A New Martial Law Is Here

When a military boss is installed as the head of government, displacing civilian leadership, we call it martial law. In the 20th century we expected to see this as a general kicking out of a president and taking over. The 21st century has brought us a variation on that theme, but it still involves military organizations ruling over everyone else.


When a military boss is installed as the head of government, displacing civilian leadership, we call it martial law. In the 20th century we expected to see this as the general of an army kicking out a president and taking over. The 21st century has brought us a variation on that theme, but it still involves military organizations ruling over everyone else.

Right now, we’re living under groups that have inserted themselves into the most intimate parts of our lives and stand ready to order force down upon us. The people doing this are a variety of intelligence agencies, and I’d like you to remember that the NSA is the military. So are the Defense Intelligence Agency and half a dozen other spy units.

Here’s a passage from Julian Assange in Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet that makes my point well:

When you communicate over the internet, when you communicate using mobile phones… your communications are being intercepted by military intelligence organizations… It’s a soldier between you and your wife as you’re SMSing. We are all living under martial law as far as our communications are concerned, we just can’t see the tanks – but they are there.

But it’s not just the military that has displaced traditional power. It’s Google (partnership with the Department of State, long-standing CIA ties), Facebook (FBI, CIA, who knows), and a host of other “free” services.

As for bringing force down upon us via new processes, consider these cases:

Perhaps a few of these didn’t involve Facebook corporate or American enforcers, but the point stands: Facebook is the evidence gatherer, with a direct, automated connection to their enforcement partners.

Everyone Is Targeted

We’re used to thinking of policemen working backward from the crime: Get some clues, follow them, then target an individual or two for closer scrutiny. But that’s not the way it’s done now.

Now, under the new enforcement regime, everyone is targeted… in advance.

This has been done in the name of efficiency and safety of course… because that’s what sells. Targeting individuals after the fact “might allow something bad to happen,” and so the aforementioned outfits simply suck it all up – every website you visit, every mouse click, every email, every text… from everyone.

And by the way, there are probably a dozen projects that want to use that data to predict crime. In fact, that’s already being done. Lampposts are now installed with hidden microphones. Again, they are gathering evidence on everyone, in advance. And this on top of cameras everywhere.

So, almost everything you do is already organized to be “held against you in a court of law.” The evidence has been gathered and is available at all times. The new martial law is already here.

And It Gets Worse

All that data is not used merely for enforcement – not by a long stretch. A far more efficient use of it is to manipulate you. But whether they’re nudging you to a more socially useful opinion or to buy a different pair of shoes, that’s how Google, Facebook, and the rest make their money. Their users don’t pay them.

Simply as a means of increasing profit, once these outfits already have all the data, why not use it for three things, or twenty, or a hundred?

Someone said to me the other day: Free is the most dangerous word in the English language. And indeed it is, because free has brought a new kind of martial law upon us all. And what’s worse, millions are addicted to it and many more millions don’t want to know.

And if you’re tempted to think that this doesn’t involve the military, remember that the NSA and GCHQ were teaching military operatives to manipulate people on the internet years ago. Are we really to assume that they haven’t automated this?

New Laws Will Accomplish Nothing

Please don’t let yourself think that new laws will fix this, because they won’t. Laws take long periods of time to write and still longer to implement. By the time they have any effect, technology has moved along and new ways to gather and abuse data have replaced the old ones… then it’ll be years before those are outlawed, presuming that enough pressure is applied.

And pressure is no guarantee either, since the data-grabbers throw a lot more money around Washington than you do.

What Should We Do?

I’ve explained what to do several times already, so I won’t repeat it here. But the essential step is to recognize what’s going on. Without that, nothing else matters.

The truth is that we’re already living under a new kind of martial law. Either we face it or we don’t.

* * * * *

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Paul Rosenberg

Calling Things by Their True Names


Somewhere along my travels, I found an old Chinese proverb that says this:

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their true names.

I’ve found a great deal of value in that little saying. It is, in fact, a fundamental building block of human development. So long as we call things by false names, we maintain our own confusion and contribute to our own abuse.

So, today I want to examine several instances of calling things by false names and to define true names for them.

True Name #1: “Because violent people say so.”

We’ve all heard young people ask why certain things must be done. And we are all familiar with responses like “because it’s the law” or “because that’s how society works.”

Those phrases, however, are untrue. The honest answer to such questions is “because violent people demand it.” Almost no one pays taxes willingly; they pay because they’ll be punished if they do not comply, ultimately including armed men and jail cells. The same goes for every state order, from building permits to stop signs: Comply or face punishments, ending in violence.

The truth is not that we do things because of laws or even because of convention; we do them because the users of violence order them and stand ready to hurt us if we don’t comply.

For actions we take voluntarily, difficult and misleading answers are not required. We usually answer questions about those things easily and honestly.

True Name #2: “Thank you for killing people and breaking things.”

How many times have we heard, “Thank you for your service,” solemnly intoned to a military employee? The truth, however, is that militaries accomplish very specific things, which are – if we are to be honest and direct – to kill people and break things. Phrases like “protecting our freedoms” and “safeguarding our civilization” are judgments – approving summaries with the purpose of making you feel good. They are not direct facts.

Thus, the true name of “thank you for your service” is “thank you for killing people and breaking things.” Whether or not we think the killing and breaking are appropriate, this is an honest description of what weapons do.

(Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh, who was, so far as I know, the first person to use this phrase.)

True Name #3: “Paying my extortion.”

Extortion is “obtaining money, property, or services through coercion.” The classic example of extortion is a protection racket, with the racketeers calling their demand a “payment for protection.”

As we mentioned under #1, almost no one pays taxes willingly. Taxes are taken via coercion and justified by promises of protection. And so it could hardly be any clearer that the true name for taxes is extortion.

Some people will claim that this involuntary transaction is somehow justified, but that does nothing to change its true name: Taking money by coercion is extortion, and always will be.

True Name #4: “Campaign bribery.”

Bribery, according to Black’s Law Dictionary is the “offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.” In other words, you give money to a ruler of some type, and they do something for you in return.

So, when a company gives $5,000 to some political candidate (or group of candidates) hoping to get something back – even if they call it “access” – that’s bribery.

And please, let’s not pretend to be naïve: Every serious “campaign donation” is spent in hope of getting something in return. Thousands of us have personal experience with this (myself included), and we cannot believe otherwise without deluding ourselves.

So, call it “campaign bribery” or simply “bribery,” but this multi-billion dollar business is simply large-scale bribery, which we could also call graft. There’s no other honest tag to place upon it. If we say, “but it’s legal,” we merely defend our own confusion.

True Name #5: “Rigged trade deals.”

Free trade requires just one thing of governments: to get out of the way and let people buy and sell as they wish.

What politicians call “free trade,” however, includes hundreds and even thousands of pages that define what you may and may not do. The current example of this – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP) – features a couple of thousand pages of regulations. It was written by government officials with “input” from mega-corporations worldwide.

So, to be honest – to speak truthfully – what televised suits refer to as “free trade deals” are, in honest language, “rigged trade deals.” Free trade requires the traders to be left alone.

I Could Go On…

I could go on at some length of course: “News stations” are primarily “fear delivery systems,” “officials” are actually “rulers,” the Federal Reserve is neither federal nor a reserve, and so on. But I’ll stop here, confident that you understand my message.

Calling things by their true names is important. In fact, if we persist well enough and long enough in this, the world will change as a result. The coercive systems of our time couldn’t survive with light shining clearly upon them. Their continued operation requires a confused populace.

So, if you’re “looking for something to do,” please start right here.

* * * * *

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You may never look at life the same way again.

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

The Military-Evangelical Complex


There are evangelical Christians whom I love and respect. Nonetheless, it’s time to face this: The military-evangelical complex is not just politically dangerous; it’s a corruption of the Judeo-Christian tradition and thus of Western Civilization itself.


Let’s start by defining this clearly: The military-evangelical complex is an intricate partnership between the US government and thousands of churches, typically evangelical. These churches support and glorify government-authorized violence. Their messages to their members are clear: To enforce laws is noble and righteous; to bleed on a foreign battlefield is godly; the US military is a great force of goodness upon Earth; America, manifested especially through military action, is God’s special tool.

Every American past high-school age should recognize this description, but to be clear, here are a few exemplary images:

  • It is announced in church that Johnny has joined the military. He is asked to stand and is heartily applauded by all.

  • Memorial Day church services (or Veteran’s Day or July 4th) feature dedicated sermons and proud displays of flags and uniforms. There is effusive praise for soldiers, casting them as godly heroes.

  • Military-themed ceremonies are held before every major sporting event.

  • Children are encouraged to choose “service” as a life plan; if not in war, at least enforcing state laws.

  • Enacting violence on behalf of the state is certain to get you public praise and pats on the back.

  • Government-ordered violence is prejudged to be good and right.

  • Funerals include the ritual touching of flags by military veterans.

  • Churches promote slogans like, “Jesus died to save us; soldiers die to keep us free.”

  • Rituals of saluting flags, singing anthems, and thanking soldiers for ‘service’ are obligatory.

Now, let’s be honest about this. Military service has become a sacrament in these churches; soldiers are the new missionaries, and wounded soldiers are the new martyrs.

And let’s be honest about something else: If we found records of such things in ancient inscriptions, we’d define them as the rituals of a military cult… and we would not be wrong.

How Did This Happen?

It happened because it was the easiest thing to do.

Christianity, however, was never meant to be easy. Not only did early Christians risk serious persecutions, but Jesus had warned them that “all men will hate you for my sake,” that they would be persecuted, and that they would “suffer for righteousness’s sake.” A follower of Jesus is supposed to lead mankind “into the light,” thus angering those who remain in darkness. (“He that dwells in darkness hates the light….”)

Most Christians, however, don’t want to suffer and don’t want to be hated. On top of that, leading mankind into the light is hard work. Alternatives to such things – easier ways – have always been popular.

And so, joining with the state – the biggest and most powerful entity – is the safest thing to do; once joined, no suffering and no hatred are required. And to gain that position, all you have to do is spin a theology that makes church-state partnership into a righteous thing.

Christians began making such arrangements just a few centuries after Jesus’s time. The Middle Ages had their versions, and modern times have theirs. And right now, among the most vocal advocates of Christianity, we have a military-evangelical complex.

And we all know what has supercharged this process over the past decade and a half: 9/11.

In a single day, people in uniforms were promoted into a new Hero caste. Minds stewing in fear skipped right past contrary facts and the lessons they had learned in the 1970s. (The Pentagon Papers, the Church Committee reports, the Gulf of Tonkin, etc.)

All of this gave Christian leaders an immediate opportunity to fill their pews and keep them full. So they jumped at it. Presently, they are clinging to it. Military leaders jumped at it too and have spent millions of dollars promoting it, notably at sporting events.

We Were Warned

There is a great deal more to say about this, and I am tempted to ramble on about the military-evangelical complex inverting the most fundamental elements of the Judeo-Christian tradition, how it turns government into an agent of sanctification, and how the Scriptures condemn it. But I shall not. I’ve made my point and I will leave it where it stands, adding only this:

As he was stepping down from the US presidency in 1961, Dwight Eisenhower warned about this. He talked about the threats of “an immense military establishment,” that it was “new in the American experience,” and that Americans “must not fail to comprehend [the] grave implications” of this “total influence – economic, political, even spiritual.”

And yes, this was the speech where he warned Americans to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence… by the military-industrial complex.”

But, like all the great warnings of history, Eisenhower’s were flatly ignored.

It was the easiest thing to do.

* * * * *

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It begins with an attack that crashes the investment markets, brings down economic systems, and divides the world. One part is dominated by mass surveillance and massive data systems: clean cities and empty minds… where everything is assured and everything is ordered. The other part is abandoned, without services, with limited communications, and shoved 50 years behind the times… but where human minds are left to find their own bearings.

You may never look at life the same way again.

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* * * * *


Paul Rosenberg

Eisenhower Was Right: The Military-Industrial Complex Has Deformed American Christianity


However much people may debate the history and nature of Christianity, no serious student concludes that it’s a war-based religion. Jesus talked endlessly of things like “having life,” “bearing fruit,” “forgiving,” and even “turning the other cheek.” Never did he talk about joining the army and killing national enemies. Never did he seek political solutions to problems. Never did he seek foreign policy solutions. And never did he tell people that soldiers purchased freedom for them.

Whether any of us like it or not, those things are simply not among Jesus’ teachings. About the best pro-war fact you can point to is that he didn’t tell soldiers to quit. But then again, neither did he tell slave owners to quit. Jesus very seldom, if ever, did a “thou shalt not.” He was interested in planting good seeds, not creating rules.

I bring all of this up because I have watched the churches of America spin in a very “un-Jesus” direction over the past decade or two. Granted, there have always been un-Jesus things in Christian churches, but this movement has been quick, broad, and propelled by state influence. To me, that makes it worthy of comment.

Eisenhower Warned of Precisely This

As Dwight Eisenhower left office in January of 1961, he warned America against a military-industrial complex spinning out of control. This warning was almost completely ignored, of course, as the best warnings usually are.

Nonetheless, Eisenhower told us that the military-industrial complex would bankrupt the nation and subvert education in America. And then he did something that very few people remember: he expressed his concern that America’s spiritual life would be undermined by the military-industrial complex:

(Its) total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government… we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.

I’m almost tempted to call that speech prophetic. But prophetic or not, Ike nailed it. What he warned us about has happened. And perhaps nowhere have his “grave implications” been more apparent over recent years than in America’s spiritual life.

Regardless of our many and varied beliefs, it is clear that the churches of America have always mattered a great deal. Tocqueville was struck by that fact back in the 1830s and it remains true in our time.

Churches are where the vast majority of Americans get their philosophical thought. Lord knows they can’t get much of it from TV or from politicians. If the average American is going to sit still and listen to someone talk about things that matter, it will more than likely be in a church.

So, when a majority of American churches all pivot at once, it’s an important event.

What Has Happened

Let me be blunt in defining this change: The US military joined with the church in promoting a joint righteousness, and the church became a cheerleader for the military.

I understand that this is a very stark statement, but it’s something that I think all of us have noticed. We may use different words to describe it, but we all see it.

And what we have seen is church and state joining together in a type of partnership. This partnership filled churches and gave the US military a plentiful supply of recruits. Most importantly, it created a populace that reflexively supported the American war machine.

I view this as turning military service into a new type of sacrament, or at least a new standard of righteousness. Here are the specific things I see:

  • American sporting events now begin with what are, essentially, worship services. God blessing America and the honor of the US military are mixed together, with swelling music, the singing of anthems, hands held over hearts, roaring airplanes, and more.
  • The wounded soldier has become a new type of martyr.
  • Soldiers in general have become the new missionaries, going to far-away, dangerous lands to spread “freedom,” which has become a compliment or replacement for the gospel.
  • Church services are now filled with state imagery. Flags are proudly displayed and politicians are prayed for.
  • Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July and have become holy days, complete with military guest speakers and ceremonies to praise soldiers.
  • Local boys and girls who enlist in the military are praised from the pulpit.
  • “Christ died for our sins and soldiers die for our freedoms” is now a widely accepted belief… the kind of thing people say “amen” to and feel righteous about.

Again, none of these are “Jesus things.” Changes like this have occurred in the past, but not in any periods we’d want to emulate.

The Grave Consequences

War is not our friend. It is not uplifting. It is not enlightening. And while most of us will maintain our right to self-defense, no one with any experience believes that killing other humans makes us better.

So, let me begin at home, with the Americans who bear the most acute consequences: the soldiers.

There are reasons why a thousand vets per month attempt suicide, and the endless adulation they receive is not helping. These soldiers know that they’re not saints. Many of them are horribly damaged from their “service.” A large number of them have nightmares about the people they killed.

The ideology that swirls around this is simply false: Killing people is not uplifting; it is damaging. American boys and girls are not coming home better than they were; they’re coming home worse. And they, most of all, know this about themselves.

The partnership uses these young people as props, to glorify the partnership.

Furthermore, are we really to believe that there is virtue in sending machines to rain death upon foreign people… at weddings? Are Christians really supposed to pretend that this is God’s will? Are they also to pretend that turning our children into torturers is a holy thing? Would Jesus send his disciples to a torture school?

I’m not pulling out red herrings here; I could have made a quite lengthy list of such incidents. This is what war is.

Overseas, the situation is worse. I’m not sure how many hundreds of thousands of innocents were killed or maimed in Iraq, yet Christians inside the partnership pass it all off with trite little phrases like, “It was bad there anyway.” Would Jesus so little value their lives? Is God “a respecter of persons”?

Furthermore, this new religious ideology trickles down to our local, civic lives. Since no one dares question “our protectors,” police departments have been turned into military forces, and a long list of abuses have followed. (See here and here.)

Nor have churches been immune. This new church/state partnership has filled the pews and the collection plates, but the resulting influx of money has not made those churches any better. (See this and this and this and… I could go on. In fact, my editor removed over ¾ of the links I originally had here.)

Waiting for Generation Josiah

I had originally planned on explaining how people were drawn in to this new partnership, but I decided that it wasn’t worth your time. The people who give this serious thought will be capable of figuring those things out for themselves, and the people who are emotionally bound to the partnership won’t be persuaded in any case.

The core of the issue is this: The new War Church ideology bears no actual relationship to Jesus. You only have to read the gospels to see that fact.

Right now, however, millions of people are held to the partnership by emotional pressures: They know that if they question the righteousness of war, they’ll be branded a traitor and lose their friends. That’s precisely the wrong base for a set of beliefs, of course, but it takes a lot of guts for a churchgoer to defy his or her pastor, several big-name evangelists, and a couple of dozen friends.

But eventually, some Christians—most of them young, if patterns hold—will gather the courage to hold to the gospels and reject what contradicts them, even when preached by “authorities.” And when that starts to happen, we may see a “Generation Josiah.”

Josiah was a boy king back in the Old Testament. Once he became old enough to understand the spiritual corruption of his time, he went out to break idols and republish the true holy books.

So, I am waiting for young Christians to pull their act together and do better than the state-partnered Christians that preceded them. War and Christianity don’t belong together; church and state don’t belong together. They never have and they never will.

Paul Rosenberg

This article was originally published by Casey Research.

Destroying the Myth That Military Power Equals Freedom

military power equals freedomAs I was finishing up my liberty entertainment article a few weeks ago, I checked lists that other people had made, just to see if I had forgotten something. As I did, I was dismayed to find that in most of these lists, pro-liberty really meant pro-military.

So I think it’s time to take a quick look at the myth that military power gives us liberty.

The Fantasy of the Foreign Oppressor

There is a plot that lies behind this “military power equals freedom” belief. It says that the enemy of liberty is a foreign invader. So, if the outsider is afraid to approach, we are free.

It implies that “local rule equals freedom.”

This is simply a lie. But it’s a lie that works very well in fiction.

Back in the real world, the hometown of an oppressor – whether it be near or far – makes him no better or worse.

Are we free because the people who rule us reside within local borders? Does that remain true even when it’s the “inside our lines” people who oppress us?

May only foreigners be oppressors?

Consider these recent cases:

  • No people suffered more to defeat Hitler than the Russians. So did killing the foreign invader make them free? Hardly – it kept Stalin, who killed far more people than Hitler ever did, in power.
  • What about Southern blacks in 1950? Almost everything done to them was “under the law,” and they were protected by a massive military and a nuclear arsenal capable of reducing any invader to ashes. Were they free?
  • And what about their great-grandparents who were slaves? They were militarily protected, after all. And their local oppressors operated fully under the rule of law. The  Supreme Court approved. Did that make them free?
  • The people of Eastern Europe were protected by a Soviet arsenal that included thousands of atomic bombs. They were further protected by constitutions and courts, all of which were locally administered. Were they free?

I could go on, but I think the point is made: The vast majority of human oppression comes at the hands of locals, not foreigners.

That’s a fact, whether or not it works as a movie plot.

I know that many good men and women have spent time in various military capacities, but the fact is this:

Foreign invaders abuse far, far fewer people than do local bosses.

And here’s another fact: Once a foreign invader takes control of a new place, he usually tries very hard to keep the populace happy. The foreigner does not murder civilians by the millions… but local rulers do. (Think of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, etc. They each killed millions of locals.)

The Flip Side of Xenophobia

Xenophobia is fear of the foreigner and usually applies to things like hating immigrants. But it’s not always “fear.” It’s more often a need to keep the foreigner beneath us.

In any case, classic expressions of xenophobia involve punishing immigrants, Jews, or some other outsiders (justified by whatever facts can be conveniently assembled).

It seems to me that the myth we mentioned above, “military power equals freedom,” is the flip side of this xenophobia phenomenon:

  • On one side of this “xenophobia coin,” we have outsiders whom we need to keep beneath us.
  • On the other side, we have outsiders whom we must prevent from putting us beneath them.

Both of these fears come from a dominance instinct:

We must allow no one above us.

We must keep those below us in place.

Both of these impulses are irrational, and they tend to travel together.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but my experience tells me this:

The people who love the “military equals freedom” fantasy are the same people who oppose immigrants.

That’s not just an American thing, by the way. You see it more or less everywhere.

I know that there are many exceptions to this statement (we’re talking about millions of individuals, after all, many of whom DO analyze their own minds), but I think this statement holds up:

“Military equals freedom” grows from the same impulse as xenophobia.

The Case of America

Since the majority of my readers seem to be Americans, I’ll devote a minute to the US’s fear of the “foreign devil.”

Should Americans really take an “alien invasion” seriously? Even when surrounded by two huge oceans and friendly people to the north and south? (The trouble in Mexico exists largely because the US government created it.)

There is no potential invader who takes invasion seriously. Here’s what Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto said during the hostilities of World War II:

You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.

No foreign power would seriously consider invading America, where there are 270 million guns in the hands of ordinary people. Everyone, not just boys in uniforms, would be a deadly threat.

The US can be taken by stealth, but not by an open invasion. If the American people ever paid attention to what was being done to them, no oppressor would survive it.

To close this discussion, here’s a quote from General Douglas MacArthur, who knew something about America and war:

Our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear.

We need to let go of fear and think rationally.

Very seldom do foreigners oppress us. The vast majority of oppression comes from within.

Paul Rosenberg