January 12, 2012


The most read article I've written lately is The New Propagandist. That surprises me, especially because when I published it I suspected it would bring me more flack than any article I've written, yet there was hardly a peep. Instead the piece just keeps circulating.


The accusations being made against Ron Paul, that he is advocating racist viewpoints and making anti-Semitic statements, got me thinking about the new propagandists again. And when the claims went so far as saying that the  Libertarian party had been infiltrated by neo-Nazis, I knew we were looking at their handiwork. I’d like to take a closer look now at the methods of the new propagandist and in so doing further expose their motives.


Ron Paul may have said some dumb things or hold views that haven’t been well thought out, but I seriously doubt that he is a bigot or that he has some hidden agenda. His credentials as a civil libertarian are impeccable and only now that he is making a run for the White House are passages written in his name surfacing which contain bigoted and anti-Semitic remarks. Statements made in his newsletter to the effect that President Bush was behind the 9-11 bombings are also being made public and hit the national news. Add to that recent campaign ads advocating for his nomination while also employing Chinese racial slurs, and it may look to most that Ron Paul is guilty as charged.


But Paul has emphatically disavowed these statements made in his name and maintains they were made without his knowledge, approval, or agreement. And that goes to my very point in The New Propagandists; that libertarians, conservatives, and gold bugs have been infiltrated by anti-American, anti-capitalist and bigoted propaganda.


Now we hear news that a Newt Gingrich super PAC has launched a 28 minute mini-movie attacking Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.  The movie, an outright attack on free enterprise, would make a lot more sense coming from Michael Moore. How could Newt and Ron Paul be so duped as to propagate left-wing propaganda?  And what would posses Rick Perry to attack Romney as a "vulture capitalist?" Article Here: Pro-Gingrich PAC Details Ads Against Romney’s Bain Role - NYTimes.com

Wolves Dressed as Sheep


To my knowledge no one has raised the issue raised in The New Propagandist—that the very people advocating for “freedom” are in fact engaged in an anti-American campaign designed to bring America down (many of them unknowingly). I agree with most libertarian principals. I agree with the Austrian school of economics. I am a proponent of returning to freedom, free markets, and honest money. Yet it became clear that some who claim to be the advocates for such ideals do so through conspiracy theories and by stirring up racial prejudice. Much of their propaganda is so subtle that it is now accepted by the mainstream press and espoused by the advocates of free-market capitalism. 


The new propagandists are very clever at disguising the source and meaning of their writings. Under the guise of freedom and free markets they saturate the internet with their propaganda. The reason it is difficult to identify their writings as such is because much of what they say is true. The trick to effective propaganda is to hide it in half-truths. But there is a major giveaway that something you are reading is questionable. The constant use of derogative terms is one way to identify what you are reading for what it is—propaganda.


Take as an example articles that throw around words like “bankster” while accusing bankers and executives of being part of a secret “cabal,” which is just a thinly veiled reference to the idea that a group of Jewish bankers conspire to rule the world. Banking has now subtly become equivalent to a criminal monopoly and Wall Street is spoken of as if it were a snake pit full of corrupt convicts. And it goes without saying that big bankers are bad bankers.


The same articles endlessly reference other “conspiracies” and “evil” alliances. In the propagandists world nothing is what it seems. Their message is that facts are not facts; and instead they replace reality with scenarios so dire that any solutions being offered are impotent at best and diabolical at worst. The assertion that economic collapse is inevitable is a case in point. Volition and rationality are replaced by determinism. Why? Fatalistic people don’t seek solutions, so by making the average American feel hopeless they’ve in effect eliminated any opposition. Eliminate the constructive and you are only left with the destructive.


The propagandist is insidious and clever and he rarely divulges his premise. Listen to, or read his words, and you’d never suspect him to be an anti-capitalist, anti-freedom or against free enterprise. Unless, you’ve learned how to detect the premises propagandists argue from. Ayn Rand knew them well and she was able to spot them easily. That’s why Rand always went to the root of an argument. Her absence is sadly missing today, for she better than any had the ability to expose freedom’s charlatans. To better ascertain what is and isn’t propaganda, let’s take a closer look at how propagandist work.



The Three Levels the Propagandist Work On


1. Philosophical. This is where they tell us that we are our brother’s keeper and that self-interest is wrong. The entire argument for the need to regulate individuals rests on this premise, which is why it is the key issue for those who are secretly anti-freedom. Criminalizing self-interest is also the key to the argument against economic inequality which makes it our duty to then take from one group of Americans and give to the rest. 

2. Economical. In this area propagandists portray markets as destructive forces. Markets are something to be feared and controlled lest they destroy us. We’re constantly reminded that left alone, the markets will become tools that the very rich and the “powers that be” use to oppress us, an odd argument considering that this point is usually made by the “rich and the powers that be.”

3. Political.
Here we are told that in today's global economy we must learn to compete on the same level as our competitors. Free-trade is subtly attacked as unfair trade, and conversely unfair trade is then subtly advocated as our best means of successfully competing globally. We are being told that we must adjust our political system to the times.


China—the Propagandist’s Boogey Man


Perhaps the most widely accepted propaganda today concerns the nature of China and its relationship to the US. Many are convinced that China is a nation moving toward a superior form of capitalism and that the US should somehow emulate them. We have been told that China is rich, and we are poor, that China is a great producer, and that we produce nothing.


Some of our leading investors and industrialist have moved to China in search of this "new capitalism.” What have they found there? A government that demands allegiance and conformity while any expression of individuality is met with contempt. Property ownership as a foreigner is almost impossible in China and court protection of individual and property rights is negligible and can become nonexistent in an instant.


China as a nation condones theft and permits spying on private citizens. And more people are executed in China than anywhere else on earth. It is a place where you literally live only by permission, work only by permission, and travel only by permission. Even having children is only done with permission. Yet the propagandist speaks of China with an air of respect and awe, while deriding America as corrupt and economically impotent.


China is held up as our superior by the new propagandists and hailed by American intellectuals as a model for what government should look like in the new global world. The fact that China does not innovate and only mimics is evaded by the advocates of a Chinese style economy. The fact that China’s production is government directed not market inspired has no place in the propagandist’s narrative either. According to their message, an enlightened government is one that takes the helm and actively directs its economy. What used to be called a command economy is now being heralded by intellectuals as "enlightened national self-interest.”


Fighting Back


I’ve been around long enough to know that we as a people will never beat the new propagandists at their own game. They are too intelligent and too clever to argue with. But they can be beat. How? With simple truths. A strong defense for freedom, the rights of individuals to life, liberty and property, and the fact that true economic prosperity comes only from free-market capitalism is to the propagandist what daylight is to a vampire.


The key however is to not let them detach such concepts such as prosperity, jobs, and financial security, from the concept of freedom. That is their favorite move and that’s what they are doing when they tell the American people that in order to have free markets we must have more regulation. Or that in order to have a better banking system we have to do away with the "banksters" and replace them with faithful regulators. Or that equality is to be cherished, and it should come at the expense of others with more. Or that we need jobs irrespective of productivity.


American’s are to believe that freedom of choice is only safe with a consumer protection agency watching over evil retailers and purveyors of financial goods and services. We are told that free trade must be fair trade--which requires protectionism. In other words (and these are the words you won’t hear a propagandist use), in order to gain security we must sacrifice freedom.


In any argument that remains true to freedom, individual rights, and property rights; the new propagandist loses. In order to flip the tables and win the debate, they must reduce the moral argument for freedom to one about economic welfare and the politics of inequality. They’ve learned how to do this very effectively, and are good at distorting reality so that it suits their position. Instead of arguing how to raise the common man up, they argue that we must pull those above us down. They, in effect, turn reality on its head and altogether dispense with the niceties of individual and property rights.


Their position also relies heavily on fear. Fear is their best sales tool. Fear of inflation, fear of deflation, fear of monetary collapse, fear of free trade, fear of free markets, fear of depression, and fear of our neighbors. Without fear the propagandists have nothing to say. This is not to say that there aren’t times where fear is justified. We just went through an economic period where fear was definitely merited. But that kind of fear is necessary for the individual to take action to protect themselves financially. Self-preservation is not the motive of the new propagandists, and the fear they preach reveals their true motive--control. And with all the fear in the air--the new propagandists are more active today than ever—they smell opportunity.


But it’s primarily an opportunity to undermine. By preaching the inevitability of collapse and insisting that there are no solutions to our problems, they are painting capitalism as an obsolete system. Demoralize people so they stop looking for solutions, and collapse becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Promote cures that are worse than the disease, and the system will tumble down. The end of capitalism is the hidden goal of the new propagandist.


Unmasked we see that their push for government control of money, financial services, trade, health care, the environment, are all attempts at eroding the free market. That’s why the government is being held up as our benevolent protector in this time of fear. Without it’s intervening, we are told we will be subject to the "failed policies of the past," aka capitalism. The new rhetoric “for” capitalism is really only for government controlled capitalism, which we are assured, is the only way to ensure that a crisis of the kind we just had will never happen again.


Meanwhile intellectuals warn that if we choose to go back to freer times we are choosing our own destruction as a nation. According to them going back (toward freedom) will return us to the chaos of financial turmoil. Going forward means accepting government "guidance" and protection. So there you have it: freedom or statism. This has always been the choice we’ve had in front of us as Americans, but would you have ever expected so many that claim to be on the side of freedom to unknowingly be on the side of statism?


Who is this propaganda being aimed at? The libertarians, conservatives and gold bugs are who this sophisticated assault is targeting. Many now espouse one or more of these views. Also in their crosshairs are the newcomers to the intellectual battle—the youth. Both republicans and democrats have incorporated many of these corrosive arguments into their thinking and it’s now infecting the general public too, a public being “educated” by bloggers and media who’ve accepted many of these intellectual time bombs as fact. And now we see capitalism being renounced by our republican candidates--this is how far the new propagandists have penetrated.


Separating Fact from Fiction


One of the most frighteningly effective propaganda campaigns waged recently was against Alan Greenspan. Both the left and the right joined in falsely blaming him for America’s (and to some extent the world’s) financial woes. Some of the smartest people I know are still waging war against him in their chosen medium. Why is demonizing Greenspan so important?


First, let’s be clear that these attacks haven’t been some kind of reasoned academic exercise; they have been down and dirty rage-filled assaults. Perhaps all of this contempt for Greenspan was levied in an attempt to wipe out the record of the eighteen years of unprecedented monetary stability and economic prosperity we experienced under his chairmanship? Discredit the man and you will make the era irrelevant. Has anyone heard any defense for Alan Greenspan? Why not? I hadn’t either. Read it here in Defense of Alan Greenspan!

Has anyone cared to ask how it is possible that a man who advocates a gold standard, free market capitalism, presided over declining inflation rates and advocated fiscal responsibility his entire career, can end up as responsible for the ruination of the capitalist system?  Both the left and the right hold him up as a reason for the failure of capitalism.  Pretty good trick to get the man that most symbolizes capitalism to be the man that both sides agree was its enemy.
As I am sure you are aware, most libertarians, conservatives, and gold bugs denounce Greenspan. Much of it  stems from their hatred of the Federal Reserve System. So what about ending the Fed? Isn’t that an important step to less government? Yes, and I am for that, but only in a gradual and rational way.

Purportedly pro-market propagandists want to end the Fed for the “advancement of freedom.” But what many are really after is ending the Fed in order to bring on chaos, because chaos would guarantee more government intervention and control. So they unite with the right on this subject. Context and timing are important considerations when answering questions like these, and it’s the propagandists who are pitting us against each other, just as they did Paul and Gingrich and others against Romney; and it’s the propagandist who will benefit from the emotionally charged backbiting and irrational responses if we don’t slow down and think things through. For example:


Don’t I think we should prevent big government bailouts? Of course I do. But not at the expense of a total breakdown of our financial system, nor is it the time to prevent a bank of last resort to act in defense of the entire system. Eventually, yes, but not in this day of age. Much needs to be done to get to that point.


What about going back to a gold standard? Sure. I wrote a book about it. But the way back that is now being proposed would be disastrous, and when it inevitably failed it would be capitalism and the gold standard that were blamed!


Don’t we need to fight China's thievery and unfair trade practices? Without a doubt, but not with our own thievery and unfair trade practices! Not only is that morally wrong, but doing so would bring on a trade war that would cause a worldwide recession or worse.


So, what are we going to do to prevent corporate fraud, deceit, and the abuse of leverage here at home? We can mitigate all of these, but not by attempting to control entire markets or at the expense of privacy and individual rights.


On almost every monetary and economic issue, good people who believe in things like fair trade, hard money, ending the idea of “too big to fail”, and crony capitalism, are unwittingly siding with those who knowingly want to bring the American financial system to its knees. Some propagandists do this in the name of morality or principle and others as an outright grab for power. But their motives don’t make any difference, because if we fail to see what they are doing and allow them to win, we will all witness the destruction of capitalism and freedom in the name of capitalism and freedom.



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