Herberts Shouldn’t Wear Tie-Dye

clothinghippies

The term “Herbert” referred to a stiff, rule-keeping bureaucrat.

Tie-dye was the clothing of hippies; it was made with bleach and strings.

Being old enough to remember how things were “back in the day,” I’m always half insulted to see very fine establishment types – people whose livelihoods rest on uncritical obedience – trying to align themselves with nonconformists they would have hurried away from back in that day.

Obedience was not cool back in the ’60s and ’70s. In fact, it was derided. Here’s a Beatles lyric that was sung as a condemnation:

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ted. And if his mother said, “Ted, be good,” he would.

Notwithstanding that I have a strong preference for well-behaved children, I think you get my point.

So when I saw some footage from the very presitigious Kennedy Center Honors, celebrating bluesman Buddy Guy, I recoiled. Here’s a still from it:

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Here’s what went through my mind:

How would these suits and gowns have treated Buddy when he was working days as a janitor at Louisiana State University back in the 1950s? Or when he was performing in a lot of very unpretty clubs on the West Side of Chicago in the late ’50s?

Where were these very successful Herberts in the 1960s, when he was playing any juke joint he could to make ends meet? How many would have shown up at his club on Chicago’s East 43rd Street in the 1970s?

And how many of these people, I wondered (and you may too), would have sympathy for poor bluesmen if virtue signaling wasn’t involved?

Now, for just one more example, here’s another group of Herberts, at the same august event, honoring Led Zeppelin:

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I’d love to see this group confronted with the boys of Led Zeppelin in, say, 1973. That would be a spectacle.

Worse than the 1950s

The 1950s are remembered as a time of abject conformity, and in some ways that was true. But today is actually worse. And the reason for it is simple:

Today’s conformity, every bit as bad as the 1950s, drapes itself in the garments of past radicals.

The tie-dyed, pot-smoking radicals of the 1960s are no longer any threat to the Herberts of the world. Mainly, they’ve been tamed and brought into the machine. But they did revolutionize the music scene, and by doing so, they taught advertisers how to abuse a youth culture. Because of that, images of past rebels became (and remain) commercially important.

That’s why our modern Herberts turn out to honor people they might have jailed back in the day.

The proof of this is to be found in examining how these people have treated today’s radicals, people like Ross Ulbricht and Julian Assange. And the verdict is stark: They have mercilessly abused them.

But my point today is not condemnation, even if it is deserved. Rather, I’d simply like the Herberts to go back to things they’re good at.

Herberts are great at fitting in, presenting proper appearances, and keeping up with the Joneses. They should stick to their strengths and leave radicalism to people who know how to do it.

And so, here’s what I’d like to tell the Herberts:

If your mother never yelled at you for tie-dying clothes in her sink… if you weren’t asked to leave “proper occasions”… if you didn’t habitually look out for cops… you really shouldn’t make a show of celebrating radicals. It’s glaringly obvious you’re not like them. We may be polite about it, but we’re not fooled.

* * * * *

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  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

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Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

What Julian Assange Is Really Doing

JulianAssange

Most people know the what about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks – that they publish secret information – but they don’t know the why. And that’s a great loss, because the reason behind all the leaks is both brilliant and illuminating.

It Usually Starts with the Cypherpunks

The first thing to understand is that WikiLeaks, like Bitcoin, came from the cypherpunks. In particular, WikiLeaks was spawned by a cypherpunk group that formed (spontaneously) in Melbourne, Australia.

In other words, WikiLeaks is the creation of some smart guys who were inspired by Timothy C. May, Eric Hughes, Murray Rothbard, and a few others. Assange was part of this group and an intriguing thinker in his own right.

Assange explained what WikiLeaks would be doing, and why, back in 2006, and you can still find copies of that work here((I owe hat tips to Aaron Bady, who addressed this before I did, and to Joe Katzman, for turning me on to it.)). Given the worldwide recognition of WikiLeaks, it’s a little crazy that this is so little known and discussed, but I’ll do my part to change that condition.

The Core Ideas

Assange starts out by describing modern governance as conspiracy. He invokes Teddy Roosevelt, who said, “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”

Assange calls these conspirators “neocorporatists,” referring to the entire complex of legislators, bureaucrats, and the corporations who purchase laws from them.

He goes on to describe them as existing in elaborate networks, a theme that Jonathan Logan and I examined in The New Age of Intelligence and that was the subject of a landmark study in 2011 by Vitali, Glattfelder, and Battiston, entitled The Network of Global Corporate Control.

These networks – the real power behind the apparent power – are WikiLeaks’s actual targets, not the governments they may seem to be addressing. This is the first thing to understand about WikiLeaks.

What Assange wants to affect is communication inside these networks. This passage explains why fairly well:

[W]e see conspiratorial interactions among the political elite… the primary planning methodology behind maintaining or strengthening authoritarian power… these plans are concealed by successful authoritarian powers.

WikiLeaks was designed to hurt power that hides its intentions.

But merely unmasking those intentions is not the goal; Assange, brilliantly, goes after something deeper than that.

Preventing Obscured Power from Using Power

Assange writes:

Not every conspirator trusts or knows every other conspirator even though all are connected. Some are on the fringe of the conspiracy, others… [may] be a bridge between important sections or groupings of the conspiracy.

He goes on to say that such a network can be disrupted by “distorting or restricting the information available to it,” by “unstructured attacks on [its] links,” by dividing the network by cutting links. Then he adds this:

A conspiracy sufficiently engaged in this manner is no longer able to comprehend its environment and plan robust action.

This is Assange’s goal: He wants to stop the “conspiracy” from trusting itself.

The goal of WikiLeaks is to prevent a network of this type from communicating with itself.

So, when WikiLeaks publishes the Democratic National Committee’s dirty secrets (to pick just one example), it’s not trying to drive public outrage, as reasonable as that might be. Rather, it’s trying to make the conspirators distrust each other, and especially to distrust their communications, because if those links go, networked power goes with them.

And It Gets Even Better

I hope you can see how brilliant the WikiLeaks strategy really is. They’re not reacting after the events, as in exposing dirty laundry. They are acting in advance, disrupting their enemy’s ability to function in the future.

And here’s where it gets even better: A network of this type invariably reacts to leaks by closing itself tighter against untrusted links. And so, by closing itself off from intrusion, the network becomes less and less able to engage with anything outside itself. And the less it engages with things outside itself, the less it can enact power outside itself.

Once the obscure conduits of elite power become so paranoid that they can no longer conspire among themselves, WikiLeaks has won. As Assange writes:

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie… in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit….

What Led to This?

As noted above, I find this a brilliant strategy. More than this will be required to bring our world out of its current barbaric age, but this is a fascinating and important part.

Before I close, I’d like to aquatint you with the mindset that produced this. And so, here is an edited passage from Assange’s book, Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet:

The new world of the internet longed for independence. But states and their friends moved to control our new world. They leached into the veins and arteries of our new societies, gobbling up every relationship expressed or communicated, every webpage read, every message sent and every thought googled, and then stored this knowledge, undreamed of power, in top secret warehouses, forever.

And then the state reflected what it had learned back into the physical world, to start wars, to target drones, to manipulate UN committees and trade deals, and to do favors for its vast network of industries, insiders and cronies.

If this isn’t the kind of world you want, I encourage you to get busy creating a better one. Watching and complaining will never give you what you want.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.

  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

The Dangers of Telling the Truth: Snowden, Assange, and Manning

dangers of telling the truthOne of them has been tortured; another is surrounded by armed men and trapped; and the third is hiding ten thousand miles away, in fear of his life. And what were their crimes? Telling the truth.

Talk about a sick commentary on the modern world.

For those who didn’t know, Ed Snowden is the young man who released evidence of the US government purposely trashing the Constitution that they swore to protect. Coming on the heels of the press surveillance, Verizon, IRS, and Boundless Informant scandals, his information on project Prism has capped off quite a run. Whether Americans still have the emotional strength to give a damn, or they are simply looking for reasons to believe, is another question, but this young man is a hero of the highest order.

So is Julian Assange and so is Bradley Manning. They released the truth about what they saw happening. And the gigantic operations are threatening their lives because they do not want you to know the truth.

Let me quote Jesus here:

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

So, who’s on which side of this issue?

The haters of light proclaim that they see more than you do, know more than you do, and are wiser than you. And they go further: first demanding that you give them your money, and then that you thank them for keeping you in the dark.

What would you think if someone who proposed that to you as a business deal?

Yet, these people proclaim that they are empowered to do dark deeds by the great LAW. When questioned, they quote dozens of statutes and rulings and regulations. Yet, it all crumbles as soon as anyone refers to the original and paramount law. That “supreme law” reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.

That paramount law does not say, “unless you have appropriate statutes, or rulings, or executive orders, or international treaties, or other impressive scraps of paper.” It says shall not be violated.

In response, they call you stupid, uneducated, and deceived. Then they will threaten you.

Their threats, of course, have to be taken seriously. After all, they’ve purchased how many billion bullets in the past couple of years? And how many people have they tortured in Cuba? And how many violent, international kidnappings have they undertaken under the more pleasant term of “rendition”?

And they claim to be righteous. Don’t you believe it.

When Snowden, Assange, and Manning walk free, you can reconsider. But until these three truth-tellers are publicly thanked, these agencies – no matter how many dollars and guns and agents they have – are the enemies of light and truth.

[A note to my religious friends: Don’t you dare try to say that these agencies are agents of God’s will. By doing so, you are calling Jesus a liar.]

Paul Rosenberg
The Dangers of Telling the Truth: Snowden, Assange, and Manning
FreemansPerspective.com