham-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs1.preview.jpg

The invisible governing authorities don’t want the masses to actually satisfy their psychological and self-fulfillment needs. The last thing they want is an educated, aware, critical thinking, independent, courageous, self-reliant, civic minded populace questioning the motivations of their keepers. This is where the corporate fascists who control the mass media propaganda machine and the sickcare industrial complex have combined forces to create a painless concentration camp of prisoners enjoying their servitude and happy to sacrifice their liberty for perceived safety. An uneducated, obese, sickly, depressed, overly-medicated populace is not a threat to the ruling class. They have been conditioned and pharmacologically sedated to such an extent the governing class feels indestructible, displaying arrogance and hubris in dangerous doses.

“There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it.” – Aldous Huxley

The concept of voluntary servitude has been a constant theme across the ages as most people want to be led, told what to do, and will not question or contest those in authority. Liberty and freedom require effort, sacrifice, honor and a people with a strong moral character. The Roman people succumbed to tyranny by abandoning their liberty to despots for a full belly and grand spectacles. The American people have succumbed to modern day banker, billionaire and politician oligarchs for a belly full of toxic corporate processed food, cable HDTV with 600 stations, iGadgets, a never ending supply of cheap Chinese produced crap at big box retail stores, Facebook, Twitter, 24 hour drive thru Dunkin Donuts joints, and an endless array of professional sporting events, all paid for with an infinite supply of cheap consumer debt from the Wall Street fraud machine. We live in a warfare/welfare surveillance state built on a foundation of debt, consumerism, and delusion, with no tears. We’ve learned to love our servitude.

French philosopher Etienne de La Boetie captured the degradation of the once noble Roman people five centuries ago, and his words ring true today as the American people have foolishly relinquished their liberty to a corporate aristocracy that has bankrupted the nation, debased the currency, pillaged the middle class and set in motion an irreversible decline of the empire.

“Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books. Roman tyrants invented a further refinement. They often provided the city wards with feasts to cajole the rabble, always more readily tempted by the pleasure of eating than by anything else.

The most intelligent and understanding amongst them would not have quit his soup bowl to recover the liberty of the Republic of Plato. Tyrants would distribute largess, a bushel of wheat, a gallon of wine, and a sesterce: and then everybody would shamelessly cry, ‘Long live the King!’ The fools did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them.” – Etienne de La Boétie – Discourse on Voluntary Servitude – 1548

We are fools to not realize the governing authorities who benevolently distribute bread and entitlements to the masses have already taken the money at gunpoint from the people, while syphoning off their cut, favoring their courtesans and taking away our liberties and freedoms. H.L. Mencken, who could match de La Boetie in contempt for the ignorant masses and corrupt politicians, understood our democracy was destined for the trash heap of history.

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.” – H.L. Mencken – Notes on Democracy

In Part Three of this article I will address how the creation of the Federal Reserve has led to a century of currency debasement, mindless consumption and endless warfare, while impoverishing the masses and setting in motion the dynamics of empire collapse.

How to Defeat Tyranny

Off the Keyboard of Brandon Smith

Published originally on Alt-Market on August 16, 2012

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It is inevitable. There comes a point in the development of every crisis, every catastrophe, every impending disaster, every act of methodical dictatorship, in which the generations selected by fate or destiny to endure the trial must attempt to look beyond the intellectual and the psychological, to deeply consider the greater philosophical or spiritual questions of their epoch. Certain moments in history demand that truly free individuals relinquish their cynicism, and embrace that inherent world of form and conscience that exists in each of us but remains largely unexplained. Without this act of “faith”, or intuitive knowing, good cannot exist, inspire, or prevail.

To understand what we face in our age of encroaching technocracy draped like glistening silicon across the face of a third world American cesspool, we must accept certain realities; the first and foremost being the existence of “evil”. Not the evil of ignorance, that is easy to recognize. Not the evil of apathy and moral relativism, though the stench of both sharply permeates the sour underside of our culture. No, I am talking about pure, unbiased, unflinching, perfectly conscious and fully absorbed evil. The kind that they tell stories about. The kind that history books speak of almost in awe, as if it is miraculous in nature. A dark tide. A prehistoric leviathan. An unbelievable and seemingly inhuman myth made manifest by astonishingly vile despots.

This evil is so overwhelming that many people today scarcely imagine it possible. It is our society’s greatest weakness; the denial of ultimate malice.

Our current governmental system has adopted a policy of open theater, in which the two sides of the false paradigm now barely hide their farcical opposition to each other. Their rhetoric no longer obscures their acts of political collusion in the destruction of our founding principles and Constitutional protections. In the past several years they have acted in the best interests of corporate minorities and moneyed elites without hiding their intentions towards globalism and the destruction of sovereignty, fearlessly spitting on the redresses of the public. All of this while they arm themselves to the teeth with billion-plus round stockpiles of ammunition and Orwellian surveillance technologies. Yet, foolish subsections of our populace still argue that the government is a “product of elections”, and is “made up of Americans for Americans”. Even if we do not see them as an enemy, they certainly see us as such.

Our financial system is a stampeding procession of nightmare fueled blood-drenched circus freaks dancing in an ether driven haze of pungent absurdity. It is as if our economy has become a morbid parody of itself, like a queasy piece of horror/comedy cinema. We are so far along in the collapse of our markets that the banksters no longer see the need to hide the fraud. With the advent of the Libor Scandal, governments, central banks, corporate financiers, all flaunt their criminality with pride. Yet, some Americans still clasp their naïve hopes to a chance of fiscal recovery.

To fight against an evil of this magnitude takes more than anger, or physical preparation, or organization. It takes personal exploration, a steeling of one’s heart, and a conquering of one’s shortcomings.

Tyranny, true tyranny, thrives on our selective awareness, and our ability to bend our minds and our vision to avoid seeing that which is really there. In the end, victory over tyranny is less about guns, bombs, mass dissent, and civil fury; it instead requires an acceptance of the dark side of the world, and the unwavering will of honorable men ready to face it. That is to say, the defeat of tyranny begins and ends in the mind.

In America today, many minds are not ready to handle the trials ahead. Maybe it’s the ease of several generations of uninterrupted prosperity. Maybe it’s the Babyboomers. Maybe it’s Generation X. Maybe it’s the public education system. Maybe it’s the water. Maybe it’s all of the above and more. At this point, we have little time to debate symptomatic culprits. It is time to go to the root of the problem, and cut it out.

What we need is a foundation, a set of “personal rules for combat” when engaging a tyrannical establishment. This “code” should above all else provide a way of mentally and spiritually confronting one’s own weaknesses and presumptions. Dictators and oligarchs are not our primary concern. Our inner state is.

Rule #1: Stop Waiting For Others To Fight The Battle For You

If you want to put an end to totalitarianism, you can’t sit around waiting for other people to solve the problem for you. The greatest downfall of any political campaign (even when led by a liberty minded candidate) is the centralization of popular focus on a single man. There is no knight in shining armor coming to lead the Liberty Movement to the promised land. These unrealistic expectations will only end in disappointment and nihilism. The solution starts not with others, but with YOU. Where do you contribute to freedom? What actions have you taken? Who have you inspired? What ideas have you offered? What project have you organized, struggled for, sweat for? Take the reigns of your own destiny and finally join the fight instead of perusing the internet longing for a guru to hand you a mission.

Rule #2: Believe In Something Greater Than Yourself – Abandon Childish Cynicism

This is where we get all “spiritualized”, which for the typical cynic is a rather gooey and uncomfortable affair. If accepting a higher purpose to the universe and your own existence is too much for you, then at least consider deeply the future of humanity in general. Think not of what mankind is today, but what mankind could be tomorrow if you make it so. Know that there is an indelible good within us, though it may be difficult to see at times. Cradle that spark, and champion its return. It is not enough to oppose tyranny. One must know exactly what he is fighting for in order to triumph.

Cynics do not make history, or change a country for the better. They are the forgotten dust wafting about in the wayward attics of time.

Rule #3: Deal With Your Fear, Or It Will Be Used Against You

A subjugating government’s size, military might, technological superiority, and overall gravitas are irrelevant. The fight will come whether we want it or not. Accept the fact that the fight is coming to YOU; your fear of it does not change the eventuality of it. Wars, especially those waged for freedom, are won by the will, not by arms or technology. Not by laser guided missiles and predator drones. Tyrants always have the advantage. They always have the upper hand. They win when they are able to convince the masses that this advantage makes them invincible and that resistance is a futile exercise. They lose when the people could care less about the size of the guns pointed at them.

All men are afraid to take risks, especially mortal risks. However, great men understand the necessity of risk in the pursuit of that which is right. Fear should play no part in your life, ever.

Rule #4: Understand The Nature Of Tyrants

Overcoming fear is one thing. Being overconfident is another. Understand that the evil you face is capable of absolutely any depravity in its lust for absolute control. Understand that the crimes you will one day witness in your battle to dethrone the autocrats are designed to rattle your will and eradicate your resolve. Know that to attain a free country you must struggle through social, economic, and physical carnage you never thought possible before. Be ready, psychologically and emotionally, for anything…

Rule #5: Dump Nihilists And Obstructionists By The Wayside

You can’t save everybody, and you certainly can’t impart a sense of greater purpose on cowards, weaklings, and nihilists. These people are inherently self centered, and seek only to prolong the ease and length of their own existences regardless of the cost to others. Nihilists in particular are so inwardly and subconsciously ashamed of their own weaknesses that they go out of their way, often obsessively, to project those weaknesses on the whole of the movement. They have to believe that if they are not capable of fighting back, no one else can be either, and they will shriek to the rafters about the impending doom of us all.

Nihilists and Obstructionists are dead weight on any dissenting activist movement, even though they pretend to support the cause, and should be tossed to the curb immediately. A revolution for liberty requires foresight, and courage. If a person does not meet both these criteria, they will eventually bring you down with them.

Rule #6: Find A Love For Humanity Once Again

I know as well as anyone how hard it is today to care about most people given the amount of utter stupidity so many display on a daily basis and the costs this behavior has accrued in our society over time. Get over it. Recognize that when you fight for freedom, you fight for EVERBODY, even people who have not earned your efforts. If you fight only for yourself, or your immediate circle, you will lose. Look at the bigger picture, and know the real breadth and consequence of this undertaking. Fight for all, or you might as well crawl into a shallow hole and pull the dirt over your head now.

Rule #7: Remain Adaptable To The Circumstances Of The Environment

Absorb what works, and cast off what doesn’t. Be stubborn in your principles and your resolve, but not in your strategies. Vulnerability comes with predictability. Blaze trails the tyrants don’t expect. Show them something they’ve never seen before. Be bold, or go home.

Rule #8: Retain Your Principles Or You Will Fail

The philosophical doctrine being peddled by elites in our military today states that “in order to defeat a monster you must be willing to act like a monster”. This is insanity. Forgoing one’s principles and adopting dishonorable and vicious methods is not the way of a warrior; it is the way of the tyrant. Remember what you are fighting for. This is not just about our personal survival, but the survival of a worthy ideal. Abandoning that ideal may give us the illusion of short term success, but in the long run, the cost will bankrupt our movement, demolish our moral high ground, and make hollow any victories we do achieve.

The Real Fight Is Within

Some may have stumbled upon this essay with the expectation that it would outline a kind of step-by-step instructional guide to crippling the globalists. Sorry to dissatisfy if that was the case, but it is better that we all comprehend now that there will never be such guide. As much as globalists and collectivists with aspirations of world dominance and total financial centralization are a threat to our way of life, the real fight, the fight that matters most, is not without, but within. We will overcome them only when we overcome our own failings.

I imagine many wish, as I surely wish, that simple days and comfortable times could continue on forever. The difficult truth is that history tests man, and sets the extraordinary apart from the mundane. Sometimes these tests are so epic in their scale that one wonders if anyone will step forward to weather the storm. Someone always does, and we owe those brave souls a debt of gratitude which can only be paid with our own stand in our own era. At the end of all things, we will either open the door to a better world, or we will cut our own throats. Tyranny is nothing but an opportunity for the best in all of us to rise.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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The US still has a ways to go to get to the government of Japan’s debt level. [...]

“The [US] nation’s federal debt is projected to reach “unprecedented levels” over the next 30 years [...]

Hi Steve. I recently found what I believe is a little gem, and I'm quite confident you'd a [...]

The Federal Reserve is thinking about capping yields? I don't know how long TPTB can keep this [...]

As some one who has spent years trying to figure out what the limits to growth are. let me say that [...]

Peak oil definitely happened for gods sake. Just because it isn't mad max right now is no indic [...]

@Volvo - KMO says he made some life choices he regrets. Not sure what they were. And I don't th [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

The South Atlantic Ocean is currently undergoing significant alterations due to climate change. This [...]

This paper assessed the variability and projected trends of solar irradiance and temperature in the [...]

Following the impact of droughts witnessed during the last decade there is an urgent need to develop [...]

A “nadir-only” framework of the radiometric intercomparison of multispectral sensors usi [...]

A fuzzy random conditional value-at-risk-based linear programming (FCVLP) model was proposed in this [...]