Before we get started, it’s important for me to clarify where I’m coming from politically. First, here’s what I’m not, as described in last year’s piece, Thank You and Welcome New Readers – A Liberty Blitzkrieg Mission Statement:
I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I do not consider myself a libertarian, progressive, socialist, anarchist, conservative, neoconservative or neoliberal. I’m just a 38 year old guy trying to figure it all out. Naturally, this doesn’t imply that there aren’t things which I hold dear. I have a strong belief system based on key principles. It’s just that I don’t think it makes sense for me to self-label and become part of a tribe. The moment you self-label, is the moment you stop thinking for yourself. It’s also the moment you stop listening. When you think you have all the answers, anyone who doesn’t think exactly as you do on all topics is either stupid or “paid opposition.” I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking.
If I had to describe my politics at the most macro level, I guess you could call me a decentralist. I believe the primary threat to human liberty, happiness and evolution is the concentration of power, whether it manifests in government or business.
In today’s America we’ve seen the worst of both these things come together, as oligarchs and large corporations have used their money and influence to transform the country into an undemocratic, neo-feudal cesspool. The grotesque amount of centralized power that resides in Washington D.C. proved a very tempting and easily controlled target for modern day robber barons. The major threat we face today shouldn’t be simplified into a soundbite that consists of simply attacking “business” or “government” in isolation. We need to understand and accept that concentrated power in both these areas has morphed into a unified attack force against the general public.
Two tweets I sent out yesterday summarized how I see our current situation:
I still don’t understand why any of us put up with Washington D.C. All 50 states should secede from it and start over.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) July 25, 2017
The biggest threat is how centralized and powerful D.C. is. I don’t want anyone, even someone I like, in charge of that.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) July 25, 2017
For more on my thinking about how I’d like to see community and government transform over the coming years, see my 4-part series on decentralization which I published earlier this month.
Unfortunately, I doubt my vision for decentralized political organization will be embraced any time soon. It’s possible that events could unfold that might create that opportunity sooner than I expect, but for now I have to deal with the reality we have, and this reality consists of a highly centralized governing structure based in Washington D.C. Various political gangs to which I have no allegiance will ruthlessly compete to snatch control of this power, and then impose their views on 320 million people. I think this is an irrational and dangerous governing structure for a land as massive and diverse as the 50 states, but it is what it is.
The past couple of posts have focused on how I see the next four years unfolding from a domestic political perspective. It’s not what I want or don’t want, but simply what I see happening. Since the likely progression is not one of political decentralization in the near-term, how will I function within the coming environment?
First, I’m going to start with the things that matter most to me at this point in our country’s history. I outlined some of these issues in my final thoughts article ahead of the 2016 election, in which I discussed some overlap between what Trump and Sanders were saying:
Rather than dwelling on the differences between these two populist movements (Sanders and Trump), let’s consider some of the areas where they overlap.
1. Trade — Opposition to NAFTA and current “trade” deals such as TPP, TTIP, and TISA have been central to both the Sanders and Trump campaigns.
2. War and militarism — Whether you believe Trump is sincere or not, opposition to Obama/Clinton interventionist overseas wars were key talking points for both Trump and Sanders.
3. The system is rigged — The painful acknowledgment that the U.S. economic system is a rigged scam that fails to reward hard work, and is more akin to a parasitic, predatory oligarchy with very limited social mobility, has been a key campaign theme for both Trump and Sanders. The economy is increasingly dominated by near-monoploy giants who relentlessly push for more power and more profits irrespective of the cost to society, whether that cost be war, poverty or social unrest.
4. Money in politics — The rigged economic system described above aggregates wealth into an increasingly small number of hands. Those hands then buy off politicians and rig the political process. A rigged economy and rigged political system perpetually feeds itself and endlessly grows at the expense of the public like a terminal cancer. Both Trump and Sanders emphasized this problem.
5. Rule of law is dead — Sanders focused on Wall Street bankers, while Trump focused on Hillary and her inner circle of cronies, but the overall point is the same. Rich and powerful oligarchs are above the law. We all know this, but Washington D.C. refuses to do anything about it.
During the campaign, I received pressure from some readers to back Trump because he was saying some things I agreed with on issues I care about compared to Hillary Clinton, but I stood firm in opposition to both. Part of the reason I held my ground and refused to vote for either, was I didn’t trust Trump’s sincerity. Having grown up in New York City, I literally observed Trump from the time I was in diapers. I watched his activities for decades and also developed an understanding of the mindset of a Manhattan real estate developer. Yes, he was a political outsider, but this guys lives and breathes the FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) sector. There was no way he would challenge the power of the more parasitic aspects of the U.S. economy in favor of the productive. Indeed, he hasn’t.
This doesn’t mean I’m looking for a “perfect candidate” as some people accused me of. Quite the contrary. I simply didn’t trust Donald Trump as a person, and this is important going forward. Given my unconventional political views, the chances of a candidate coming along who I agree with on all the issues that matter to me is extraordinarily unlikely. This doesn’t mean I need to sit out every single election for the rest of my life. Rather, if a candidate for President comes along who checks enough of my boxes and who I consider to be a relatively genuine person, I would consider throwing my support behind that candidate.
That said, in the bigger picture it’s extremely important that we acknowledge no single person no matter how genuine their intentions will be able to fundamentally put this country on a more sane path on their own. It is up to us to do that, through the little actions we take in our individual lives every day, as well as by articulating and spreading ideas of freedom, civil liberties and the rule of law (oligarchs must not be above the law).
Indeed, it’s far more important to a functioning society that elite criminals receive punishment for their crimes versus jailing your average thief. The elite criminal certainly represents a far greater threat to any civilization than a corner drug dealer. Our current twisted society sees things in the exact opposite way, and therefore incentivizes rampant corporate pillaging. Until we change this, nothing will improve.
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15 thoughts on “Politics of the Next 4 Years – Part 3 (What’s an Independent to Do?)”
I think that two rules from kindergarten really apply.
First is keep your hands off other people or their things and second keep your word. This keeps one from believe they have the right to take others money and spend it. Secondly, it makes it easier to trust the person one is dealing with.
Right now, the federal government and its minions follow neither of these rules and act very despicably.
Thanks for your thoughts.
Appreciate your comments and point of view, Michael. My own “take” on the situation:
–It’s gotten to the point where DC considers itself not only above, but more important than, the rest of the country put together. Case in point: Continuity-of-Government provisions (COG), which ensure that the government will survive a catastrophe which may destroy the entire country. So? They’ll just start over with a new citizenry. We’re expendable, don’tcha know? BTW, way less money than is being spent on COG could shield our electrical infrastructure from an EMP, whether from nuke or solar flare, that would instantly send us back to the pre-industrial era and ensure the deaths of 90% of us within a year. But priorities are priorities, you know.
–The “near-monopoly” status of many large entities would not be possible without assistance (enabling) from the FedGov. Most of those entities devote a great deal of time and $ ensuring that the playing field is tilted for them. “A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers.”
–Closely connected to the above point is the fact that DC legislator is just way too good a gig. It ranks right up there with rock star, movie actor/actress, and professional athlete. You notice NOBODY who makes it to DC wants to leave. That’s why they spend most of their time fundraising for the next campaign. And the large, ahem, “entities” make sure that those who “cooperate” are rewarded. The only way to break this cycle is to have strict term limits. Other measures could be considered, but this is key.
The crux of the matter:
–“And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.”
–“Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.”
–“in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes.”
–“The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice.”
There are many more, but you get the idea. This is the single biggest problem in DC., IMHO.
Thanks for letting me spout off.
I’ve been reading your log off and on for a while now, never commented but reading through your “Next Four Years” series, I eally take issue with how you describe Trump. Repeatedly you say he is a failure, a fake populist, insincere, etc., without giving any reasoning for this, as if it were self evident. It’s not. Then here in part 3, after blankly stating that Trump has let us down, you say that no politician can do it by himself, at the same time as you criticize Trump for not overhauling the entire American political/socioeconomic system on his own in 6 months. You may see yourself as non-partisan, but in my reading you come across as a liberal ideologue. And I recognize this, because I’ve been a liberal ideologue most of my life, and I’m around your age.
Minimum wage hikes won’t reverse the shrinking middle class r effect at it all, other than raising overhead for small businesses. IMO the ’65 Hart Cellar Act has contributed greatly to death of the middle cass, as the pay for low-skilled labor has disappeared–because it’s been imported from third world countries whose workers send their checks home, to be spent on third world goods at third world prices. Meanwhile the capitalists save overhead, pass some of the savings on the the consumer and entire (working and lower-middle class) workforces have been supplanted by Latin American workers who do the job for less.
The other thing I see happening is huge conglomerates taking over every business. No matter what city you’re in, you see the same stores and restaurants, the same chains with the same filthy rich owners, making money on every store’s back. Furthermore you can consider the ethnicity of the conglomerate-owners, vs. that of the mom-and-pop shops, which barely exist now. A massive transfer of wealth has taken place, demographically.
My view on Trump in a nutshell is that most of the oligarchs don’t like him, as this speaks well for him. Illegal Immigration is down 75%, manufacturing is up and globalist trade policies are under threat. He stopped funding ISIS/Al Qaida “rebels”. His bombing of the Syrian runway had minimal impact, and it’s clear to see that entrenched groups were pressing for it. Do you think attacking Assad was Trump’s idea? Where were you last time? I see it like I see the giant bomb in Afghanistan: for show.
Trump said he would audit the election integrity, and that is underway. Frankly I don’t know how anyone who paid attention to the Dem primaries last year could argue with this. New York, Las Vegas, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, and many others even the NATION’S CAPITAL, where they very nearly took Bernie off the ballot.
There are a number of smaller things he’s done like redirecting government aid from universities, to apprentieships and community colleges. He’s been in office for 6 months, a short time to change the entire system, and long time to have so few of his cabinet positions confirmed. What exactly are your complaints about Trump?
This is a very dishonest post that mischaracterizes my positions on things. Either you have done this intentionally or out of ignorance. Since you haven’t commented before and you say you have read the blog “on and off” I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just ignorant as to my overall writings.
I write posts every single day and have done so for over five years. Since the election, I have written countless posts on Trump describing exactly why I think he is a fake populist. My critiques have focused on his closeness with and embrace of Wall Street, his troubling foreign policy positions particularly as relates to the Saudis and the insane princeling running the show over there, and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ fight against states rights on cannabis and desire to boost the uncivilized practice of civil asset forfeiture. Combined I have probably written over 20 articles on these topics.
For a few recent examples, just last week I wrote on Sessions: https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/07/19/jeff-sessions-moves-to-make-it-easier-for-government-to-steal-property-of-innocent-american-citizens/
A couple of weeks before that I wrote on the Syria bombing and how it was based on fake intelligence: https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/06/26/seymour-hersh-reports-that-trump-bombed-syria-on-completely-false-pretenses/ (a few other foreign policy links in there as well).
Now here’s one on Trump and Wall Street: https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/05/17/wall-street-completely-owns-the-trump-administration/
This is a tiny sampling of all the posts I have written where I explain specifically what I don’t like about Trump. The idea that I haven’t discussed this in detail countless times is dishonest of you. Of course, I don’t repeat myself in every single post when they have a different focus, like this current series.
In the same paragraph you call me a “liberal ideologue.” I’ve been called alt-right, a conservative, a libertarian and a liberal more times than I can count over the years. Yes, to a Trump supporter who is either being intentionally dishonest or is ignorant of what I believe, I am sure I look like a “liberal ideologue.” Not to mention the fact that I actually describe my overall philosophy in this post and link to a four part series on decentralization to explain further my optimal concept of political organization. Anyone who reads this site regularly knows all too well how laughable your description of me as a “liberal ideologue” is, and it says a lot more about you than me.
Then you mention minimum wage. Why, I have no idea since I didn’t mention it.
As far as the “oligarchs not liking him,” oligarchs run rampant throughout his administration. If what you meant was the political class and corporate media doesn’t like him, then I agree, but that’s an entirely different matter, and I believe their dislike for him has more to do with the fact that these people are used to manipulating the public and getting what they want. They chose Hillary and the people rejected her. They are freaking out at their loss of power and influence, more than they are worried that Trump is a populist. Again, I have written countless articles on this topic and have been a big defender of Trump against the reckless and often fake narratives used against him by corporate media.
He hasn’t stopped arming ISIS/al-Qaeda, as the Saudis are the biggest funder of those groups on the planet and Trump signed massive arm deals with them. That said, I am pleased he has stopped the CIA operation in Syria. More of that and I will be happy.
When if comes to bombing Assad you wrote “where were you last time?” I hope you aren’t referring to Obama’s Syria policy, because there are few Americans out there with a platform who more blisteringly took Obama to task for not just his Syria policy, but his militarism in general. If that was your implication, you either truly have no familiarity with my writings over time, or you are being intentionally dishonest.
As far as your point about the huge corporate conglomerates, I completely agree with you and I really hope Trump gets going on some anti-trust action.
As far as it only being 6 months, that is true and he can turn it around. Not only that, but as I have said over and over I think he could win a second term if the Dems are stupid enough to put up another corporate, shady candidate like Hillary. He hasn’t “failed” yet, but he is not impressing me at all on the issues I care most about.
To summarize, there is a polite, decent and honest way to disagree with me and there is what you did. It could just be a combination of a combative style + plus ignorance that made you compose that comment in that way, but most of the time people mischaracterize me in such a grotesque manner, they are not honest actors looking to have a conversation or express a different opinion, but are people with ulterior motives.
I hope that’s not the case with you.
“entire (working and lower-middle class) workforces have been supplanted by Latin American workers who do the job for less.”
That’s a fallacy, Benjamin. NAFTA is the primary reason that the working class has been hurt so badly. Ross Perot had it right in that regard.
Trump used the illegal Latin American workers are taking your jobs meme to fire up and create a base that was looking for a sacrificial lamb to project their anger onto and it worked quite well.
But Trump also promised on multiple occasions that he would have nothing to do with Goldman-Sachs because they “robbed our working class”. Then he picks a G-S guy to run the freakin’ Treasury department.
That makes him a bald faced liar. He just followed the Obama playbook to get elected. Promise everyone everything and then do whatever you want once you’re in office.
Now it’s obvious that this is just another self-serving game to him. So he will throw a bone here and a bone there to partially appease certain groups and factions. But just like Hillary, he’s still all about himself regardless of what that does to others. He’s all about service to self, not service to others.
Non of which is a surprise to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and street sense. He’s far too old to change his stripes, and he’s a classic malignant narcissist like Obama and Billary.
Bingo. Let’s also not forget Gary Cohn, who came directly from being a Goldman Sachs executive to running Trump’s economic policy. Not just that, but there’s a lot of talk he will appoint Cohn to head the Federal Reserve banking cartel, the most powerful financial institution on the planet.
I like your blog and your thoughts. But I do not think that decentralization of the government is the answer. Have you read Burke’s reflections on the revolution in France? There Burke makes the point that you should not try to make things better by destroying everything first. Governments are fine, but it is the lack of people within the government who truly care about their citizens where the problems start. And it is the lack of people who demand that the government truly cares about them that catalyzes the problem of wealth inequality, corruption, fraud, etc.
You are misunderstanding what I propose. I am not proposing 50 separate countries where the states are today, but rather a removal of the excessive power from D.C. and placing it back in the states for a majority of issues. Then 50 states should continue to have ease of moving from one to another and some sort of union with one another, but not the unhealthy union we now have where Washington dictates and the states follow.
This is too much power for anyone to have.
When I first time read your intro that you quote here, some months ago, it made an impact to me. I realized that some part of me was still searching for labels which could apply to my values and beliefs. However it is now clear to me that this kind of group- or program-identity is just a cheap comfort seeking. I dont have all the answers. Neither do any group or ideology. Things have to be figured out all the time. Different approaches and experiments have to be done. This is what decentralization facilitates. For anyone with interest in the different aspects and mechanisms of decentralization in life, technology, economy and thinking, I strongly recommend Nassim Taleb’s book Anti-fragile.
Dear Mr. Krieger, I have nothing to add to your observations/philosophy because it perfectly reflects my concerns and hopes. My greatest fret is the lack of concern and curiosity of the average American (hedonistic Sloth might say it better) as they are led down the chute to be sheared and slaughtered. If things go quickly chaotic for some reason, I fear they are going to go from navel-gazing to destructive panic and the government to a full court press of totalitarianism. Sessions is a glimpse of that in process.
So, thank you for your efforts. Press on.
I heartily agree with the position that community and bringing decision making as close to the people as possible is the best way, though imperfect way, for society to operate. However, I see no reason whatsoever to back any political gang, ideology or politician beyond the local jurisdiction as the corrupting influence of a financial plutocracy and its attendant corportocracy has almost totally debauched ant reasonable proper working of all of western civilization to the point of a total transformation. I will not vote for anyone, no matter how benevolent (and ineffective) they might be and give proxy credence to a system that is beyond the pale and FUBAR.
How decentralizing political power would take place in a world where scale of everyting is now a paradigm and beyond the control of the everyday citizen is beyond my knowledge. But at least we can with the help of our neighbors make our own little corner of the world as resistant to these forces as much as we can and hope for the best. The key element as far as I can see is to one way or another create local economy and a local money supply that is good not only as a means of representing value but as equally important in paying into a pool, usually called taxes, to fund larger projects that the community decides are important and necessary
First… You’ve got to get that top graphic into your banner somehow.
Second, thanks for the part about the Trump/Sanders overlap. I think you’ve nailed that, and it’s something important.
I will add that identity politics leads directly to #3, 4 & 5 (rigged system, money in politics, rule of law dead), as one can easily observe by looking at the countries where it is a prominent feature.
In a rich and powerful country, the balkanization it creates also offers strong incentives/enablement for #1 & 2, via an oligarchy that holds the empire together by force, using militarism as a distraction and self-enriching trade deals as the de facto “payment” for its dubious services.
Conclusion: You will have to kill identity politics to get progress on these key issues. And to do that, identity politics must be rejected by a wide set of ethnic groups – not just one.
Corollary: There are 2 ways to kill identity politics. One is a return to civic nationalism, including conscious and public repudiation of ethnic advantage politics. I find that unlikely, to put it mildly, absent exceptional leadership plus a crisis plus a fair bit of luck.
The other way is a form of Omni-nationalism that recognizes the validity of multiple nationalisms as valid (vs. the empire model of 1 imposed and superior nationalism), and therefore lays the groundwork for a series of velvet divorces that radically reduce the power of Washington DC. Cohesive groups with a nationalist consciousness, in a heavily-armed society, create blocs that even a National Security Surveillance & Intelligence state will hesitate to engage.
Hey Joe, what graphic, the head figure holding a pencil?
No the Donkey + Elephant = Sheep.
I see, thanks.