Who’s the REAL demagogue? Trump or the Establishment?

Who’s the REAL demagogue? Trump or the Establishment?

by Don Hank

A British writer who does not like Donald Trump recently expressed publicly:

 

“Mr Trump’s rallies increasingly attract violence – by his opponents and his supporters.”

In a three-way conversation in which I was included, a mutual friend reminded him that it is not fair to blame a person who is attacked for being attacked. The mutual friend asserted that it is a well-known trick of the left to blame the attackee for being attacked.

 

The Trump detractor, undeterred, then called Trump a mountebank who made “demagogic outbursts.”

 

demagogism, demagoguism, demagogy

the art and practice of gaining power and popularity by arousing the emotions, 

passions, and prejudices of the people.

 

It must be noted that in Europe, especially the UK, when someone accuses someone else of being a demagogue, the purpose of the accusation is generally not to adhere to a standard definition of the word but rather to stealthily create an association in the mind of the audience between the person thus impugned and Adolf Hitler. The implication is an appeal to emotion intended to stop the discussion before it can get started – often because the accuser lacks the skill and/or the supporting facts to continue the discussion. That may not have been the case in the above-referenced discussion and I don’t intend to imply that. Note, however, that, particularly in Europe, the accusation of demagoguery is in itself a kind of subtle soft demagoguery because it is intended to evoke emotional images of the last war that caused so much suffering in Europe. Good patriots generally bow reflexively to the person who conjures up this image, no matter how irrelevant it may be. While it is true that Trump, like all the other candidates, appeals to emotion and can thus technically be accused of demagoguery, the content and purpose of Trump’s utterances is the diametric opposite of Hitler’s. In fact, I will go so far as to say that, ironically, the Hitler analogy is more applicable to the Establishments in Europe and the US, which oppose Trump.

In the case of Adolf Hitler, the ultimate goal was war, a racist war that would force Germanism on the rest of the world and even eliminate many non-Germans.

During the GOP debates, almost all of Trump’s opponents expressed the idea that Russia was the number one enemy, on the assumption that the American people would reflexively agree with this assessment, forgetting that Russia had never declared jihad on anyone. Some, like Ohio Governor John Kasich, even went so far as to say that if he were president, he would “punch Russia in the nose.” Ohio Governor Chris Christie said he would also do so if the Russians violated a US-imposed no-fly zone, and Carly Fiorina agreed with both demagogues. Hillary, for her part, has compared Putin with Hitler, and her choice of pro-war cabinet members has led a number of scholars to predict that a Hillary presidency would lead to a nuclear war.

Now why do I call this war rhetoric demagoguery? I do so because it is clear that these Neocon warmongers firmly believe that most Americans are still generally imbued with Cold War fervor. Of course, they are wrong, because if that were true, Donald Trump – who bravely said in his campaign, “I think I can get along with Putin” – would not be as popular as he is. In fact, it is safe to say that Americans are inexorably turning against the Neocons whose whole raison d’être is centered around the kind of senseless war that has caused untold suffering throughout the world for over a half-century. The same rejection of the Establishment is being seen in Europe.

Now the demagoguery of both parties’ elites is almost identical with Hitler’s but is potentially more dangerous because we now are looking at the possibility of a nuclear confrontation, and numerous warnings are being issued by officials in relevant positions such as former generals and foreign ministers, eg, here, here, here, here, and that is barely scratching the surface.

Everywhere in the West, the elites have used nothing less than demagoguery to keep the masses in check. Every time a politician, like Angela Merkel, accuses her opponents of being the “far right,” she is in fact attempting to conjure up images of the Third Reich, when in fact, the EU and Establishment regimes are nothing but an extension of that regime, as ably demonstrated by Rodney Atkinson, for example, in this video, and by our colleague Edward Spalton, eg, here.

Yet the demagogues who want war continue to call the peacemakers demagogues.

But the threadbare ruse can only last until the people see through it, and the time is just about up.

Those identified as supporting the Establishment could soon lose all credibility. The good news: it is not to late to adjust one’s message accordingly.

A word to the wise.

News item:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/13/french-policeman-stabbed-death-paris

Looks like these terrorists are trying to get Trump elected. (Yea, I know, they are just stupid!)

Don Hank

Even after Paris, Libertarians want open borders

 

Even after Paris, Libertarians endorse open borders

 

by Don Hank

 

The libertarian think tank Mises Institute just published an article titled ISIS May Be Our Ally Some Day. (My thanks to our friend Peter in the UK for this tip).

Expressed in the following sentence from the piece is perhaps the most dangerous error of ideological Libertarianism:

 

“In the West, since the nineteenth century, nationalism has largely filled the role of manufacturing consent to government domination, by drawing arbitrarily the contours of a fantasized historical and cultural community.”

Libertarians make the same mistake as radical leftists in that they ignore cultural identity and pretend it does not exist. I discussed this and its disastrous effects here.

Their attitude is: 50 million people share the same likes and dislikes, the same customs, the same religion and the same cultural identity? So what? It’s up to us to erase this identity to protect the world from war and enslavement.

Liberals, including Libertarians, think that it was nationalism that gave the world the Third Reich and WW II. Quite the opposite is true. It was indeed the supranational idea of a united Europe that inspired Hitler, and the idea was carried on by his former officials after the war to create the EU dictatorship, as disclosed  here and here and in this video by Edward Spalton and Rodney Atkinson, respectively.

By attempting to erase all cultural differences, Libertarianism and Leftism both seek to dominate while hypocritically endorsing “liberty.”  Instead of divide and conquer, they seek to artificially unite and conquer.

The author mentions the 19th Century as a turning point, alluding to the Treaty of Westphalia which enshrined in international law the concept of respecting the sovereignties of nations. Today’s utter disregard for national sovereignties gave us, for example, the hideous grotesquery of a shattered Libya where the US hegemon decided arbitrarily to take out Ghadaffi, a progressive and beloved secular leader who brought unprecedented prosperity by refusing to allow Islamic radicalism to get the upper hand. The author is, perhaps unwittingly, supporting this lawlessness.

The contours of a historical and cultural community they speak of are anything but arbitrary. Calling them arbitrary is indeed arbitrary in itself. The author is referring to national groupings whose constituent populations identify with each other sentimentally and intellectually. Nor is this community in any way a fantasy.

Go tell an Italian that the Italian identity is a fantasy. Be prepared to run.

But especially, do not tell a Russian that there is no such thing as a Russian identity. It’s all in his head (BTW, the Russians’ strong sense of identity is one of the main reason for the utterly irrational hatred of all things Russian that permeates the West, particularly the upper strata, who cleave to the dangerous notion of supranationality endorsed by the Mises Institute author). False modesty aside, I am particularly alert to cultural differences because of my intimate exposure to many cultures and languages over about 55 years. My analysis is not only from intuition or from a study of other people’s ideas, eg, from having read books or heard lectures, but primarily from years of experience in total-immersion experiences in the field. Why listen to an armchair philosopher when you can get it from the horse’s mouth? Listen to me: Culture is real, more real than anything libertarians or their soul mates the liberal leftists have ever written. They, along with the liberal leftists, are in fact the reality-denying fantasists who promote the dangerous fantasy of a one-world world government that has wrecked swaths of our world both under the communists of the 20th Century and under the EU.

The lie that statehood and national identity do not exist is what is bringing down Europe before our eyes, flooding it with unvetted “refugees” from terror-nurturing countries and foisting a failed monetary system and military program on its constituent states, all subservient to the US government. It has enabled a small deceitful cabal to bring an entire continent to virtual economic and social ruin.

America is on the way to such a union. GW Bush tried to foist the North American Union on us years ago. Fortunately, Americans – most of whom think of ourselves as a nation despite the ill-intentioned propaganda of the kind so cheekily represented by the Libertarians above – protested vigorously and the project was apparently scrapped. But in reality, even after the elites stopped naming its name, they stealthily pursued its goals as vigorously as before, with Bush opening our borders ever wider, allowing more and more illegal aliens into our country and even refusing to repatriate violent criminals who had entered the US illegally, as I showed here long before Donald Trump raised the issue. Obama is carrying Bush’s torch. You don’t have to name it to create a supranational union. The unnamed ones are the most dangerous.

Like all ideologies, Libertarianism must deny reality to survive and receive donations. One clue as to why we ignore Putin to our peril is that he has stated publicly that he has no ideology at all. Recently he was named the most powerful man in the world. Realism is power. Ideology is doomed to failure.

 

 

 

 

 

Book review: Edmund Burke by Dennis O’Keeffe

Edmund Burke by Dennis O’Keeffe

Continuum, New York and London 2010

IN THE SERIES: MAJOR CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERTARIAN THINKERS

Edited by John Meadowcroft,

In this eminently readable, intellectually stimulating and compact volume Professor Dennis O’Keeffe does an excellent job of introducing us to Edmund Burke, his life and family, the essence of his most notable works, his parliamentary career and manifesto writing and how apparent contradictions in his own life and philosophy are reconciled in his intellectual and political development.

“No one can read the Burke of Liberty and the Burke of Authority without feeling that here was the same man pursuing the same ends.” wrote Winston Churchill another Conservative who took his own Burkean internal conflicts (between landed conservatism and the power of the Empire on the one hand which he sought to preserve and individual emancipation and free trade which he promoted) to the point of twice “crossing the floor” in party allegiance.

In the case of Edmund Burke there were the additional conflicts of an Irish Catholic origin (although his father had converted to Anglicanism some 9 years before Edmund’s birth) and his protests at the demands by the protestant Irish Parliament of Irish Catholics on the one hand and on the other his Quaker education from the age of 12, his attendance at the Protestant Trinity College Dublin and his life long Anglicanism and admiration of the English Protestant polity based on the 1689 settlement and the preservation of the British Empire. The latter however never prevented him from espousing (for their time) radical views about slavery, economic corruption in India, discriminatory legislation in Ireland and sympathy for American Colonists whose freedom-loving independence of nature he identified as being too similar to their cousins in Britain for conflict to be a wise course of action.

Like most solidly based intellectual Conservatives Burke began his political life with an interest in radical thought, testing and probing the foundations of a social and economic structure which he would ultimately help to reform and defend – dissecting in Burke’s case the advances of the Enlightenment into the welcome principles of freedom of thought while rejecting the arid abstractions of excessive rationalism. Like my late friend Sir Alfred Sherman who saw “scientific” Marxism as a “self delusion beyond repair” and became a leading creator of the classical liberal Conservatism of the Thatcher Government so Burke saw that the hubris of de haut en bas French Enlightenment philosophes had led not only to the bloody excesses of the French Revolution but would, as he predicted, lead to the rise of tyrants and bloody revolutions on a vaster international scale in future centuries.

As Sherman ended his political journey fusing classical liberal thought with Conservative principles (a set of principles which even the Labour Government did not dare overtly to unravel) so Burke – having started by editing at Trinity College “The Reformer” and in 1756 writing A Vindication of Natural Society containing ideas hostile to the Church and the political order of the day – ultimately became a philosophical and political pillar of the growing British Empire.

Even at his most critical Burke always sought political balance, seeking to reform and preserve rather than to petulantly tear down for he saw in a just “natural development” of power in proportion to responsibility that social and economic progress which the totalitarian revolutionaries would for ever exclude as they swept aside not only religious and aristocratic leadership but religious and social foundations. With his cousin William Burke he wrote in 1757 “An Account of the European Settlements in America” in which he praised the “independence” of the “ordinary sort”, the free trade which allowed them to flourish and their aristocratic leadership – all ensuing, Burke thought, from the 1689 Settlement which provided a healthy balance between Government, Monarchy and Parliament whose sole justification was its accountability to the people. How Burke would have condemned those 20th century British Parliamentarians who bypassed the true sovereigns in European Treaty Law to undermine their Parliament and nation!

It was in that vein that he wrote in 1770 (having previously formed the “New Whigs” from both Tory and Whig dissidents and writing their manifesto) “Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents” opposing George III’s Royal encroachment on Government. We must note how that Crown Prerogative has nowadays been usurped by successive British Governments under Treaty Law to sign away the voters sovereign rights. “The Commons answered to the People and not the King”, was the essence of Burke’s attack then – just as today the democratic nationists seek to re-assert the power of the true sovereigns (the people) over an out of control political class which delegated powers to alien control and foreign jurisdiction. Burke wrote:

“The House of Commons can never be a control on other parts of             Government unless they are controlled themselves by their constituents and unless these constituents possess some right in the choice of that Housewhich it is not in the power of that house to take away.”

Since the late 1960s the elected representatives of the British people have conspired to do just that. They have usurped the power of the people as represented in Parliament and transferred most decision making to a different legislature and judiciary through confusing, covert and unconstitutional means: Crown prerogative power, treaty law, administrative law, delegated powers and statutory instruments – all designed to bypass the representatives of the people. And how successful they have been! Burke who predicted the Napoleons, Hitlers and Stalins of future centuries would have immediately grasped the more covert and insidious revolutionary aims of Heath, Clarke and Howe, Mitterand, Kohl and Delors as they sacrificed the stability of nationhood on the altar of the corporatist Euro-State!

Burke would I think also have instinctively understood the nature of corporatism – that socialist form of capitalism which underpins both the supranational collective of the Euro-State and the philosophy of “World Government”. When we consider his radical attacks on corporate corruption in India, the encroachment on religious freedom in Ireland by the State and the taxation of the American colonists we see an instinctive rejection of State/corporate power but a defence of nationhood – albeit overseen (in his day) by a benign imperial power. O’Keeffe points out that Burke totally rejected all appeals to Jacobinism or Napoleonism to rectify any injustices. He would have been perhaps most supportive of the more modern idea of “imperial trusteeship” or the idea (if not the reality) of the modern British Commonwealth.

Burke is best know for his 1790 work Reflections on the Revolution in France and his critique of the rootless rationalism of many Enlightenment philosophers which underpinned, as he saw it, the extreme dismissal of the past and hence the inevitable extreme and bloody consequences. By rejecting the whole in revolutionary fervour the French, said Burke:

“chose to act as if you had never been moulded into civil society and had everything to begin anew…..by despising everything that belonged to you.”

In effect they engaged not just in destruction but in self-destruction, kicking away the historical platform on which the reformer would base his reforms. O’Keeffe contrasts the optimism of the Liberal Benjamin Constant (who sought to look beyond the excesses of the revolution to an idealistic legacy) with Burke who saw only an orgy of destruction which would feed on its own irrationality and have a permanent deleterious effect on political discourse and ideas.

For Burke the irrational blood letting was ironically caused by an arid rationality. He condemned Voltaire’s anti Christian form of Enlightenment and especially Rousseau’s “general will” and the implicit consent of individuals to a governed society.

“We are not the converts of Rousseau. We are not the disciples of Voltaire……. Atheists are not our preachers: madmen are not our lawgivers”

Burke was right to foresee the fruits of the supposed “reason” of the French Revolution transformed into further brutalities. For 19th century Marxism, as O’Keeffe notes, added “science” to their “rational” certainties and forged a more efficient killing machine. We must be thankful for the resurgence of a new (however tenuous) liberal order to blow away the “scientism” (Hayek) of Marx’s children and establish a philosophy of an Open Society (Popper) for what prosperity and democratic freedoms we now enjoy.

Burke was equally suspicious of “new money” and the industrial and financial worlds which were taking over from landed wealth but O’Keeffe rightly surmises that in time Burke would surely, as a life long reformer, have recognised the advances afforded by industrial development – not least I suggest in employing the landed poor (as the agricultural revolution made their labour redundant) and the slaves for whose freedom Burke had himself campaigned. He would also have appreciated the at least partly successful modern attempts to combine the fruits of Conservative morality and property rights with the liberal virtues of individualism, entrepreneurship and free trade in the 1980s and 1990s.

Burke’s admiration of all things English arose out of his appreciation of the Rule of Law, its gradual Constitutional development (without the equivalent of a French revolution) the balance of powers between nobles, monarchy and Commons, an aristocracy constrained by constitution, the possibility of upward social mobility and the Empire (“Without Freedom it would not be the British Empire” he said.) Burke opposed “any abstract plan of Government or of freedom” – so he would undoubtedly have seen the modern concentration on “human rights” (which unlike freedoms are defined by the rulers, always imperfectly and incompletely and those who define can also take away!) and he would not have been surprised to see that the old Soviet tyranny had no end of stipulated “rights” nor that the builders of “Europe” have used human “rights” and an artificial “citizenship” to undermine the freedom of and freedoms within the nation states.

This excellent volume concludes with a series of summaries of how Burke would have seen and judged the modern political world. “Under Burkean Eyes: Burke and Our present blessings and woes” both seeks to bring Burke up to date and uses practical examples to illustrate his overall philosophy. This part of the book is of course partly surmise and extrapolation and is open to critique but it is a most stimulating provocation to Burkean thought.

O’Keeffe seeks to apply Burke’s “clear feet on the ground reasonableness” to inter alia the crudity of modern political discourse, the West’s triumphalism, the superiority of capitalist economics, the new rise of India, the fatalism of Islam and socialism, Rousseauian Green Movements and man made global warming and the attack on the family – an excellent introduction (as is the entire volume) to the modern relevance of Edmund Burke.

Rodney Atkinson

February 2010

Rodney Atkinson is a political economist and businessman, a former Merchant Banker, Academic and adviser to Ministers in the Thatcher Government. He is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Buckingham and the author of, inter alia,  Europe’s Full Circle and The Emancipated Society which proposed a fusion of Conservative and Classical Liberal thought on the basis of emancipated versus dependent societies.