The Crisis of Liberty, Part 2


You wrote:

A major part of the problem has been the complacency, ignorance, and sheer
stupidity of the American public itself. <

How do you explain the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the
Soviet Union? Was it your opinion that over the ten years before these
events the East Germans and the Russians appeared other than "complacent,
ignorant, and stupid?"

Warm regards, Michael


  That's easy: they weren't Americans. The East Germans revolted against the Communists twice and were violently crushed. When they saw the opportunity, they took it. Americans, on the other hand, passively submit to humiliations at the hands of 'authority' that are not tolerated in any other civilized country.

  The East Germans were in frequent contact with the West and censored material flowed through the underground. They weren't, like today's Americans, completely absorbed with Reality TV, Internet porn and prescription drugs. The average East German was fairly well educated; the average American can't find the United States on a map of North America.

  Everyone in East Germany knew that their media was spewing a sludge-pit of Communist propaganda. The typical American swallows whatever the corporate media tells him.

  A closer historical parallel would be between the complaceny and ignorance of the German people under the Weimar Republic. That allowed for a plurality of votes for extremists, and the same thing is likely to happen here in 2012.


  As long as the *right kind* of extremists win in 2012, I certainly hope you're right! The media tend to use the word "extremist" in a negative context, but that's just their bias in favor of the statist quo showing. In reality, some types of extremism are good and other types are bad. As Karl Hess famously wrote for Barry Goldwater, "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." To the extent we allow radical departures from the status quo to be defined in negative terms, we allow the libertarian agenda to be defined in negative terms.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

On Aug 3, 2010, at 6:08 PM, Eric wrote (in part):

Hi Starchild:

  Yes, but of course, Karl Hess was speaking of self-defence. The radical departures from the Constitution that LBJ was undertaking made the task more urgent.

  Today, the real extremists are the Redshirts (progressives) and the Blackshirts (neocons).

  That's one of the reasons I fear for the future, because these fringe groups are mainstream while libertarians; and even moderate liberals and conservatives are being marginalised. Some sociologists who've studied cultures have theorized that this condition is a symptom of a democracy on the verge of collapse.


  I don't think Karl Hess was speaking strictly of self-defense. My understanding is that he was speaking broadly in defense of liberty. Anything extremely different from mainstream or consensus views is, by definition, extremist. Right now under the statist quo, that includes libertarianism. We shouldn't be ashamed or embarrassed about this -- given how badly things are screwed up, we should be *proud* to be associated with a radically different approach. The U.S. Constitution, and the more libertarian Articles of Confederation that preceded it, were also radical departures from what came before.

  Regarding the so-called "neocons" and "progressives", if "these fringe groups are mainstream" then by definition they are not fringe groups. But being "mainstream" doesn't reflect any credit on them, any more than being "extremist" reflects discredit on us, in fact just the opposite. I would agree that libertarians are marginalized, but I think this is less true than in the past. There are good reasons to be optimistic (see quotes below).

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

“The future belongs to those who gave the next generation reason for hope.”
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“It is hope, not despair, that makes a revolution successful.”
-Chinese fortune cookie