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Similarities between Atlas Shrugged, historical and current events

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost invariably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And if he is not romantic personally, he is apt to spread discontent among those who are.”
- H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

“And liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers. Rulers are no more than attorneys, agents, and trustees for the people; and if the cause, the interest and trust, is insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away, the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves have deputed…”
- John Adams, second US President, A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

“Some people giving orders and others obeying them: this is the essence of servitude. Of course, as Hospers smugly observes, “one can at least change jobs,” but you can’t avoid having a job — just as under statism one can at least change nationalities but you can’t avoid subjection to one nation-state or another. But freedom means more than the right to change masters.”
- Bob Black, Source: The Libertarian As Conservative, 1984

The Matrix is a system, Neo, and that system is our enemy. But when you are inside and look around, what do you see; businessmen, lawyers, teachers, carpenters. The minds of the very people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of the system and that makes them our enemy.  You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged.  And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
- Morpheus, The Matrix

Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."
- The Gospel of Thomas

"Until then, Dagny, remember that we're enemies.  I didn't want to tell you this, but you're the first person who almost stepped into heaven and came back to earth.  You've glimpsed too much, so you have to know this clearly.  It's you that I'm fighting, not your brother James or Wesley Mouch.  It's you that I have to defeat.  I am out to end all the things that are most precious to you right now.  While you'll struggle to save Taggart Transcontinental, I will be working to destroy it."
- Francisco d'Anconia,  p.587, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

 

Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff (Introduction)
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by Ayn Rand, published in 1957. The book's female protagonist, Dagny Taggart, struggles to manage a transcontinental railroad amid the pressures and restrictions of massive bureaucracy. Her antagonistic reaction to a libertarian group seeking an end to government regulation is later echoed and modified in her encounter with a utopian community, Galt's Gulch, whose members regard self-determination rather than collective responsibility as the highest ideal. The novel contains the most complete presentation of Rand's personal philosophy, known as objectivism, in fictional form.

Operation Atlas, Shrugged Off
New York Times Editorial/Op-Ed, March 19, 2003
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has mapped out a comprehensive plan, called Operation Atlas, for preventing attacks in the air, on land, on the waterways and in the subways, wherever people live, work, study, worship or recreate and wherever there are ports of entry. The price will be steep, with police overtime pushing the tab to some $5 million a week even as the city struggles to close a budget shortfall of more than $3 billion. City leaders are determined to deny any opportunity to those who would try to commit terrorism.

But this leaves hard choices for a city that has been suffering economically and psychically ever since Sept. 11. Already, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost — including slots for thousands of new police officers. Meanwhile, there has been a steady cost to the city for national security, about $110 million a year so far. President Bush promised help — $3.5 billion for first responders in localities across the nation — but it has remained mostly unfinanced. It may get ever more difficult to be heard while both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue are looking at an initial bill of tens of billions of dollars to attack Iraq and then begin rebuilding it.

PRIVATE PROPERTY

Justices Affirm Property Seizures
5-4 Ruling Backs Forced Sales for Private Development
By Charles Lane, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, June 24, 2005; Page A01
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments may force property owners to sell out and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the new project's success is not guaranteed.

Court Ruling on Land Pleases D.C. Officials
SE Properties Sought for Stadium and Mall
By David Nakamura and Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post Staff Writers, Friday, June 24, 2005; Page A13
District leaders said a Supreme Court ruling yesterday that gives municipalities broad powers to seize private property will provide the city leverage in its goal to acquire land for two controversial projects, including a new baseball stadium.
...
D.C. officials want to acquire 14 acres near the Anacostia waterfront by the end of the year to build a stadium for the Nationals. They also have been trying to buy the 1950s-era Skyland strip mall in Southeast to build a larger, upscale retail complex. In both cases, city officials say they will invoke eminent domain if necessary.

Man to try to seize home of Supreme Court justice
By Dan WhitcombWed Jun 29, 4:10 PM ET
A California man, angry over a U.S. Supreme Court decision expanding government power to take private property, says he will try to use the ruling to seize the New Hampshire home of Justice David Souter and convert it into a hotel to be named the Lost Liberty Hotel.

Souter voted with the 5-4 majority last week when the Supreme Court ruled a Connecticut city could use its powers of eminent domain to take private homes to make way for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.

The justices said the project served a public purpose of revitalizing a depressed local economy, but critics have called the ruling an unprecedented expansion of the powers of government to seize private property in America.
...
He said the hotel would be called the Lost Liberty Hotel and would include a restaurant called the Just Desserts Cafe and a museum with a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America.

He said instead of a Gideon's Bible, each room would include a copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," which many people embrace as a treatise on liberty and self-determination.

RAILROADS

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
paperback, page 51
“Speaking of progressive policies, Orren,” said Taggart, “you might ask yourself whether at a time of transportation shortages, when so many railroads are going bankrupt and large areas are left without rail service, whether it is in the public interest to tolerate wasteful duplication of services and the destructive, dog-eat-dog competition of newcomers in territories where established companies have historical priority.”

Officials: Amtrak Needs Major Change
Wed Feb 27, 6:56 PM ET
“WASHINGTON - Leading figures in deciding the future of passenger rail service agreed Wednesday that Amtrak, after three decades of losing money, cannot keep running without major changes.”

“At a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, Amtrak President George Warrington presented his request for $1.2 billion in the fiscal year beginning in October — double the $521 million proposed by the Bush administration.”

"Despite our best efforts and tangible signs of progress, the national passenger rail system has reached a critical crossroads," he said.

Snow Job
President Bush appoints yet another phony businessman, this time as treasury secretary.
By Daniel Gross
Updated Tuesday, December 10, 2002, at 2:36 PM PT
The market crumbled Monday when John Snow, the former head of railroad CSX Corp., was tapped to succeed the ousted Paul O'Neill as treasury secretary.

Snow's record in business bears more resemblance to that of George W. Bush, marked by poor market performance and outsized compensation. In fact, like Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and OMB Director Mitch Daniels Jr., Snow is a skilled bureaucratic operator who sidled to the top level of a large company from government posts. As a rule, these access capitalists are prized not for their business acumen but for their ability to open doors in Washington and foreign capitals. They work primarily in highly regulated industries or in ones that depend largely on government contracts for their sustenance: defense, pharmaceuticals, oil, and, in Snow's case, railroads.

Snow worked as a Washington lawyer and then held legal posts in the Nixon and Ford administrations. His first corporate job was as a lobbyist for the Chessie Systems Inc., in 1977, which ultimately turned into CSX. It was good initial training for Snow, who rose through the ranks. For in this highly regulated business, the CEO's post is essentially that of a glorified (albeit higher paid) lobbyist. The primary means of warding off competition isn't providing better service at better prices: It's obtaining favorable rulings from regulatory agencies.

STEEL

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
paperback, page 499 & 500
"Fred Kinnan got off the window sill and sat down on the arm of a chair. Orren Boyle spit out the butt of his cigar. James Taggart looked down at his own hands. Dr. Ferris was the only one who seemed to be at ease.
“In the name of the general welfare,” read Wesley Mouch, “to protect the people’s security, to achieve full equality and total stability, it is decreed for the duration of the national emergency that –"

“Point Five. Every establishment, concern corporation or person engaged in production of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth produce the same amount of goods per year as it, they or he produced during the Basic Year, no more and no less. The year to be known as the Basic or Yardstick Year is to be the year ending on the date of this directive. Over or under production shall be fined, such fines to be determined by the Unification Board.”

Bush Sets Steel Import Tariffs, Trade War Looms
Tue Mar 5, 7:44 PM ET
“WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday slapped tariffs of up to 30 percent on a range of steel imports to aid the struggling domestic industry, setting the stage for a trade war as the world's major steel producers vowed to fight back.”

``This relief will help steelworkers, communities that depend upon steel and the steel industry adjust without harming our economy,'' he said in a statement, adding that WTO rules recognize ``sometimes imports can cause such serious harm to domestic industries that temporary restraints are warranted.''

Steel Tariffs Appear to Have Backfired on Bush
Move to Aid Mills and Gain Votes in 2 States Is Called Political and Economic Mistake
By Mike Allen and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 19, 2003; Page A01

In a decision largely driven by his political advisers, President Bush set aside his free-trade principles last year and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel to help out struggling mills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states crucial for his reelection.

Eighteen months later, key administration officials have concluded that Bush's order has turned into a debacle. Some economists say the tariffs may have cost more jobs than they saved, by driving up costs for automakers and other steel users. Politically, the strategy failed to produce union endorsements and appears to have hurt Bush with workers in Michigan and Tennessee -- also states at the heart of his 2004 strategy.

"They tried to play politics, and it looked like it was working for a while," said Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with ties to the administration. "But now it's fallen apart."

FINANCE

"Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should."
Alan Greenspan

    If you’ve ever read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand you might appreciate the irony of having one of Rand’s supporters and co-authors Alan Greenspan play a major roll in perpetrating the same kind of fascist/national socialist fraud on the American people and global investors that the 'second handers' in Rand's story do.  Gosh I wonder what sort of national security interests are being protected by holding these meetings in secret?  What intelligence methods, sources or spies are they trying to protect?  Sure is great that 'free market' capitalism in the U.S. operates in an environment of 'transparency' without any sort of government or other organized collectivist  interference.

$100B stimulus possible - Greenspan, Rubin, Senate leaders discuss huge boost for economy
September 25, 2001: 2:31 p.m. ET
“WASHINGTON (CNNfn) - A closed-door meeting between Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and the Senate Finance Committee to discuss the health of the U.S. economy Tuesday included talk about an economic stimulus package of about $100 billion.”

“Greenspan and Rubin met privately with the Senate Finance Committee to discuss ways to help the economy in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that destroyed the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon and killed thousands.”

“Greenspan and Rubin agreed that any economic stimulus package Congress passes should be big enough to be effective -- namely, 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or about $100 billion.”

Fedpoint 18: The Discount Window
“In 1999, however, the Fed did liberalize its discount window policy in anticipation of possible Y2K-related liquidity strains in the economy.”

"Following the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center in September 2001, the Fed again encouraged depository institutions needing liquidity to borrow from the discount widow. Reserve Banks lent $45.5 billion to depository institutions on September 12, 2001, the record for a single day.”

Stocks Plummet as Wall Street Reopens
Dow Off 685; Fed Cuts Rates In Effort to Contain Losses
Tuesday, September 18, 2001; Page A01
"The Dow's 684.81-point plunge, its biggest point loss in history, came despite an unprecedented bid by the Bush administration, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street executives and major U.S. corporations to prop up the market in the hopes of sending a message that the U.S. financial system could shrug off the terrorist assault."

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks], will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
- Thomas Jefferson

The Fed: Our Central Bank
"The most important of the Fed's responsibilities is formulating and carrying out monetary policy. In this role, the Fed acts as the nation's "money manager"—working to balance the flow of money and credit with the needs of the economy. Simply stated, too much money in the economy can lead to inflation, while too little can stifle economic growth. As the nation's money manager, the Fed seeks to strike a balance between these two extremes, or, in other words, to foster economic growth with price stability."

Foreclosures hit 50-year high
Delinquency rate also up as more workers lose jobs
By Kathleen M. Howley, Bloomberg News
September 10, 2002
WASHINGTON - The U.S. foreclosure rate reached the highest level in almost half a century and mortgage delinquencies rose in the second quarter as more Americans lost their jobs, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America said.

As Budget Deficit Grows, Greenspan Speaks Softly
Sunday, July 20, 2003; Washington Post
The White House had just released its forecast of the highest U.S. budget deficit ever, but Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was not about to be pulled into a blame game.

"I would prefer to find the situation in which spending was constrained, the economy was growing, and that tax cuts were capable of being initiated without creating fiscal problems," Greenspan said.

"I would prefer a world in which Julia Roberts was calling me," replied an exasperated Rep. Bradley J. Sherman (D-Calif.), "but that is not likely to occur."

(For more on this topic please click here.)

PHYLOSOPHY

“Who is John Galt? I'll ya: he was a made up fiction character so Ayn Rand could develop her useless, crappy and basically very stupid 'positivist' philosophy...”
 - mickeyrat, MSN Group Extreme Politics 3/29/02

    Let’s see where to start. First of all it is apparent you do not understand Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, or her philosophy which is called “Objectivism” so referring to it as ‘positivism’ is inaccurate. Here is a site that can help you out.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF OBJECTIVISM
“An evaluation of Objectivism is problematic to the Classical Realist, partly because much of it appears to fall within the tradition of Aristotelian realism even though many of its major tenets are in opposition to traditional realism….”

    Here are some descriptions of her philosophy in her own words.

What is Objectivism?
“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
— Ayn Rand, Appendix to Atlas Shrugged

Why is Objectivism a System of Ideas?
“I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.”
— Ayn Rand, "Introducing Objectivism" The Objectivist Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 8 August, 1962 p. 35

What is the Objectivist View of Reality (Metaphysics)?
“Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.”
— Ayn Rand, "Introducing Objectivism" The Objectivist Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 8 August, 1962 p. 35


“I encourage you all to read "Atlas Shrugged" as the best possible example of how far the capitalists will go to sell their shoddy philosophy.”

 - mickeyrat, MSN Group Extreme Politics 3/29/02

    Again, Objectivism is primarily a philosophy that elevates the importance of the individual and is not an economic philosophy. It is important to make the distinction because it allows one to focus on the needs and motivations of each individual in a collective enterprise whether that collective is an economic system like capitalism or socialism or another perhaps more ideal system.  Please don’t confuse these concepts.  If you can maintain these distinctions it will help in understanding how individuals are manipulated, both by their own unconscious needs and those imposed upon them by their environment (e.g. culture).

“Know why "Atlas Shrugged" is so famous? Know why there's so many extant copies? Simple. The corporations, knowing a good blindfold when they see it, donated thousands of copies to libraries across America. The book never sells: no one would actually spend their money on that drivel.”
- mickeyrat, MSN Group Extreme Politics 3/29/02

    That’s the first I’ve heard that claim. Can you back that up with any evidence? I’ve heard it has been voted by readers as among the most influential and most popular.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The most influential and controversial work of the 20th Century
"Atlas Shrugged is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club. One of the most acclaimed and influential works of the 20th century, Atlas Shrugged portrays the murder and rebirth of the human spirit."

    I’ve begun to notice a pattern among those who express an opinion of the book and her philosophy. The most common pattern is that it is usually misunderstood. I think it is very likely that many capitalists have latched on to it to support their behavior as you suggest. I suspect some of them understand the philosophy but most do not. I’ve also noticed that many others start to read it, misunderstand it and are often insulted by it. One of my brother’s roommates didn’t believe there were actually people like the characters in the book. He found them cold, inhuman, and robotic. This is a very important point because it explains why her philosophy appeals to and is understood by a minority of the population and why the philosophy itself is very limited in its understanding of people different than Rand’s ideal. The confusion can be explained by exploring differences in individual personality types. I don’t know if you are familiar with Jungian inspired personality types but Rand herself was an INTJ.

The Scientist
“As an INTJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things rationally and logically.”

“INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others.”


   
I know several INTJs and understand the type pretty well. According to one survey of the 16 types INTJ females comprise only .8% of the surveyed population and 3.3% for males.  Rand was on the right track by focusing attention on the individual but she saw people through the confines of her own mind and was apparently unaware of Jung’s identified cognitive functions. If she had been aware of the underlying physiology that determines personality I think she would have been more understanding and less dismissive of other types of people who adhere to perspectives very different from her own.

    I wish to repeat and emphasize the following quote as I believe it embodies what is best about her philosophy. That is, even though she advocates a system such as capitalism, which is quite understandable and justifiable considering her experience and place in time, she places it at the bottom of a hierarchy and exalts reason above all else.

Why is Objectivism a System of Ideas?
“I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows.”
— Ayn Rand, "Introducing Objectivism" The Objectivist Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 8 August, 1962 p. 35

    This structure I contend provides an individual the flexibility to grow and change as the factual conditions of their environment changes. For example, because egoism is subordinate to reason I am confident that Rand would except the logic contained in the following claim that challenges certain features of modern capitalism. (Incidentally it has been affirmed by many that John Nash is INTP. I contend the logic argued by those like Nash must have influenced Rand and it can be seen in the kind of collective endeavor proposed by Rand in Atlas Shrugged, a collective of independent equals and not of a hierarchy.)

Waving goodbye to the invisible hand: How the Enron mess grew and grew
Marjorie Kelly
Sunday, February 24, 2002
The problem with Enron was not a lack of focus on shareholder value. The problem was a lack of real accountability to anything except share value. This contributed to a kind of mania, a detachment from reality. And it led to a culture of getting the numbers by any means necessary.

If maximum share price is an irresponsible management theory, and deregulation a flawed economic theory, there are better theories already at hand. It's intriguing that the movie "A Beautiful Mind" is up for Academy Awards during the Enron scandal -- because its protagonist, John Nash, won a Nobel Prize for proving Adam Smith's theory is incomplete. Self-interest alone can lead to disaster for all, Nash demonstrated mathematically. Self-interest coupled with concern for the good of the group is most likely to benefit everyone.

Nash's mathematics revolutionized "game theory" and is central to "evolutionary economics," which emphasizes that cooperation is as vital as competition. It's a more evolved theory than the invisible hand, more appropriate for an economy that has become more humane than that of Adam Smith's aristocratic world.

Viewed through the lens of Nash's theory, the Enron scandal should lead us to question our fundamental assumptions.

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze new problems, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
- Robert A. Heinlein from Time Enough For Love

 

“But the corporations know there's millions of folks out there desperate to find some philosophical justification for their greed. Ayn Rand provides it, and the result is that ever so often you hear those idiotic words: I'm wondering if you've ever read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand?”
- mickeyrat, MSN Group Extreme Politics 3/29/02

    Again if people actually understood Rand’s Objectivism no corporate leader would be a proponent of the philosophy unless it was individually owned and operated.  A lot of confusion can be remedied by making distinctions in the term 'liberal'.  At the founding of the United States the term would have applied to an individual person's rights exemplified in places like the Declaration of Independence which places the government in a position subservient to the rights of the individual.  Today that form of liberalism is typically referred to as "Classical Liberalism".  However, since the founding there have been people, some of them refereed to as "progressives", who believe that by applying individual rights to collectivist endeavors/entities they could benefit individuals or groups of them.  These people today are often referred to as 'liberals' however for clarity they should be referred to as 'neo-liberal'.  Undoubtedly, there were also a good number who supported such legislation without regards to collectivist idealism and saw it instead as useful in acquiring additional power and protection.  Today since most seem to have forgotten what it means to be a "Classical Liberal" those who call themselves "Conservative" are consciously or unconsciously supporters (conservators) of the accomplishments of the progressives or "neo-liberals".  However since almost no one is currently using the term "neo-liberal" it is important to note that they exist and some wield considerable influence.  The "neo-conservative" movement is in fact a "neo-liberal" revival.

    In the following citation consider that when Chomsky mentions, “genuine conservatives (classical liberals) -- a breed that has almost vanished” I contend he is referring to people like Rand.

“On corporations as "collectivist legal entities."
“The term is not mine. It is taken from a standard work on legal history: Morton Horwitz, "Transformation of American Law" (2 volumes). Horwitz is a Harvard law professor, a (if not the) leading legal historian on these matters. He explains the reasons for the term, and also gives a detailed and interesting history of the relevant corporate law. That the intellectual backgrounds are neo-Hegelian (rather like those that underlie fascism and Bolshevism) is in my opinion quite true, one of the reasons why "progressives" tended to support the extraordinary legal decisions early in this century to grant corporations the rights of "immortal persons," and one of the reasons why genuine conservatives (classical liberals) -- a breed that has almost vanished -- were strongly opposed to this attack on natural rights principles and on markets (corporations are also a radical attack on markets). This is not a legacy of "individualism": it's a sharp attack against individualism, in particular, against the natural rights doctrine that rights inhere in persons -- by which classical liberals meant PERSONS, not collectivist legal entities. “

"grant corporations the rights of "immortal persons" What does this mean?
- VonMises, msg 191, 7/13/2003 1:54 AM

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/8/1101.html
TITLE 8 , CHAPTER 12 , SUBCHAPTER I , Sec_ 1101
(3)  The term ''person'' means an individual or an organization.

http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/intbrib.htm
(2) As used in this subsection, a "U.S. person" means a national of the United States (as defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1101)) or any corporation, partnership, association, joint-stock company, business trust, unincorporated organization, or sole proprietorship organized under the laws of the United States or any State, territory, possession, or commonwealth of the United States, or any political subdivision thereof."
 
http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-594.ZD.html
The grant of corporate power to sue and be sued in no way implies a grant of federal court jurisdiction; it merely places the corporation on the same footing as a natural person, who must look elsewhere to establish grounds for getting his case into court.
 
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation
…Sometimes called a "fictional person" a corporation enjoys many of the rights and obligations of individual citizens such as the ability to own property, sign binding contracts , pay taxes, and otherwise participate in society. Typically a corporation is governed by a board of directors which has a fiduciary duty to look after the interests of the corporation.
...
Two of the most salient features of incorporation are (1)the reduction of the investors' personal liability for the corporation's actions, usually limited to the investment when the individual purchased the corporate stock and (2) the perpetuation of the assets and structure of the corporation beyond the lifetime of any of its shareholders, officers or directors.

American corporations are typically chartered in Delaware, which charges no tax on activities outside the state and has courts experienced in business law. Corporations set up for privacy or asset protection are often chartered in Nevada, which allows setting them up with no record of who owns them.
 
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/RecoveringRights_RSChom.html
Rights for Whom?
Noam Chomsky, 2000, "Recovering Rights" A Crooked Path
As widely noted, a major innovation of the UD [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] was the extension of rights to all persons, meaning persons of flesh and blood. The real world is crucially different. In the US, the term "person" is officially defined "to include any individual, branch, partnership, associated group, association, estate, trust, corporation or other organization (whether or not organized under the laws of any State), or any government entity." That concept of "person" would have shocked James Madison, Adam Smith, or others with intellectual roots in the Enlightenment and classical liberalism. But it prevails, giving a cast to the UD that is far from the intent of those who formulated and defend it.
 
Through radical judicial activism, the rights of persons have been granted to "collectivist legal entities," as some legal historians call them, and more narrowly, to their boards of directors, "a new 'absolutism' " bestowed by the courts. These newly created immortal persons, protected from scrutiny by the grant of personal rights, administer domestic and international markets through their internal operations, "strategic alliances" with alleged competitors, and other linkages.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The liberals and conservatives and Libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phonies and hypocrites. There is more freedom in any moderately deStalinized dictatorship than there is in the ordinary American workplace. You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or a monastery. . .A worker is a part-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called 'insubordination,' just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. . .The demeaning system of domination I've described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. For certain purposes it's not too misleading to call our system democracy or capitalism or -- better still -- industrialism, but its real names are factory fascism and office oligarchy. Anybody who says these people are 'free' is lying or stupid.”
- Bob Black, The Abolition of Work

The Rise, Decline, and Reemergence of Classical Liberalism
by Amy H. Sturgis
© The LockeSmith Institute, 1994
Introduction: The Definition of Classical Liberalism
Contemporary Liberalism consists of separate and often contradictory streams of thought springing from a common ancestry; the intellectual parent of these variants has not only endured intact, it has outlived some of its offspring and shown more intellectual stamina than others. The tenets of this parent, known as classical liberalism, have answered the needs and the challenges of over three centuries in the West. By observing its past and discovering how it responded to the dramatic historical dynamics of economic, technological, political, and social changes we may understand how classical liberalism provides a strong foundation for the future.

In order to assign consistent terms in this study, I must first define classical liberalism. Scholars have offered different interpretations of this term. For example, E. K. Bramsted, co-editor of the monumental anthology Western Liberalism: A History in Documents from Locke to Croce (1978), asserts that the classical liberal champions the rights of individuals (with careful attention to the more endangered rights of minorities), the right of property in particular, the government's obligation to protect property, limited constitutional government, and a belief in social progress (36). John Gray broadens this description in Liberalism (1986) to include philosophies demonstrating individualism, egalitarianism, and universalism (x). In Liberalism Old and New (1991), J. G. Merquior argues that the theories of human rights, constitutionalism, and classical economics define classical liberal thought.

These scholars and others actually agree far more than they differ concerning the philosophy's components. For the purpose of this chronology and analysis, I shall apply a broad set of criteria to determine if an idea or individual fits within this intellectual tradition. In this context, classical liberalism includes the following:

bulletan ethical emphasis on the individual as a rights-bearer prior to the existence of any state, community, or society,
bulletthe support of the right of property carried to its economic conclusion, a free-market system,
bulletthe desire for a limited constitutional government to protect individuals' rights from others and from its own expansion, and
bulletthe universal (global and ahistorical) applicability of these above convictions.

Neo-conservative
From Disinfopedia, the encyclopedia of propaganda.

A neo-conservative (abbreviated as neo-con) is an adherent of any of several formerly distinct political ideologies which have come together on some elements of global policy and use a common rhetoric, e.g. War on Terrorism, an international War on Drugs.

The term common sense conservative is said by some to be used for some people, but sometimes tends to refer to some domestic rather than to some foreign policy.


Neoconservative is conservative neoliberal
Economically, there is little or no conflict between the neo-cons and other advocates of the neoliberal political economy which underlies corporate globalization. In general, neo-con supporters are drawn post-facto from those who support that system.

All neo-conservative groups adhere to at least part of that neoliberal agenda. However, they add to this a profound obsession with one or more traits specific to their own culture or nation, and may be more likely to see protectionism as an option, especially to preserve a role for their supporters in a military-industrial complex.

In Canada and Australia, for instance, there is vocal support for purchases and production of new military hardware in neoconservative circles. There is usually also industrial policy that supports high-technology industries, and more than a little pro-technology propaganda to justify extensive (mostly indirect) support for the software and aerospace industries.

Perhaps due solely to divergent national interests, neoconservatives are not wholly consistent worldwide, although there are some strong convergences on rhetoric. Some see all neoconservative movements as different excuses to impose and defend a global neoclassical economics, which excuses differ from those of the neoliberal. In particular, the neoconservative ideology seems obsessed with defense as opposed to development, and thus is similar to the conservative/liberal divisions seen within each country in the polity of pre-globalization states. However, there are important differences between the conventional "conservative" and the modern neo-conservative or common sense conservative. The former term is more associated with domestic policy, whereas neo-cons are foreign policy "hawks".

 

"We're not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They're the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. …They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries such as…”
- Words read by Bush to a joint session of Congress, September 20, 2001

Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President
15 September 2002
The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says:

'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'

http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf
“Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

International Law Seen at Risk in U.S. Fight with Security Council
Fri Jul 5, 2002
"The real reason behind Washington's blackmail [in the Security Council] is the most troubling," according to Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), writing in the Financial Times this week. "An increasingly influential faction in the Bush administration believes that U.S. military and economic power is so dominant that the U.S. is no longer served by international law."

Project for the New American Century
The Project for the New American Century is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle; and that too few political leaders today are making the case for global leadership.

America's Image Further Erodes, Europeans Want Weaker Ties
Released: March 18, 2003
Anti-war sentiment and disapproval of President Bush's international policies continue to erode America's image among the publics of its allies.
 

Materialism and Realpolitik

"Did you realize that one of Hegel's greatest contributions was his dielectic analytical framework, and the alternative phrase for communism, as the philisophy formulated by Marx, is "dielectic materialism." I'm not sure why you cite Hegel in such derogatory fashion."
- jp3smiles, from Yahoo! news message board

That the intellectual backgrounds are neo-Hegelian (rather like those that underlie fascism and Bolshevism)

Dialectical and Historical Materialism
by Joseph Stalin (September 1938)
When describing their dialectical method, Marx and Engels usually refer to Hegel as the philosopher who formulated the main features of dialectics. This, however, does not mean that the dialectics of Marx and Engels is identical with the dialectics of Hegel. As a matter of fact, Marx and Engels took from the Hegelian dialectics only its "rational kernel," casting aside its Hegelian idealistic shell, and developed dialectics further so as to lend it a modern scientific form.

"My dialectic method," says Marx, "is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, ... the process of thinking which, under the name of 'the Idea,' he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos (creator) of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of 'the Idea.' With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind and translated into forms of thought." (Marx, Afterword to the Second German Edition of Volume I of Capital .)

“Everyone has a philosophy, knowingly or not; your only choice is whether your philosophy will be conscious and logical — or random, unidentified, contradictory and lethal.”
- An Interview with Leonard Peikoff, author of "The Ominous Parallels"

“We've had allies throughout our history that aren't necessarily of the same philosophy and persuasion that we are, regarding principles and values. Sometimes your realpolitik interests demand that.”
- James Baker, former U.S. Secretary of State, PBS Frontline interview, October 2001

realpolitik: Yahoo! Reference: The Britannica Concise
Politics based on practical objectives rather than on ideals. The word does not mean "real" in the English sense but rather connotes "things"--hence a politics of adaptation to things as they are. Realpolitik thus suggests a pragmatic, no-nonsense view and a disregard for ethical considerations. In diplomacy it is often associated with relentless, though realistic, pursuit of the national interest.

U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq's Chemical Weapons Buildup
Washington Post - December 30, 2002
By Michael Dobbs, Washington Post Staff Writer
High on the Bush administration's list of justifications for war against Iraq are President Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons, nuclear and biological programs, and his contacts with international terrorists. What U.S. officials rarely acknowledge is that these offenses date back to a period when Hussein was seen in Washington as a valued ally.

Questions That Won't Be Asked About Iraq
Congressman Ron Paul [Republican]
September 10, 2002
23. How can our declared goal of bringing democracy to Iraq be believable when we prop up dictators throughout the Middle East and support military tyrants like Musharaf in Pakistan, who overthrew a democratically-elected president?
24. Are you familiar with the 1994 Senate Hearings that revealed the U.S. knowingly supplied chemical and biological materials to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and as late as 1992 – including after the alleged Iraqi gas attack on a Kurdish village?
25. Did we not assist Saddam Hussein’s rise to power by supporting and encouraging his invasion of Iran? Is it honest to criticize Saddam now for his invasion of Iran, which at the time we actively supported?

Arming Iraq: How the U.S. and Britain Secretly Built Saddam's War Machine (Northeastern Series in Transnational Crime)
by Mark Phythian, Nikos Passas
“A chilling report on how Western vendors, with the covert connivance of their governments, helped oil-rich Iraq to acquire a state-of-the-art arsenal. Focusing on the role played by United Kingdom suppliers in the lucrative arms trade with Baghdad, …allowed the despotic, expansion-minded Hussein regime to procure from domestic sources under their control not only advanced weaponry but also the means to build nuclear bombs.”

(click here for more on US Iraq relationship)

 

    Now contrast 'Classical' Liberalism with modern National Socialism (Nazism) and Fascism.  I think it's rather easy to observe from contemporary evidence that the United States is the latest incarnation of a National Socialist or Fascist state.  However because of ideology and lack of critical analysis many Americans would disagree with this assertion.  To them I would ask that they examine the trillions of dollars of US debt which they are obliged to pay through the taxing of their labor, the extraordinary size of the US military and how their government distributes wealth through its expenses and economic practices.  Many Americans confuse Socialism with Communism.  While Communism as an ideal would distribute costs and benefits evenly to every citizen, in the United States while costs and losses are distributed (socialized) through taxes and the selling of treasury bonds, profits are privatized through 'trickle down' (top down) monetary handouts and contracts.  While these billions (ultimately trillions) are distributed to collectivist corporations, Americans through the direction of a propaganda system are obliged to consider those individual citizens who receive food and housing assistance in order to survive some form of freeloader or social leach.

National Socialism: Yahoo! Reference: The Britannica Concise
...
It rejected liberalism, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, stressing instead the subordination of the individual to the state and the necessity of strict obedience to leaders. It emphasized the inequality of individuals and races and the right of the strong to rule the weak. Politically, National Socialism favored rearmament, reunification of the German areas of Europe, expansion into non-German areas, and the purging of "undesirables," especially Jews. See also fascism.

fascism: Yahoo! Reference: The Britannica Concise
Philosophy of government that stresses the primacy and glory of the state, unquestioning obedience to its leader, subordination of the individual will to the state's authority, and harsh suppression of dissent. Martial virtues are celebrated, while liberal democratic values are denigrated. 20th-cent. fascism arose partly out of fear of the rising power of the lower classes and differed from contemporary communism (as practiced under J. Stalin) by its protection of the corporate and landowning powers and preservation of a class system.

Fascism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Fascism, in many respects, is an ideology of negativism: anti-liberal, anti-Communist, anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, etc. As a political and economic system in Italy, it combined elements of corporatism, totalitarianism, nationalism, and anti-Communism.

Corporatism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Historically, corporatism or corporativism (Italian corporativismo) is a political system in which legislative representation is given to industries and workers' societies.

Economic Fascism
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
When most people hear the word "fascism" they naturally think of its ugly racism and anti-Semitism as practiced by the totalitarian regimes of Mussolini and Hitler. But there was also an economic policy component of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and '30s as "corporatism," that was an essential ingredient of economic totalitarianism as practiced by Mussolini and Hitler. So- called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and was held up as a "model" by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe. A version of economic fascism was in fact adopted in the United States in the 1930s and survives to this day. In the United States these policies were not called "fascism" but "planned capitalism." The word fascism may no longer be politically acceptable, but its synonym "industrial policy" is as popular as ever.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power."
- Benito Mussolini (cited by Lewis Lapham in Harper's, January 2002) and [The quote is from Giovanni Gentile, not Mussolini.]

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
-
President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address - January 17, 1961

George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography --- by Webster G. Tarpley & Anton Chaitkin
Chapter - II - The Hitler Project
How important was the Nazi enterprise for which President Bush's father was the New York banker?
The 1942 U.S. government investigative report said that Bush's Nazi-front bank was an interlocking concern with the Vereinigte Stahlwerke…

Carlyle's way

Making a mint inside "the iron triangle" of defense, government, and industry.

By Dan Briody, Red Herring, January 8, 2002
Business Journalist Dan Briody on Fresh Air from WHYY, May 6, 2003
“In running what its own marketing literature spookily calls "a vast, interlocking, global network of businesses and investment professionals" that operates within the so-called iron triangle of industry, government, and the military, the Carlyle Group leaves itself open to any number of conflicts of interest and stunning ironies.”

Republican-controlled Carlyle Group poses serious Ethical Questions for Bush Presidents
October 3, 2001
“All told, Carlyle has about 420 partners all over the globe, from Saudi princes to the former president of the Philippines. Its investments run heavily in the defense sector; they make money from military conflicts and weapons spending.”

Modern History Sourcebook:
Benito Mussolini:
What is Fascism, 1932
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) over the course of his lifetime went from Socialism - he was editor of Avanti, a socialist newspaper - to the leadership of a new political movement called "fascism" [after "fasces", the symbol of bound sticks used a totem of power in ancient Rome].

Mussolini came to power after the "March on Rome" in 1922, and was appointed Prime Minister by King Victor Emmanuel.

In 1932 Mussolini wrote (with the help of Giovanni Gentile) and entry for the Italian Encyclopedia on the definition of fascism.

Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death....

Taking Aim at 2004
Can Bush win a second term running on a platform of tanks and tax cuts? An inside look at the campaign playbook
Sunday, Apr. 27, 2003
By JAMES CARNEY AND JOHN F. DICKERSON
ENDLESS WAR
The symbolism was unmistakable. as Bush talked about tax cuts last week in Lima, Ohio, he was flanked by the guns of two M-1 Abrams tanks. The week before, while pushing those same tax cuts in St. Louis, Mo., he stood in front of a $48 million F-18 fighter jet. As the first statue of Saddam fell in Baghdad three weeks ago, the White House was putting into motion a plan that would allow the President to pivot from his focus abroad to mending fences at home. Bush's "hardware in the heartland" tour follows the battle plan for his re-election effort: from now until November 2004, he will blend martial images with rhetoric about tax cuts and never let the nation forget that we're at war both abroad and at home. "Sure, he talked about his domestic agenda," says a White House official of the St. Louis event, "but there were F-18s in the background." Yes, Bush will focus on kitchen-table concerns, but there will always be the shadow of guns just behind him.
 

I contend all forms of hierarchical government are inherently dangerous both to the governed and those who wield power regardless of the label applied to it.

“What is called 'capitalism' is basically a system of corporate mercantilism, with huge and largely unaccountable private tyrannies exercising vast control over the economy, political systems, and social and cultural life, operating in close cooperation with powerful states that intervene massively in the domestic economy and international society.”
- Noam Chomsky

Taleban in Texas for talks on gas pipeline (From BBC site without pictures.)
Thursday, December 4, 1997 Published at 19:27 GMT
“A senior delegation from the Taleban movement in Afghanistan is in the United States for talks with an international energy company that wants to construct a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.”

Explosive New Book Published in France Alleges that U.S. Was in Negotiations to Do a Deal with Taliban
Aired January 8, 2002 - 07:34 ET, CNN
“BUTLER: That's the allegation that instead of prosecuting properly an investigation of terrorism, which has its home in Afghanistan as we now know, or one of its main homes, that was shut down or slowed down in order to pursue oil interests with the Taliban. The people who we have now bombed out of existence, and this not many months ago. The book says that the negotiators said to the Taliban, you have a choice. You have a carpet of gold, meaning an oil deal, or a carpet of bombs. That's what the book alleges.”

Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden
Jean-Charles Brisard, Guillaume Dasquie, Lucy Rounds (Translator), Peter Fifield (Translator), Nic Greenslade (Translator)

USA: Unocal Advisor Named Representative to Afghanistan
January 3, 2002, Corpwatch
“President Bush has appointed a former aide to the American oil company Unocal, Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, as special envoy to Afghanistan. The nomination was announced December 31, nine days after the US-backed interim government of Hamid Karzai took office in Kabul.”

Afghanistian: Oil Execs Revive Pipeline From Hell
Oil companies have dreamed of a trans-Afghan pipeline. Are they crazy enough to pull it off now?
By Daniel Fisher, Forbes.com, February 4, 2002
It has been called the pipeline from hell, to hell, through hell. It's a 1,270-kilometer conduit, 1.2 meters in diameter, that would snake across Afghanistan to carry natural gas from eastern Turkmenistan--with 700 billion cubic meters of proven reserves--to energy-hungry Pakistan and beyond. Unocal of the U.S. and Bridas Petroleum of Argentina vied for the $1.9 billion project in the 1990s. Now, with the collapse of the Taliban, oil executives are suddenly talking again about building it.

"It is absolutely essential that the U.S. make the pipeline the centerpiece of rebuilding Afghanistan," says S. Rob Sobhani, a professor of foreign relations at Georgetown University and the head of Caspian Energy Consulting. The State Department thinks it's a great idea, too. Routing the gas through Iran would be avoided, and Central Asian republics wouldn't have to ship through Russian pipelines.

Afghanistan plans gas pipeline
Monday, 13 May, 2002, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK, BBC
Afghanistan hopes to strike a deal later this month to build a $2bn pipeline through the country to take gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India.

Mr Razim said US energy company Unocal was the "lead company" among those that would build the pipeline, which would bring 30bn cubic meters of Turkmen gas to market annually.

Unocal - which led a consortium of companies from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Japan and South Korea - has maintained the project is both economically and technically feasible once Afghan stability was secured.

Afghan Delegates Walk Out in Protest Over Vote
Wed Jun 12, 4:52 AM ET, Reuters
“KABUL (Reuters) - Dozens of Afghan delegates walked out of the Loya Jirga assembly on Wednesday, saying they were angry about the lack of a free vote to decide the future of their war-shattered country, including the next president.”

“The Loya Jirga was preparing to vote for a president with Hamid Karzai, interim leader and U.S. favorite, the sole candidate, prompting protests the process was undemocratic.”

 

    The reason Rand had a strikingly different perspective then most American’s (seemingly displaced in time) is due not only to her personality type but because she was an immigrant to the US after personally experiencing the political, economic, and philosophical upheavals of the communist revolution in Russia.  When I say she appears ‘displaced in time’ when compared to the prevailing American perspective I think it would be helpful to consider the personal and prescient insight of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and the psycho-historical claims attributed to Alexander Fraser Tyler.

“It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."
- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864, (letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)


“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with a result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:
- From bondage to spiritual faith;
- From spiritual faith to great courage;
- From courage to liberty;
- From liberty to abundance;
- From abundance to selfishness;
- From selfishness to complacency;
- From complacency to apathy;
- From apathy to dependency;
- From dependency back into bondage.”
- The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic by Alexander Fraser Tyler (1748 - 1813)  

 “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged.
And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
- Morpheus, The Matrix

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