Monday, September 9, 2013

What we're told

We’re told that the War on Terrorism is a war against “militant Islamists, al-Qaeda, and other jihadi groups” and in the words of President George W. Bush will not end “until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”  We have no idea when this will be.

We are told that the government has to treat many Americans as potential terrorists, especially those who support peace and liberty.

We’re told Obama does not “believe that people should own guns,” yet he raises no objections to the DHS purchase of 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point bullets, which would give the bureaucracy “the means to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War.” We’re told the DHS is acquiring these bullets for target practice, though they don’t specify the nature of the targets.

We’re told that FEMA camps are disaster response facilities, not concentration camps.

We were told the Iraq invasion would be a cakewalk, that it would pay for itself, that it was not about oil, that it would cost under $50 billion, that Americans would be greeted as liberators, etc., etc., etc.

We were told to believe the claims of the Bush Administration regarding the need to invade Iraq, yet the Center for Public Integrity’s War Card found that Bush officials lied about WMDs or Iraq ties to Al Qaeda on at least 532 separate occasions prior to the invasion in March, 2003.

We are told that we live under the rule of law, but that the U.S. president can have anyone killed he wants to because of the terrorist-filled world we live in.

We are told that John F. Kennedy was murdered by a lone nut, that 9/11 was the work of “19 Arabs, none of whom could fly planes with any proficiency, [who] pulled off the crime of the century under the direction of a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan,” and that anyone who challenges these conclusions should be hit with the weaponized term, conspiracy theorist.

We are told that the government does not spy on the personal affairs of Americans.

We are told that a war killing close to 750,000 Americans was necessary to end slavery, while slavery elsewhere - including the Northern states in the U.S. - was ended without violent conflict; that a world war killing over 16 million people, 117,465 of whom were Americans, was necessary to save the world for democracy, and that yet another world war killing between 50-70 million people, most of whom were civilians, was needed because we were the victims of an unprovoked attack on a Hawaiian naval base.

We are told that the presidents who took us into these wars are among the greatest presidents in American history.

We’re told that unprecedented amounts of fiat money injected into the economy has resulted in a fount of prosperity, and it may be time for the Fed to slow down the injections.

We are told that some businesses are so big their failure would produce an economic catastrophe.  As failing enterprises are those that squander wealth rather than produce it, and that the larger the business, the larger the squandering, perhaps such firms are instead “too big to be kept alive.”

We are told that a free market gold coin monetary system is a threat to our well-being, though not so mysteriously "the international gold standard from 1815 until the outbreak of World War I 1914 [was] the greatest period of economic growth in recorded history." Nevertheless, we're told gold money is a barbarous relic.

We are told that a fiat monetary system controlled by a central bank provides macroeconomic and financial stability, notwithstanding such episodes as the recent financial crisis and the Great Depression.

We are told that a massive public debt is nothing to worry about.  A Nobel Prize-winning Op-Ed columnist explains why:
the debt we create is basically money we owe to ourselves, and the burden it imposes does not involve a real transfer of resources. . . .  Talking about leaving a burden to our children is especially nonsensical; what we are leaving behind is promises that some of our children will pay money to other children.
In other words we borrow, they pay - or default.  An economist with a different perspective says this:
[It is argued that] a public debt is no burden because we owe it to ourselves. If this were true, then the wholesale obliteration of the public debt would be an innocuous operation, a mere act of bookkeeping and accountancy. The fact is that the public debt embodies claims of people who have in the past entrusted funds to the government against all those who are daily producing new wealth. It burdens the producing strata for the benefit of another part of the people. It is possible to free the producers of new wealth from this burden by collecting the taxes required for the payments exclusively from the bondholders. But this means undisguised repudiation.  [p. 229]
We are told by this same Nobel prize-winning commentator that fractional reserve banking is simply a way for bankers to “improve the tradeoff between returns and liquidity” and can be kept in check with proper government regulation, and the incurably ignorant who have a problem with this hold “Ron Paulish monetary ideas.”

We are told that the most important factor in generating the boom-bust cycle is human emotions, as if these emotions were unrelated to banks’ practice of distorting prices through fractional reserve banking.

We are told that the Great Depression was a failure of capitalism, and that economic fascism was needed to save capitalism.

We are told that our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people, rather than run by the highest bidders

We are told that progressive economic regulations and bureaucracies, such as the Federal Reserve, exist to protect the public weal rather than provide subsidies and privileges to special interests.

We are told that sending children to schools that have no way of protecting them is fine, even though government has no solution other than anti-gun hysteria to the mass murders that occur from time to time.  Few people would consider closing the public schools.

We are told that government will provide for us in our old age, that it will provide for us when we can’t find work, that it will pay for our health care, that it will bestow many other blessings if only we are willing to make the damn one percent pay for it all.

We read that the Syrian government engaged in chemical warfare against Syrian civilians, and that, even if the attack was ordered by someone other than President Assad, he alone is responsible.  Meanwhile, AIPAC and other war hawks are hammering Congress to vote for a strike, even though there is evidence the attack may have been launched by U.S.-backed rebels.  The Administration is hungry for a strike even with a majority of Americans surveyed strongly opposing U.S. intervention, and even though such action has the potential to ignite the World’s Last War.

We are told that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that to secure these rights governments - monopolies of violence - are instituted among men.

Because this is the one coercive monopoly that allegedly serves our welfare we are told government is a blessing, that anarchy would be death and chaos for all but the most ruthless - notwithstanding the brilliant insights of Stefan Molyneux, Robert P. Murphy, Murray Rothbard, and many others.

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