It seems no matter who we vote for -- or even if we don't vote -- the unelected permanent government continues to push us toward dictatorship. We are joined by Constitutional attorney and Rutherford Institute - rutherford.org - president John W. Whitehead, who joins the program to discuss the shadow government.
By Ron Paul
When Time-Warner announced it planned to merge with another major communications firm, many feared the new company would exercise near-total monopoly power. These concerns led some to call for government action to block the merger in order to protect both Time-Warner's competitors and consumers.
No, I am not talking about Time-Warner’s recent announced plan to merge with AT&T, but the reaction to Time-Warner’s merger with (then) Internet giant AOL in 2000. Far from creating an untouchable leviathan crushing all competitors, the AOL-Time-Warner merger fell apart in under a decade.
The failure of AOL-Time-Warner demonstrates that even the biggest companies are vulnerable to competition if there is open entry into the marketplace. AOL-Time-Warner failed because consumers left them for competitors offering lower prices and/or better quality.
Corporate mergers and “hostile” takeovers can promote economic efficiency by removing inefficient management and boards of directors. These managers and board members often work together to promote their own interests instead of generating maximum returns for investors by providing consumers with affordable, quality products. Thus, laws making it difficult to launch a "hostile" takeover promote inefficient use of resources and harm investors, workers, and consumers.
Monopolies and cartels are creations of government, not markets. For example, the reason the media is dominated by a few large companies is that no one can operate a television or radio station unless they obtain federal approval and pay federal licensing fees. Similarly, anyone wishing to operate a cable company must not only comply with federal regulations, they must sign a “franchise” agreement with their local government. Fortunately, the Internet has given Americans greater access to news and ideas shut out by the government-licensed lapdogs of the "mainstream" media. This may be why so many politicians are anxious to regulate the web.
Government taxes and regulations are effective means of limiting competition in an industry. Large companies can afford the costs of complying with government regulations, costs which cripple their smaller competitors. Big business can also afford to hire lobbyists to ensure that new laws and regulations favor big business.
Examples of regulations that benefit large corporations include the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations that raise costs of developing a new drug, as well as limit consumers ability to learn about natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Another example is the Dodd-Frank legislation, which has strengthened large financial intuitions while harming their weaker competitors.
Legislation forcing consumers to pay out-of-state sales tax on their online purchases is a classic case of business seeking to use government to harm less politically-powerful competitors. This legislation is being pushed by large brick-and-mortar stores and Internet retailers who are seeking a government-granted advantage over smaller competitors.
Many failed mergers and acquisitions result from the distorted signals sent to business and investors by the Federal Reserve’s inflationary monetary policy. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the AOL-Time-Warner fiasco, which was a direct result of the Fed-created dot.com bubble.
In a free market, mergers between businesses enable consumers to benefit from new products and reduced prices. Any businesses that charge high prices or offer substandard products will soon face competition from businesses offering consumers lower prices and/or higher quality. Monopolies only exist when government tilts the playing field in favor of well-connected crony capitalists. Therefore those concerned about excessive corporate power should join supporters of the free market in repudiating the regulations, taxes, and subsides that benefit politically-powerful businesses. The most important step is to end the boom-bust business cycle by ending the Federal Reserve.
By Jeff Thomas
Recently, I paid for an item with the exact amount requested, including 89 cents in change. The salesgirl stared at the coins and clearly wasn’t sure what to do. Eventually, she reached for a calculator and began to total them up one at a time: 25 + 25 + 25 + 10 + 4. Having been schooled in the age prior to calculators, I’m accustomed to doing arithmetic in my head, but this particular instance evidenced a level of “dumbing down” over the last fifty years that was beyond what I had realised.
Since the dumbing down has been so consistently prevalent over the decades, it’s clear that this is no accident, nor is it an experiment in “alternative education” that hasn’t worked out as was intended. It’s clearly the result of a conscious effort to diminish the average person’s ability to think. As such, it’s had a long gestation period and was expected to require generations, but was nevertheless a conscious goal.
But why on earth would the controlling elite of any country seek to diminish the power to reason? Surely, reason is the basis of all independent thought – the catalyst for new ideas and improvement on existing goods and systems.
The answer, in a word, is control. Independent thought is the prime enemy of those who seek to dominate a people. For that reason, those who rule will happily sacrifice technological and social progress if it means that their dominance can be increased.
Controlling both the answers and the questions
It’s the nature of humans to question their situation and their surroundings. However, a clever leader will surmise that that means he needs to not only provide the answers, but the questions. If he can keep the people preoccupied with questions that are of little consequence to him, and provide answers that are easy for the people to absorb, he will control the areas of thought and, in so doing, will diminish the likelihood that he or his actions will be questioned.
Since time immemorial, successful leaders have understood that, in order to take the attention off their actions, carefully constructed distractions are called for.
For centuries, when leaders have been under criticism by their minions, they’ve used the distraction of war. War not only tends to unify a people, it also helps them to accept the removal of their basic rights for an “emergency” period. (Of course, most leaders don’t replace the rights after the emergency has ended. War therefore is also a good tool to increase tyranny, generally.) As Ludwig von Mises observed,
“War was not an affair of the peoples; it concerned the rulers only. The citizens detested war, which brought mischief to them and burdened them with taxes and contributions.”
However, in modern times, propagandists have become far more sophisticated. Let’s look at a few. Adolf Hitler said,
“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually, they will believe it.”
Vladimir Lenin was a great believer in the idea that,
“The art of any propagandist and agitator consists in his ability to find the best means of influencing any given audience, by presenting a definite truth, in such a way as to make it most convincing, most easy to digest, most graphic, and most strongly impressive.”
Two of the greatest inventions in making propaganda easy to sell have been political parties and television. In the days of kings, it was common to hate the king and want his downfall, but, with political parties, it’s possible to get one half of the people hating one party and the other half hating the other party. Then, all that’s necessary is to assure that each party has roughly the same amount of apparent power and the people will focus all their attention on the hatred of the opposing party and fail to notice those who are pulling the strings equally for both parties. The kings thereby remain the kings forever, whilst remaining invisible. The idea is not to defeat the anger of the people, but to redirect it. As Friedrich Hayek commented,
“The skilful propagandist then has the power to mold their minds in any direction he chooses, and even the most intelligent and independent people cannot entirely escape that influence if they are long isolated from all other sources of information.”
That last phrase is key. In today’s world, we possess the most significant propaganda tool that has ever been invented: television. Through this medium, we can create a major issue out of a minor incident, create two opposing viewpoints, each designed to appeal to one group or the other, and then repeat the propaganda unceasingly until the people have become thoroughly polarised from each other on the issue. In this fashion, we can begin with a minor incident, such as the one in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Arrange for one set of pundits to state unequivocally that the problem was racist Caucasian police, whilst presenting another set of pundits who just as vehemently proclaim that the problem is lawless blacks. Then, as Brother Adolf states, repeat the message endlessly – in this case, on the news seven days a week, from morning till night, for over six months.
Mission accomplished. The conservative group has redoubled its belief in the necessity for an increased police state, whist the liberal group dug in its heels on its perception of class warfare and the need for increased collectivism to combat that class warfare.
Once this issue has played itself out, it can disappear completely from the television and a new issue takes its place.
As stated above, in creating this means of propaganda, we have first created the question in the mind of the people, then we have spoon-fed two opposing answers – one designed to appeal to those who are by nature conservative and one to those who are by nature liberal. If we do our job well, the groups will become so blindly polarized that no social gathering, such as a dinner party, will contain both liberal and conservative invitees, or it will be a disaster.
All liberals will be unified in their thinking, just as all conservatives will be. Of course, those who are libertarian will be vilified by both of the other groups, as they represent a third alternative. (The success in indoctrinating a people and destroying their ability to reason can be measured by their vehemence in rejecting a third choice of reason.)
However, reason must be blocked out on a continuous basis, or there’s danger that it may return over time. As early as 600 BC, Lao Tzu had figured this out:
“The muddiest water is cleared as it is stilled.”
Hence the importance of the endless repetition of the message. As a news item, Ferguson was deserving of a minor mention, perhaps once a week. But by suspending the outcome (whether charges would be laid against the officer), fuel could be added to the rhetoric fire day in, day out, for months on end. When it had finally outlived its usefulness, it was time to create another event. Of course, one shooting every six months in a population of 320,000,000 is a minor blip, but, through the continuous carpet-bombing of the viewer’s brain with the same rhetoric, two such events a year would seem like an epidemic.
Once we reach this level of thought control, it’s possible to offer utterly unacceptable candidates for public office and still have them gain election. All that’s needed is that they parrot the same rhetoric the people have become dependent on as a replacement for reason.
Whether it be Communist Russia, Nazi Germany or Fascist America, once the people have been successfully conditioned to allow Big Brother to dictate thought, the next step has always been totalitarian rule.
This article was originally published at International Man.
By Ron Paul
I had the pleasure of speaking with Monica Perez of The Propaganda Report. We discussed political correctness, my time in Congress, conspiracies, speaking truth to power and much more!
With the total failure of Economic Marxism, adherents to the authoritarian ideology set a new course: the destruction of Western culture. The shift to "Cultural Marxism" commenced and we're now seeing the bizarre manifestations of these ideas. Ron Paul unlocks the mental prisons that are being imposed on Americans in today's Myth-Busters.
By Chris Rossini
In a free market economy (or even an economy choked by government, like ours) profits and losses act as the beating heart. Get rid of either one and an economy-wide heart attack must ensue. Unfortunately, what profits are and the extremely valuable function that they serve are almost universally misunderstood in modern America.
If profits and losses were understood, you wouldn't hear trite cliche's like "people over profits" or "sustainable capitalism" or "corporate social responsibility." These are the slogans of meddlers and busy-bodies who seek to wield political force. And unless you've been in a long coma, you know full well that political force has come to dominate life in America today.
If civilization is to continue moving forward, the time must come where Americans once again desire to roll-back the political barbarians.
So let's get to understanding profits and losses.
First, it's important to understand that we live in a world with scarce resources. This is not the Garden of Eden. There is a finite amount "stuff," which includes human labor, that must be used to satisfy our desires.
Next, our desires are infinite. You and I can sit down with a piece of paper and write all the things that we desire for ourselves. The list would never have to end. In fact, if we were to acquire every single thing on our original list, we could sit down again and make an entirely new list of wants.
So here we are, human beings with infinite wants, living in a world with scarce resources. Quite the challenge, don't you think?
With that being the setup, the first conclusion that must be accepted is that all of our wants cannot possibly be satisfied. Instead we must choose. What do we desire most?
Some of our wants can be satisfied right now, some perhaps at a later date, and some maybe never at all. We have no choice but to choose, and we have to make these choices while simultaneously wanting everything and wanting it all right now!
How are we supposed to choose? How does a landowner know whether he should keep his trees in the ground or cut them down to build houses? What if he were to use the wood to build boats instead of houses? Or what if he could start a business manufacturing baseball bats with the wood?
How is he supposed to choose, rationally? How is he supposed to know?
Well before we get to making rational choices, lets get the irrational out of the way. That's where the political barbarians come in. You see the pompous barbarians believe that they should decide how the wood will be used. They know what's best for "society" and will make their master plans on how the resources should be used.
We saw with the Soviet Union how well the political barbarians do. They created economic havoc, the likes of which have never been seen in the modern world. Mass starvation, poverty and death. There are still a few countries left that have adopted the "abolish private property and markets" mentality. You don't want to visit those countries. Even Bernie Sanders refuses to even mention them when he's challenged.
Politicians are slick. They know that people have infinite wants, and that people always want things right now. So the politicians lie and pretend that they can satisfy those wants.....for FREE!!!
Let's get back to the real world and making rational decisions. In the real world, you must have private property. People then exchange their property with others. Each individual always valuing what they get more than what they're giving up. These exchanges, which happen every second of everyday form prices.
Prices are so monumentally important because they give everyone a snapshot of what the supply and demand of anything is at any moment. If the price of a certain item is high, it means that demand for that item is high. It means people want it!!!
Read that last sentence again. It answers the question as to what should be produced! When prices are high, and the producer is making big profits, it means he's satisfying a very urgent want. This is not an evil act, as many are led to believe. He is satisfying a very urgent want.
Other people with resources spot these high prices and profits, and start to produce the same thing in order to earn some of those profits for themselves. As a result, more resources pour into an area to satisfy a great desire. As more resources pour in, and a larger supply is created, prices of the item in question begin to fall, and the profits are reduced. The end result is that buyers have their most urgent desires satisfied.
Losses are merely the other side of the coin. If someone is experiencing losses, it is an indication that (no matter how much they might love what they're selling) others don't have a desire to buy it. And since we live a world with scarce resources, those suffering losses should take their resources and apply them in an area where they're more desired.
This is called the invisible hand. No force, no dictates, no mandates, no bureaucratic "regulations".
It just is.
The political barbarians hate the invisible hand. They want direct and control things. So naturally they start to attack those who are making profits. That is, they're attacking the very people that are satisfying the most urgent wants of consumers. Sounds pretty irrational, doesn't it?
Well it gets worse.
The political barbarians reward those who suffer great losses. They "bailout" their buddies with other people's money. They keep in business those who should have closed up shop.
It's backwards, it's bizarre, and it's running wild in America today.
Profits and Losses are the key. The political barbarians should do us all a favor and go get a real job.
Where does Ron Paul buy his gold?
Fifteen years ago yesterday, President George W. Bush signed the PATRIOT Act into law. It was said to be a necessary - and temporary - response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. It has since become a permanent scar on the Fourth Amendment and the national-security state in Washington D.C. tells us we are in more danger than ever. Is this working?
At a time when all the foreign policy "experts" in Washington want us to believe they know it all, that what is needed is US force to overthrow the Syrian government, Virginia State Senator Richard Black (R-Loudoun) traveled to Syria to see for himself what's going on. We get his impressions in today's Liberty Report.
Backed by the US, Iraq is set to launch a "decisive" assault on Mosul to remove the city from ISIS control. What will be left of the city? How is the media covering it? What about Aleppo? Who wins?
By Daniel McAdams
Al Korelin has long been a friend of ours in the Ron Paul circles and it was a real treat for both Dr. Paul and me to join him and his crew for a lengthy chat over the weekend. Politics, the coming economic downturn, Ron Paul's early research into free market economics, US policy in the Middle East, and so much more. Al was joined by Glen Downs, former chief of staff to RPI advisor Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), to look at the big issues we are facing and how we can promote peace and prosperity in the face of seemingly formidable odds.
How fun (and an honor) to be an opening act for Ron Paul on Al's new political discussion show.
Listen to our double-header here.