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Divine Laissez Faire: Comparing the Theocratic Free Market Philosophies of the Muslim Brotherhood and The Family


Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: Through­out the course of the “Arab Spring,” we not­ed that it was not a spon­ta­neous event, but a covert oper­a­tion, tap­ping the deserved­ly right­eous frus­tra­tion of many of the peo­ples in that region in order to ush­er the Islamo-fas­cist Mus­lim Broth­er­hood into pow­er. The “turn to the Broth­er­hood” took place dur­ing the sec­ond admin­is­tra­tion of George W. Bush and has con­tin­ued under Oba­ma.

(Trag­i­cal­ly, one of the most impor­tant devel­op­ments in the inves­ti­ga­tion into 9/11–the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002–has been over­looked. That inves­ti­ga­tion revealed pro­found oper­a­tional links between the GOP and its chief “pri­va­ti­za­tion” ide­o­logues (Grover Norquist and Karl Rove) and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, includ­ing ele­ments and indi­vid­u­als involved in financ­ing al-Qae­da. It stands as a resound­ing indict­ment of this coun­try’s cit­i­zen­ry, jour­nal­is­tic estab­lish­ment and polit­i­cal class that the Unit­ed States con­tin­ues to suf­fer under the “aus­ter­i­ty” onslaught man­i­fest­ed as “the sequester.” The core of the GOP polit­i­cal axis–Norquist and Rove–should  be await­ing tri­al at Guan­tanamo as the trai­tors they in point of fact are. The utter­ly gut­less jour­nal­ists and politi­cos deserve the blame for this fail­ure.)

Ulti­mate­ly, Oba­ma and/or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty will take the heat for the actions ini­ti­at­ed by Bush, Rove and Norquist. 

There is every indi­ca­tion that pow­er­ful, transna­tion­al cor­po­rate forces envi­sioned and then dic­tat­ed the “turn to the Broth­er­hood.” 

The World Bank overt­ly endorsed the eco­nom­ic agen­da of the Broth­er­hood, see­ing in their “cor­po­ratist” ide­ol­o­gy a blue­print for advanc­ing free-mar­ket ide­ol­o­gy in the Mus­lim world.

When the World Bank gives voice to such think­ing, the mes­sage res­onates pow­er­ful­ly in the cor­ri­dors of eco­nom­ic pow­er. (We note in pass­ing that the arti­cle detail­ing the Broth­er­hood’s free-mar­ket prin­ci­ples appeared in Newsweek, part of the Gra­ham pub­lish­ing empire at the time. The Gra­ham pub­lish­ing inter­ests are sec­ond only to The New York Times as a “voice” the Amer­i­can estab­lish­ment.) 

Note­wor­thy in this con­text is the sim­i­lar­i­ty in the IMF’s inter­pre­ta­tion of “Islam­ic free-mar­ket” prin­ci­ples and the “Chris­t­ian free-mar­ket” ide­ol­o­gy espoused by the pow­er­ful group known as “The Fam­i­ly” or The Fel­low­ship.” (They are not to be con­fused with the San­tikene­tan Park Asso­ci­a­tion dis­cussed in FTR #724.)

Bor­row­ing a page from the Calvin­ist book, The Fam­i­ly sees great suc­cess in busi­ness as proof of God’s bless­ing on the suc­cess­ful.

Both the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and The Fam­i­ly see free-mar­ket/lais­sez-faire prin­ci­ples as being divine in nature, ordained by the Cre­ator.

Of course both the Broth­er­hood and The Fam­i­ly are strong­ly con­nect­ed to the Under­ground Reich.

We note that “ex” CIA offi­cer Gra­ham Fuller, one of the archi­tects of the “turn to the Broth­er­hood,” as we call it, artic­u­lat­ed the attrac­tion of Islam for West­ern conservatives/corporatists.

 “Elite Fun­da­men­tal­ism — The Fel­low­ship’s Gospel of Cap­i­tal­ist Pow­er”;  Reli­gion Report [Aus­tralian Broad­cast Com­pa­ny]; 9/3/2008.

EXCERPT: Stephen Crit­ten­den: Now the book is basi­cally about a shad­owy organ­i­sa­tion called The Fam­ily, or The Fel­low­ship that was found­ed by a guy called Abra­ham Verei­de, a Nor­we­gian immi­grant to the Unit­ed States in the 1930s. Tell us about him and the foun­da­tion of this organ­i­sa­tion.

Jeff Sharlet: Verei­de is a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter. This guy who comes to Amer­ica from Nor­way, because he sees America’s the land of the Bible unchained. Even from a boy he’s giv­en to what he thinks are prophet­ic visions. He believes that God comes to him and talks to him in very lit­eral words. He comes to Amer­ica and he makes quite a name for him­self, becomes a preach­er and starts preach­ing to guys like Hen­ry Ford and titans of the steel indus­try and so on, and then has this Epiphany, this real­i­sa­tion in the mid­dle of our Great Depres­sion in the 1930s. He decides that the Great Depres­sion is actu­ally a pun­ish­ment from God for dis­obey­ing God’s law, and how are we dis­obey­ing God’s law? Well it’s because we are try­ing to reg­u­late the econ­omy, we are try­ing to take mat­ters into our own hands. Well we just have to com­pletely trust God, and those he choos­es, men like Hen­ry Ford and the CEO of US Steel and so on.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: Yes, it’s a mus­cu­lar Chris­tian­ity. You’d almost say he had a min­istry to bring that indus­trial class back into reli­gion.

Jeff Sharlet: Absolute­ly. This must be a Chris­tian­ity on steroids. They were build­ing on this tra­di­tion of this kind of macho Christ, and tak­ing it to these busi­ness­men who didn’t real­ly care about church or the Bible or any­thing like that. What they cared about was organ­ised labour, and in fact, par­tic­u­larly in Aus­tralia. Har­ry Bridges was a major, major labour leader here in the Unit­ed States. And they just saw him the Dev­il Incar­nate, and began to organ­ise against him. And that’s what this group has become — and are to this day. They still see God’s inter­ests as those of the absolute­ly unreg­u­lated free mar­kets — a very sort of macho, mus­cu­lar Chris­tian­ity that tends to serve the inter­ests of those involved. . . .

“Islam in Office” by Stephen Glain; Newsweek; 7/3–10/2006.

EXCERPT: Judeo-Chris­t­ian scrip­ture offers lit­tle eco­nomic instruc­tion. The Book of Deuteron­omy, for exam­ple, is loaded with edicts on how the faith­ful should pray, eat, bequeath, keep the holy fes­ti­vals and treat slaves and spous­es, but it is silent on trade and com­merce. In Matthew, when Christ admon­ishes his fol­low­ers to ‘give to the emper­or the things that are the emperor’s,’ he is effec­tively con­ced­ing fis­cal and mon­e­tary author­ity to pagan Rome. Islam is dif­fer­ent. The prophet Muhammad—himself a trader—preached mer­chant hon­or, the only reg­u­la­tion that the bor­der­less Lev­an­tine mar­ket knew. . . .

. . . In Mus­lim litur­gy, the deals cut in the souk become a metaphor for the con­tract between God and the faith­ful. And the busi­ness mod­el Muham­mad pre­scribed, accord­ing to Mus­lim schol­ars and econ­o­mists, is very much in the lais­sez-faire tra­di­tion lat­er embraced by the West. Prices were to be set by God alone—anticipating by more than a mil­len­nium Adam Smith’s ref­er­ence to the ‘invis­i­ble hand’ of mar­ket-based pric­ing. Mer­chants were not to cut deals out­side the souk, an ear­ly attempt to thwart insid­er trad­ing. . . . In the days of the caliphate, Islam devel­oped the most sophis­ti­cated mon­e­tary sys­tem the world had yet known. Today, some econ­o­mists cite Islam­ic bank­ing as fur­ther evi­dence of an intrin­sic Islam­ic prag­ma­tism. Though still guid­ed by a Qur’anic ban on riba, or inter­est, Islam­ic bank­ing has adapt­ed to the needs of a boom­ing oil region for liq­uid­ity. In recent years, some 500 Islam­ic banks and invest­ment firms hold­ing $2 tril­lion in assets have emerged in the Gulf States, with more in Islam­ic com­mu­ni­ties of the West.

British Chan­cel­lor of the Exche­quer Gor­don Brown wants to make Lon­don a glob­al cen­ter for Islam­ic finance—and elic­its no howl of protest from fun­da­men­tal­ists. How Islamists might run a cen­tral bank is more prob­lem­atic: schol­ars say they would manip­u­late cur­rency reserves, not inter­est rates.

The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood hails 14th cen­tury philoso­pher Ibn Khal­dun as its eco­nomic guide. Antic­i­pat­ing sup­ply-side eco­nom­ics, Khal­dun argued that cut­ting tax­es rais­es pro­duc­tion and tax rev­enues, and that state con­trol should be lim­ited to pro­vid­ing water, fire and free graz­ing land, the util­i­ties of the ancient world. The World Bank has called Ibn Khal­dun the first advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion. [Empha­sis added.] His found­ing influ­ence is a sign of mod­er­a­tion. If Islamists in pow­er ever do clash with the West, it won’t be over com­merce. . . .

“Chech­nyan Pow­er” by Mark Ames; nsfwcorp.com; 6/5/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . . Fuller comes from that fac­tion of CIA Cold War­riors who believed (and still appar­ently believe) that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam, even in its rad­i­cal jiha­di form, does not pose a threat to the West, for the sim­ple rea­son that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam is con­ser­v­a­tive, against social jus­tice, against social­ism and redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth, and in favor of hier­ar­chi­cal socio-eco­nom­ic struc­tures. Social­ism is the com­mon ene­my to both cap­i­tal­ist Amer­ica and to Wah­habi Islam, accord­ing to Fuller.

Accord­ing to jour­nal­ist Robert Drey­fuss’ book “Devil’s Game,” Fuller explained his attrac­tion to rad­i­cal Islam in neoliberal/libertarian terms:

“There is no main­stream Islam­ic organization...with rad­i­cal social views,” he wrote. “Clas­si­cal Islam­ic the­ory envis­ages the role of the state as lim­ited to facil­i­tat­ing the well-being of mar­kets and mer­chants rather than con­trol­ling them. Islamists have always pow­er­fully object­ed to social­ism and communism....Islam has nev­er had prob­lems with the idea that wealth is uneven­ly dis­trib­uted.” . . . .


22 comments for “Divine Laissez Faire: Comparing the Theocratic Free Market Philosophies of the Muslim Brotherhood and The Family”

  1. So it turns out Ohio’s courts have been send­ing peo­ple to debtors prison. It also turns out that prac­tice is ille­gal. Oh well. The debtor’s pover­ty is clear­ly a mar­ket sig­nal that these are bad peo­ple deserv­ing of impris­on­ment even if it make them poor­er and less able to pay their debts. Mam­mon is hun­gry and it does­n’t feed itself:

    Debtors’ pris­ons: Thrive or serve jail time?

    Debtors’ pris­ons thrive in some states, despite being ille­gal. In Ohio, sev­er­al courts have been impris­on­ing poor peo­ple who can­not pay their debts.

    By Andrew Welsh-Hug­gins, Asso­ci­at­ed Press / April 4, 2013

    COLUMBUS, Ohio

    Sev­er­al courts in Ohio are ille­gal­ly jail­ing peo­ple because they are too poor to pay their debts and often deny defen­dants a hear­ing to deter­mine if they’re finan­cial­ly capa­ble of pay­ing what they owe, accord­ing to an inves­ti­ga­tion released Thurs­day by the Ohio chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union.

    The ACLU likens the prob­lem to mod­ern-day debtors’ pris­ons. Jail­ing peo­ple for debt push­es poor defen­dants far­ther into pover­ty and costs coun­ties more than the actu­al debt because of the cost of arrest­ing and incar­cer­at­ing indi­vid­u­als, the report said.


    The report says courts in Huron, Cuya­hoga, and Erie coun­ties are among the worst offend­ers.

    Among the report’s find­ings:

    — In the sec­ond half of last year, more than one in every five of all book­ings in the Huron Coun­ty jail — orig­i­nat­ing from Nor­walk Munic­i­pal Court cas­es — involved a fail­ure to pay fines.

    — In sub­ur­ban Cleve­land, Par­ma Munic­i­pal Court jailed at least 45 defen­dants for fail­ure to pay fines and costs between July 15 and August 31, 2012.

    — Dur­ing the same peri­od, San­dusky Munic­i­pal Court jailed at least 75 peo­ple for sim­i­lar charges.

    Judge Dean­na O’Don­nell of Par­ma Munic­i­pal Court said Thurs­day the court was unaware of the issue until con­tact­ed ear­li­er this week by the ACLU. She said offi­cials were exam­in­ing the 45 cas­es in ques­tion.


    ACLU spokesman Mike Brick­n­er said the group believes the prac­tice is wide­spread in Ohio.

    The report is a fol­low-up to a nation­al 2010 report that focused on Geor­gia, Louisiana, Michi­gan, Ohio and Wash­ing­ton.

    That report deter­mined that many courts are vio­lat­ing a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court deci­sion that courts had to hold a hear­ing to deter­mine why peo­ple are unable to pay before sen­tenc­ing them to incar­cer­a­tion.


    A sim­i­lar 2010 report by New York Uni­ver­si­ty’s Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice looked at the growth of court fees in Flori­da. It con­clud­ed, in part, that the “cur­rent fee sys­tem cre­ates a self-per­pet­u­at­ing cycle of debt for per­sons re-enter­ing soci­ety after incar­cer­a­tion.”

    Courts are break­ing the law by hold­ing defen­dants in con­tempt of court for fail­ing to pay fines with­out prop­er notice or allow­ing an attor­ney to be present, the report said. Courts are also issu­ing arrests war­rants for peo­ple who fail to show up and pay their fines and jail­ing defen­dants who are too poor to pay, accord­ing to the report.

    Court costs should be recov­ered through civ­il law­suits, not jail time, the report said.

    Ohio’s court could try cor­rect this and adhere to the 1983 Supreme Court rul­ing ban­ning this kind of judi­cial pre­da­tion on the most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of soci­ety. Or, you know, they maybe could try one of the oth­er options be bandied about. They aren’t par­tic­u­lar­ly legal options, but that does­n’t appear to be much of an issue.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 4, 2013, 10:38 pm
  2. While the over­whelm­ing empir­i­cal evi­dence (oth­er­wise known as “real­i­ty”) sug­gests that the pre­vail­ing pro-aus­ter­i­ty eco­nom­ic the­o­ries are just one giant mis­take that point­less­ly destroys soci­eties, it turns out that the aus­ter­ian world­view is also based on a bunch of giant the­o­ret­i­cal mis­takes too:

    The New York Times
    Holy Cod­ing Error, Bat­man
    Paul Krug­man
    April 16, 2013, 1:38 pm

    The intel­lec­tu­al edi­fice of aus­ter­i­ty eco­nom­ics rests large­ly on two aca­d­e­m­ic papers that were seized on by pol­i­cy mak­ers, with­out ever hav­ing been prop­er­ly vet­ted, because they said what the Very Seri­ous Peo­ple want­ed to hear. One was Alesina/Ardagna on the macro­eco­nom­ic effects of aus­ter­i­ty, which imme­di­ate­ly became exhib­it A for those who want­ed to believe in expan­sion­ary aus­ter­i­ty. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, even aside from the paper’s fail­ure to dis­tin­guish between episodes in which mon­e­tary pol­i­cy was avail­able and those in which it wasn’t, it turned out that their approach to mea­sur­ing aus­ter­i­ty was all wrong; when the IMF used a mea­sure that tracked actu­al pol­i­cy, it turned out that con­trac­tionary pol­i­cy was con­trac­tionary.

    The oth­er paper, which has had immense influ­ence — large­ly because in the VSP world it is tak­en to have estab­lished a defin­i­tive result — was Reinhart/Rogoff on the neg­a­tive effects of debt on growth. Very quick­ly, every­one “knew” that ter­ri­ble things hap­pen when debt pass­es 90 per­cent of GDP.

    Some of us nev­er bought it, argu­ing that the observed cor­re­la­tion between debt and growth prob­a­bly reflect­ed reverse cau­sa­tion. But even I nev­er dreamed that a large part of the alleged result might reflect noth­ing more pro­found than bad arith­metic.

    But it seems that this is just what hap­pened. Mike Kon­czal has a good sum­ma­ry of a review by Hern­don, Ash, and Pollin. Accord­ing to the review paper, R‑R mys­te­ri­ous­ly exclud­ed data on some high-debt coun­tries with decent growth imme­di­ate­ly after World War II, which would have great­ly weak­ened their result; they used an eccen­tric weight­ing scheme in which a sin­gle year of bad growth in one high-debt coun­try counts as much as mul­ti­ple years of good growth in anoth­er high-debt coun­try; and they dropped a whole bunch of addi­tion­al data through a sim­ple cod­ing error.

    Fix all that, say Hern­don et al., and the result appar­ent­ly melts away.

    If true, this is embar­rass­ing and worse for R‑R. But the real­ly guilty par­ties here are all the peo­ple who seized on a dis­put­ed research result, know­ing noth­ing about the research, because it said what they want­ed to hear.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 16, 2013, 1:11 pm
  3. Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 20, 2013, 9:36 am
  4. In a sto­ry tan­gen­tial­ly relat­ed to Erdo­gan’s recent dec­la­ra­tion that Turkey’s pro­tes­tors are “loot­ers” and “extrem­ists” while declar­ing that there will be no “Turk­ish Spring”, the Col­lege Nation­al Repub­li­cans Com­mit­tee released the results of a sur­vey on Amer­i­can youth atti­tudes towards the GOP. Per­haps not sur­pris­ing­ly, Amer­i­can youth appear to have large­ly con­clud­ed that the far-right GOP has absolute­ly no inter­est in build­ing a bet­ter world. It’s one of those reports that high­lights one of the biggest chal­lenges any of the far-right move­ments around the world are going to increas­ing­ly face in the future: why should the youth of the world ever sup­port a far-right nut job move­ment like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood or the GOP? Any­where? When fas­cism first arose it had one BIG advan­tage that it will nev­er have again: it was new. And now we all know it sucks. And now the youth across the Mid­dle East are learn­ing first hand just how much the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s brand of far-right nut­ti­ness sucks even when the econ­o­my is doing ok-ish. Real­ly, who would ever real­ly want “Islam­ic Calvin­ism” when so many bet­ter options are avail­able? You’d have to be clue­less or nuts. The far-right is going to have to seri­ous­ly retool their rhetorical/political tac­tics for the 21st cen­tu­ry because even though we’ve seen plen­ty of far-right polit­i­cal vic­to­ries in recent years (the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Arab Spring pig­gy-back coups being a big exam­ple) it real­ly is look­ing like those vic­to­ries are increas­ing­ly com­ing with the mas­sive cost of los­ing the long-term philo­soph­i­cal war. This is a mas­sive gen­er­a­tion around the globe that’s under 30, they have the inter­net, they’re all see­ing how awful the poli­cies are around the plan­et that seem to con­sis­tent­ly emerge from far-right gov­ern­ments and it’s very unclear what the oli­garchs are going to do about that in the long-run. Espe­cial­ly since trash­ing the glob­al econ­o­my appears to be an inte­gral part of any sort of oli­garch agen­da. Impov­er­ish­ing the plan­et isn’t going to do you much good if the next gen­er­a­tion does­n’t share your vision for the future. Now they’re just poor and pissed.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 3, 2013, 10:30 am
  5. A great exam­ple of what’s wrong with mod­ern eco­nom­ic thought: The CS Mon­i­tor has a op-ed col­umn by an PhD econ­o­mist and mem­ber of the Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute (so he’s basi­cal­ly an anar­chocap­i­tal­ist) cel­e­brat­ing the shut­ter­ing of grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion pro­grams. The main rea­son for the pos­i­tive response to the news? Grad schools don’t churn out enough Lib­er­tar­i­ans. Even the Lib­er­tar­i­ans agree that Lib­er­tar­i­an­ism is incom­pat­i­ble with high­er edu­ca­tion:

    CS Mon­i­tor
    Are grad­u­ate pro­grams a waste of time and mon­ey?

    Those pur­su­ing aca­d­e­m­ic careers face the prospect of earn­ing a pre­car­i­ous liv­ing as an “untenured” adjunct pro­fes­sor, hec­ti­cal­ly shut­tling between teach­ing assign­ments at dif­fer­ent uni­ver­si­ties and earn­ing a mea­ger liv­ing for their trou­ble.

    By Joseph Saler­no / Decem­ber 17, 2012

    Emory Uni­ver­si­ty in Atlanta Geor­gia has stirred up stu­dent and fac­ul­ty protests with its plan to cut rev­enue los­ing aca­d­e­m­ic pro­grams. The plan includes sus­pend­ing admis­sion to its Grad­u­ate Insti­tute of Lib­er­al Arts and to grad­u­ate pro­grams in Span­ish and eco­nom­ics. Moth­balling grad­u­ate pro­grams is a mag­nif­i­cent devel­op­ment for a num­ber of rea­sons and we can only hope that it sig­nals the begin­ning of a trend among cash-strapped uni­ver­si­ties.

    Grad­u­ate pro­grams are enor­mous­ly cost­ly to main­tain because grad­u­ate stu­dents receive huge sub­si­dies in the form of a tuition waiv­er plus grad­u­ate or teach­ing assist­ant­ships that pay stipends that report­ed­ly can run as high as $30,000 per year. In most cas­es, the tax­pay­er is foot­ing a large part of the bill. Not only are most large research uni­ver­si­ties with grad­u­ate pro­grams state-owned insti­tu­tions, but the Fed­er­al gov­ern­ment also sub­si­dizes low cost loans to grad­u­ate stu­dents and bestows huge grants on fac­ul­ty at research uni­ver­si­ties that are used to hire grad­u­ate assis­tants. Not sur­pris­ing­ly this mas­sive gov­ern­ment sub­sidy leads to arti­fi­cial­ly pro­longed stays in grad­u­ate school, which cause an enor­mous mis­al­lo­ca­tion of resources and loss of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the econ­o­my as many stu­dents who will nev­er com­plete their doc­tor­ates delay the start of pro­duc­tive careers for many years. Accord­ing to a recent study, only 25 per­cent of Ph.D. stu­dents com­plete their doc­tor­ates in 5 years and only 45 per­cent in 7 years. Com­ple­tion rates are even low­er in the social sci­ences and the human­i­ties.

    The gov­ern­ment sub­si­diza­tion of grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion also explains why many who do com­plete their doc­tor­ates and have aspi­ra­tions to work in high­er edu­ca­tion con­front mar­kets glut­ted with job seek­ers, espe­cial­ly in the human­i­ties and social sci­ences. If they per­sist in pur­su­ing an aca­d­e­m­ic career, they then face the prospect of earn­ing a pre­car­i­ous liv­ing as an “untenured” adjunct pro­fes­sor, hec­ti­cal­ly shut­tling between teach­ing assign­ments at dif­fer­ent uni­ver­si­ties and earn­ing a mea­ger liv­ing for their trou­ble. They, and soci­ety at large, would be bet­ter off if they had nev­er been lured into enrolling in grad­u­ate school and had cho­sen a dif­fer­ent career path, for instance, in the insur­ance busi­ness.

    The main rea­son for wel­com­ing the demise of grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion, how­ev­er, is that most “pro­fes­sion­al” social sci­en­tists, includ­ing econ­o­mists, are apol­o­gists for state inter­ven­tion into soci­ety and the econ­o­my, and have been since the ori­gin of for­mal grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion in mid-19th cen­tu­ry Ger­many. Eco­nom­ics by its very nature is a voca­tion and most promi­nent econ­o­mists in the 18th and much of the 19th cen­turies had a “day job” and no doc­tor­ate. Not coin­ci­den­tal­ly, these “voca­tion­al” econ­o­mists gen­er­al­ly tend­ed to sup­port lais­sez-faire poli­cies. The pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion of eco­nom­ics and oth­er social sci­ences via grad­u­ate pro­grams, which spread from Ger­many to France, Great Britain and the Unit­ed States in the late 19th cen­tu­ry, was dri­ven by the increas­ing demands of inter­ven­tion­ist and mil­i­tarist gov­ern­ments for experts and spe­cial­ists to advise on and plan the expand­ing pro­grams of the emerg­ing Wel­fare-War­fare States of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. For their part, social sci­en­tists, most of whom faced a pre­car­i­ous exis­tence on the free mar­ket, were all too eager to accept the pres­tige, pow­er and the steady income offered by gov­ern­ment posi­tions. Lud­wig von Mis­es elo­quent­ly depict­ed the con­nec­tion between pro­fes­sion­al econ­o­mists and gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion­ism in 1949:

    Oh well, at least he was­n’t attack­ing all col­lege edu­ca­tion...

    It doen seem like we’ve entered a new post-Rea­gan form of far-right pop­ulist rhetoric: The age of the nihilis­tic all stick/no car­rot approach to appeal­ing to the mass­es. At least Rea­gan sold the lie that we could all be suc­cess­ful if we just got gov­ern­ment out of the way. But it’s like the only we see offered by today’s breed of Lib­er­tar­i­an­ism is the offer that “you too could become a bil­lion­aire! And you had bet­ter, because there is no hope for a decent life oth­er­wise. So start your busi­ness now kids or get ready for a life of pover­ty!” And the kids are sup­pose to embrace this attack on their futures as a form of lib­er­a­tion. That’s their sales pitch. It’s weird.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 18, 2013, 9:14 am
  6. Lol, when even The Dai­ly Caller thinks a pol­i­cy sounds so cal­lous­ly crazy and cru­el to work­ers that it deserves a rebuke, The Dai­ly Caller prob­a­bly is right. If your Salafist allies think you haven’t been crazy enough, on the oth­er hand, they’re prob­a­bly wrong. Real­i­ty is anti-crazy, hence the asym­me­try.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 19, 2013, 8:09 am
  7. For mon­sters that feed on the pain and suf­fer­ing of oth­ers starv­ing some­one to death is a favorite dish. But when com­plete star­va­tion isn’t an option chron­ic hunger and mal­nu­tri­tion will suf­fice. It’s not exact­ly a nutri­tious or healthy diet of pain and suf­fer­ing but you can sur­vive:

    Let them eat garbage
    Wednes­day, June 19, 2013
    by dig­by

    This is not a joke. Some well-fed con­gres­sion­al staffer says that Food Stamps are too gen­er­ous and to prove it he goes to the store, buys a bunch of garbage and basi­cal­ly tells the poor to eat it and shut up:

    Don­ny Fer­gu­son (no rela­tion to this reporter), an aide to out­spo­ken right-wing con­gress­man Rep. Steve Stock­man (R‑TX) claims that peo­ple who say that the Spe­cial Nutri­tion­al Assis­tance Pro­gram (SNAP), more com­mon­ly known as food stamps, isn’t enough to live on are lying and that the pro­gram should be cut even fur­ther. Think Progress flagged a Stock­man press release in which Fer­gu­son said he believed that the week­ly allot­ment of food for one per­son of $31.50 is too gen­er­ous because he claims was able to pur­chase a week’s worth of food for $27.58.

    “I want­ed to per­son­al­ly expe­ri­ence the effects of the pro­posed cuts to food stamps. I didn’t plan ahead or buy strate­gi­cal­ly, I just saw the pub­lic­i­ty stunt and made a snap deci­sion to dri­ve down the street and try it myself,” Fer­gu­son said in the release. “I put my mon­ey where my mouth is, and the pro­posed food stamp cuts are still quite fill­ing.”

    Fer­gu­son was react­ing to the “SNAP Chal­lenge,” in which Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors and activists are protest­ing pro­posed cuts to the newest Farm Bill, which would slash ben­e­fits to peo­ple on SNAP. To protest the cuts, peo­ple tak­ing the chal­lenge will attempt to live for a week on the amount of food mon­ey allot­ted to peo­ple who receive SNAP ben­e­fits, $31.50 a week, or $4.50 per day.

    Stockman’s office called the chal­lenge “a left-wing pub­lic­i­ty stunt” and claimed “Democ­rats have been inten­tion­al­ly buy­ing over­priced food and shop­ping at high-priced chains to make it appear the cuts go too far.”

    With his $27.58, Fer­gu­son pur­chased:

    Two box­es of Hon­ey­comb cere­al
    Three cans of red beans and rice
    Jar of peanut but­ter
    Bot­tle of grape jel­ly
    Loaf of whole wheat bread
    Two cans of refried beans
    Box of spaghet­ti
    Large can of pas­ta sauce
    Two liters of root beer
    Large box of pop­si­cles
    24 serv­ings of Wyler’s fruit drink mix
    Eight cups of apple­sauce
    Bag of pin­to beans
    Bag of rice
    Bag of cook­ies
    Gal­lon milk
    Box of instant oat­meal

    He appar­ent­ly thinks that peo­ple should live on beans and rice (both canned and dried, he likes it so much!) some cheap pas­ta, peanut but­ter and jel­ly sand­wich­es and junk food full of sug­ar. No fresh veg­eta­bles, no meat (not even canned), no eggs, no condi­ments, no fresh fruit, no oil, not even a box of real oat­meal.

    Note that Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sock­man used to be home­less him­self. He also used to be con­sid­ered too crazy for Con­gress. That was then, this is now:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    A House rad­i­cal is now in the main­stream
    By Dana Milbank,January 15, 2013

    When I cov­ered Con­gress in the mid-1990s, one of my favorite char­ac­ters was Steve Stock­man, a for­mer street vagrant who some­how got swept to pow­er in the Repub­li­can Rev­o­lu­tion of ’94.

    Vot­ers in his Texas dis­trict, real­iz­ing their mis­take, swept him out two years lat­er — but not before he dis­tin­guished him­self by demand­ing a fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion of the 1948 Kin­sey Report on male sex­u­al­i­ty and by claim­ing that the dead­ly 1993 assault on the Branch David­i­ans was a Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion con­spir­a­cy to tight­en gun con­trol.

    So it was with a mix of nos­tal­gia and delight that I came across a head­line on the news Web site Talk­ing Points Memo this week pro­claim­ing, “GOP Rep. Threat­ens Impeach­ment If Oba­ma Uses Exec­u­tive Order on Guns.” It turns out that con­gress­man is ..... Steve Stock­man. Six­teen years and one failed run for rail­road com­mis­sion­er lat­er, he’s back in the halls of Con­gress.

    But there is a key dif­fer­ence in Stockman’s sec­ond act, and it says less about him than about our pol­i­tics. Back then, he proved too much even for the ’94 rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies; his class­mates came to shun him and vot­ers in his com­pet­i­tive dis­trict sent him pack­ing. But this time, Texas has redrawn its polit­i­cal bound­aries, and Stockman’s new seat is safe. What’s more, his views, out­landish in the House of 1995, are more at home in the House of 2013. On Tues­day night, Stock­man was one of 179 House Repub­li­cans to vote against aid to Hur­ri­cane Sandy’s vic­tims.

    All these years lat­er, Stock­man can still bring the crazy. The prob­lem is he’s now just one of many pur­vey­ors.

    In his first few days back, Stock­man has picked up where he left off. In addi­tion to his threat to seek impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Oba­ma if he issues exec­u­tive orders on guns, he vot­ed “present” rather than cast his bal­lot to elect John Boehn­er speak­er, com­plain­ing that the Repub­li­can leader coop­er­at­ed with “a lib­er­al White House that has out­ma­neu­vered him at every turn.” He also intro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would end gun-free zones around schools.

    By his own account, Stock­man spent time home­less as a young man, sleep­ing in a Fort Worth park, look­ing for food in trash cans and going by the street name “Max.” He has been jailed more than once, he has said in inter­views, and was charged with a felony after one such inci­dent when author­i­ties found Val­i­um in his pants; he said a girl­friend put the pills there, and the charge was lat­er reduced.


    Now back in office, Stock­man has hit the ground run­ning. Again work­ing with the Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca, a group that makes the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion seem mod­er­ate by com­par­i­son, he intro­duced the “Safe School Act” that would repeal fed­er­al laws ban­ning guns from school zones. “The time has come to end the dead­ly exper­i­ment of dis­arm­ing peace­able, law-abid­ing cit­i­zens near schools,” he said in a let­ter to col­leagues.

    And, a week into his new term, now comes the impeach­ment threat. Stock­man said Obama’s plan to issue exec­u­tive orders as part of his gun-vio­lence pack­age is “an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and uncon­scionable attack on the very found­ing prin­ci­ples of this repub­lic.” If Oba­ma can do this, he said, “our free repub­lic has effec­tive­ly ceased to exist.” In the news release accom­pa­ny­ing his threat, he attached an image of a can­non and the words “come and take it.”

    Yes, that’s the same Stock­man I found so enter­tain­ing back in the ’90s. What’s fright­en­ing is he no longer sounds like an out­lier.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 20, 2013, 10:20 am
  8. Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 24, 2013, 9:09 pm
  9. The best part of this grand anti-vol­un­teerism approach to alle­vi­at­ing pover­ty is that when all the teenagers that are cur­rent­ly vol­un­teer­ing at the home­less shel­ter quit vol­un­teer­ing and get a min­i­mum wage job instead, appar­ent­ly all the home­less peo­ple will also go out and get min­i­mum wage jobs too. It’s an employ­ment twofer! At least, that’s the the­o­ry. It hap­pens to be junk the­o­ry:

    Think Progress
    Wall Street Jour­nal Op-Ed: Home­less Shel­ter Vol­un­teers Are The Real Cause Of Home­less­ness

    By Scott Keyes on Jul 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Accord­ing to a hedge fund man­ag­er writ­ing in the Wall Street Jour­nal, home­less­ness isn’t caused by deep-seat­ed inequities in soci­ety, but rather by peo­ple like his teenage son who vol­un­teer at home­less shel­ters.

    Andy Kessler, who found­ed the bil­lion-dol­lar Palo Alto invest­ment firm Veloc­i­ty Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, penned an op-ed Mon­day in which he mocked young peo­ple for vol­un­teer­ing, argu­ing that they were delu­sion­al for think­ing their efforts would make a dif­fer­ence. Instead, Kessler con­tend­ed, they should try to make as much mon­ey as pos­si­ble and trust that eco­nom­ic growth will help the world more than vol­un­teer­ing.

    To illus­trate his argu­ment, Kessler points to his 16-year-old son, who has been vol­un­teer­ing at a home­less shel­ter. Though his son wants to do good, Kessler writes that it’s vol­un­teers like him who are keep­ing home­less peo­ple on the streets “because some­one is feed­ing, cloth­ing and, in effect, bathing them.” The answer, instead, is old-fash­ioned trick­le-down eco­nom­ics:

    My 16-year-old son vol­un­teers with an orga­ni­za­tion that feeds the home­less and fills kits with per­son­al-hygiene sup­plies for them. It’s a worth­while project, and I tell him so—but he doesn’t like it when our con­ver­sa­tion on the way to his min­i­mum-wage job turns to why these home­less folks aren’t also work­ing. Per­haps, I sug­gest, because some­one is feed­ing, cloth­ing and, in effect, bathing them? [...]

    Giv­en the mas­sive wealth cre­at­ed in the U.S. econ­o­my over the past 30-plus years, it’s under­stand­able that the mantra of the guilty gen­er­a­tion is sus­tain­abil­i­ty and recy­cling. But obsess­ing over car­bon foot­prints and LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and free-range straw­ber­ries and charg­ing for plas­tic bags will not help the world near­ly as much as good old-fash­ioned eco­nom­ic growth. Gen‑G will wise up to the real­i­ty that the way to improve lives is to get to work. If Wood­stock­ers fig­ured this out, so will they—as soon as they get over their guilt.


    Note that while Mr. Kessler’s approach to cur­ing home­less­ness by gut­ting aid to the poor could maybe, *pos­si­bly*, lead to some home­less peo­ple find­ing employ­ment at a min­i­mum wage job, there’s real­ly no rea­son to assume that get­ting that job will actu­al­ly get them a home.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 9, 2013, 2:48 pm
  10. More fun with Lib­er­tar­i­an eco­nom­ics, ethics, and pover­ty:

    Ali­cus blog
    Fri­day, July 19, 2013
    Post­ed by roy edroso at 2:23 PM

    Ah, Megan McAr­dle is at Bloomberg now. Let’s see what she’s up to — oh yeah, that McDon­ald’s how-to-sur­vive-on-our-shit­ty-pay thing. Guess what, McAr­dle sides with McDon­ald’s! (Her hus­band’s right, these scripts are get­ting awful­ly pre­dictable.)

    More­over, a num­ber of peo­ple are claim­ing that this bud­get is not mere­ly unkind, but down­right Dra­con­ian — “the amounts spec­i­fied in this bud­get just aren’t enough to get by, at least not safe­ly,” Irreg­u­lar Times says.

    This seems over­dra­mat­ic; $24,000 in after-tax dol­lars is not prince­ly. But it does­n’t put you at sig­nif­i­cant risk of death or dis­mem­ber­ment. While $800 a month is not a lot to have for clothes, enter­tain­ment, gro­ceries and sun­dries, even tak­ing infla­tion into account, that was a lot more than the dis­pos­able income I had when I first start­ed at The Econ­o­mist. After stu­dent loans, rent and tax­es, I had about $300 for every­thing else, includ­ing util­i­ties and Metro­Cards.

    Young career-track­er with a starter job at The Econ­o­mist, McDon­ald’s employ­ee = pret­ty much the same thing.

    If you are a mid­dle-class pro­fes­sion­al, and you attempt to imag­ine repli­cat­ing your own lifestyle on McDon­ald’s wages, you are bound to feel pan­ic and out­rage. But that’s not actu­al­ly the task fac­ing peo­ple who work at McDon­ald’s, or peo­ple with a house­hold after-tax income of about $24,000 a year.

    Yeah, they’re nev­er going to need just the right shoes for a gala recep­tion, so their needs are dif­fer­ent.

    The McDon­ald’s work­force skews young. The aver­age age of a fast-food work­er is almost 30 right now, but that’s because of the reces­sion; in 2000, it was 22. The aver­age McDon­ald’s line work­er is not plan­ning to put two kids through col­lege on their salary. Only a minor­i­ty are try­ing to sup­port just them­selves exclu­sive­ly on their min­i­mum-wage pay­check; they are liv­ing with a spouse or part­ner who makes at least as much as they do, or with par­ents or oth­er rel­a­tives who make more than min­i­mum wage. More­over, very few peo­ple stay in entry-lev­el min­i­mum-wage jobs for very long (though again, the Great Reces­sion has made this hap­pen more than it used to); those work­ers even­tu­al­ly get pro­mot­ed or leave for a more promis­ing job.

    Sor­ry, had to go to the “empha­sis added” there; I did­n’t want you to miss the use of McArdle’s trade­marked “the facts sup­port me except for the parts that don’t, which I dis­miss by nam­ing them” process. Also, fun­ny as I find the idea that shit wages are okay for these peo­ple because they can always get their uncle in North Dako­ta to send them mon­ey orders, it’s noth­ing com­pared to this:

    Those who don’t [advance] — who actu­al­ly try to sup­port a fam­i­ly on min­i­mum-wage pay­checks — will end up with sub­stan­tial gov­ern­ment sup­port. They’ll get the Sup­ple­men­tal Nutri­tion Assis­tance Pro­gram, the Earned Income Tax Cred­it and, in many places, they will now be eli­gi­ble for Med­ic­aid.

    For one thing, these are pro­grams McArdle’s fel­low con­ser­vatar­i­ans are work­ing hard to get rid of. For anoth­er and more to the point, this sort of employ­er exploita­tion of pub­lic assis­tance is famous­ly what’s keep­ing the whole crap-job par­a­digm alive. It like defend­ing a con game by say­ing, “but if you shut it down, how’s the con man going to make any mon­ey?”

    McAr­dle can’t resist adding that you sil­ly elit­ists can’t under­stand: “There are mil­lions of peo­ple in this coun­try doing it,” she says. “Keep in mind that most McDon­ald’s work­ers don’t live close to New York City or Wash­ing­ton... Sur­vival on such a lean bud­get is pos­si­ble because peo­ple who do it are not try­ing to live the atom­ized life of an upper-mid­dle-class col­lege grad­u­ate.” Woo, that’s telling those of us who have our own bath­rooms! We get some­thing sim­i­lar at the Wash­ing­ton Post from McArdle’s fel­low con­ser­vatar­i­an Tim­o­thy B. Lee — but first let me quote my favorite part:

    The bud­get allo­cates $0 for heat. This could be real­is­tic in some South­ern states...


    Well, at least the McDon­ald’s employ­ees in some South­ern states will be able to save on heat­ing costs (pre­sum­ably they’ll migrate North with the birds dur­ing the sum­mer months). Plus, retire­ment is sort of option­al nowa­days, so it’s not like we should expect our 30+ year old McDon­ald’s employ­ees to save for such friv­o­li­ties. Dit­to for their kids’ col­lege funds.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 20, 2013, 2:04 pm
  11. Mitch Daniels, the for­mer Indi­ana gov­er­nor and the new head of Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty, is com­ing under crit­i­cism for an attempt to purge the train­ing state edu­ca­tors of lib­er­al “pro­pa­gan­da”:

    Mitch Daniels: I Just Want­ed To Keep Kids From Read­ing Howard Zinn

    By TOM LoBIAN­CO 07/19/13 06:50 PM ET EDT

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty Pres­i­dent Mitch Daniels on Fri­day stood by his efforts to keep lib­er­al his­to­ri­an Howard Zin­n’s work from being taught in Indi­ana schools, say­ing the actions he took while gov­er­nor were meant to keep the book out of the hands of K‑12 stu­dents.

    Mean­while, the uni­ver­si­ty’s board of trustees threw their sup­port behind the for­mer politi­cian, approv­ing a $58,000 bonus to reward him for his first six months on the job.

    Daniels told reporters after a meet­ing of the board that a state­ment he made as gov­er­nor that Indi­ana should “dis­qual­i­fy the pro­pa­gan­da” he saw being used in Indi­ana’s teacher prepa­ra­tion cours­es was meant only to keep Zin­n’s “A Peo­ple’s His­to­ry of the Unit­ed States” from being taught in the state’s K‑12 class­rooms.

    “The ques­tion is, would this lead to this mate­r­i­al being taught to inno­cent school chil­dren? I promise that if the par­ents of Indi­ana under­stood what was in the book in ques­tion, 99 if not 100 out of 100 would want some oth­er book used,” Daniels said after the trustees’ meet­ing on the West Lafayette cam­pus.

    Daniels has come under fire in aca­d­e­m­ic cir­cles for the 2010 emails, which were obtained by The Asso­ci­at­ed Press through a pub­lic records request.

    After learn­ing that Zin­n’s book was being used in a sum­mer teacher train­ing course at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty, Daniels signed off on edu­ca­tion advis­er David Shane’s pro­pos­al to review uni­ver­si­ty cours­es across the state to deter­mine what should count as cred­it.

    “Go for it. Dis­qual­i­fy pro­pa­gan­da and high­light (if there is any) the more use­ful offer­ings. Don’t the ed schools have at least some sub­stan­tive PD (pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment) course­ware to upgrade knowl­edge of math, sci­ence, etc.,” Daniels wrote.

    After being told Zin­n’s work was being used at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty in a course for teach­ers on the Civ­il Rights, fem­i­nist and labor move­ments, Daniels wrote:

    “This crap should not be accept­ed for any cred­it by the state. No stu­dent will be bet­ter taught because some­one sat through this ses­sion. Which board has juris­dic­tion over what counts and what does­n’t?”

    Crit­ics say the emails sup­port their con­tention that he is not qual­i­fied to lead a major uni­ver­si­ty.

    But sup­port­ers say Daniels was right to chal­lenge the use of Zin­n’s work, which address­es Amer­i­can his­to­ry from the view­point of those whose plights he said were often omit­ted from most his­to­ry text­books. It has been wide­ly crit­i­cized by many con­ser­v­a­tives and schol­ars and char­ac­ter­ized by his­to­ri­an Eugene D. Gen­ovese as “inco­her­ent left-wing slo­ga­niz­ing.”

    The Amer­i­can His­tor­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion, a non­par­ti­san group that sets aca­d­e­m­ic stan­dards of review and pub­li­ca­tion for his­to­ri­ans nation­wide, on Fri­day issued a state­ment say­ing it “deplores the spir­it and intent” of Daniels’ emails. The asso­ci­a­tion said it con­sid­ered any gov­er­nor’s effort to inter­fere with an indi­vid­ual teacher’s read­ing assign­ments “inap­pro­pri­ate and a vio­la­tion of aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom.”

    “What­ev­er the strengths or weak­ness­es of Howard Zin­n’s text, and what­ev­er the crit­i­cisms that have been made of it, we believe that the open dis­cus­sion of con­tro­ver­sial books ben­e­fits stu­dents, his­to­ri­ans, and the gen­er­al pub­lic alike. Attempts to sin­gle out par­tic­u­lar texts for sup­pres­sion from a school or uni­ver­si­ty cur­ricu­lum have no place in a demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety,” the state­ment read.

    Daniels says he is a firm sup­port­er of aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom.


    Since tak­ing over at Pur­due, Daniels has host­ed a lec­ture on speech sup­pres­sion at uni­ver­si­ties nation­wide, and he sent an “open let­ter” to the Pur­due com­mu­ni­ty in Jan­u­ary say­ing uni­ver­si­ties have squashed free speech rather than encour­age it.


    Don’t wor­ry Mitch. Once the far-right’s pub­lic edu­ca­tion “reform” efforts are com­plet­ed in this coun­try, you’ll have all the “aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom” one could ever desire:

    Ron Paul launch­es lib­er­tar­i­an-edged home school cur­ricu­lum
    Pub­lished April 08, 2013

    Ron Paul is retired from pub­lic office but has found a new way to spread his lib­er­tar­i­an mes­sage – an online, home-school pro­gram that is based on the “his­to­ry of lib­er­ty” and teach­es the “bib­li­cal prin­ci­ples of self-gov­ern­ment.”

    The for­mer Texas Repub­li­can con­gress­man and three-time pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is offer­ing the pro­gram, called the “Ron Paul Cur­ricu­lum,” free to par­ents and stu­dents in kinder­garten through fifth grade. How­ev­er, Paul, fol­low­ing his own belief in a free-mar­ket econ­o­my, is charg­ing those wish­ing to con­tin­ue through the 12th grade.

    The 77-year-old Paul — whose spir­it­ed 2008 and 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns inspired legions of young lib­er­tar­i­ans — has assem­bled a fac­ul­ty-staff that includes author Tom Woods.

    “For peo­ple who have been won­der­ing what Ron Paul has been up to since retir­ing from Con­gress, then here’s your answers,” Woods said in announc­ing the start of the pro­gram. “This, I am con­vinced, will prove to be Ron Paul’s most sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the cause of lib­er­ty.”

    The pro­gram includes instruc­tion­al videos to help teach the eclec­tic cur­ricu­lum — with gener­ic class­es rang­ing from read­ing to note-tak­ing to pub­lic speak­ing, as well as more Ron Paul-esque cours­es like Aus­tri­an School eco­nom­ics. From the can­di­date whose online sup­port base helped dri­ve his cam­paigns is also a class on how to start a YouTube chan­nel.

    Paul, a Lib­er­tar­i­an pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in 1988, has also brought on Gary North, his first Capi­tol Hill research assis­tant, to be devel­op­ment direc­tor of the Ron Paul Cur­ricu­lum.

    Not miss­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty to ques­tion author­i­ty, the Paul team dis­miss­es the program’s lack of gov­ern­ment accred­i­ta­tion and text­books, which they say are “screened by com­mit­tees.”

    North calls such accred­i­ta­tion “an ille­git­i­mate infringe­ment on the right of par­ents to edu­cate their chil­dren.” And anoth­er North essay on the school web­site is titled: “Accred­i­ta­tion: Should We Crawl on Our Bel­lies to the State?”


    Well it’s a relief that Mitch Daniels is rid­ding at least one state of the per­ni­cious influ­ence of Howard Zin­n’s ideas on inno­cent minds. Expo­sure to Zin­n’s dan­ger­ous ideas could wreak hav­oc on prop­er accep­tance of Aus­tri­an School eco­nom­ic prin­ci­ples. And it’s a good sign that Ron Paul added Chris­t­ian Recon­struc­tion­ist Gary North to his team. The cours­es in his­to­ry and gov­ern­ment should be total­ly awe­some.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 20, 2013, 3:14 pm
  12. Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 24, 2013, 6:53 pm
  13. I’ve tried to com­ment in the past but haven’t been able to get past whatever/whoever mod­er­ates this board.

    Thus far I’ve man­aged to lis­ten to most of the avail­able audio posts at this site. It took me about three years to do this. The lev­el of research and doc­u­men­ta­tion is remark­able. From the begin­ning, right up to the most recent FTR pro­gram, Dave Emory seems to be mak­ing every effort to be objec­tive, and it’s impres­sive that he’s always care­ful to dis­tin­guish his own spec­u­la­tion from the his­tor­i­cal mate­r­i­al and cur­rent news reports he cites. All the mate­r­i­al on the Under­ground Reich is con­sis­tent with oth­er research I’m aware of... espe­cial­ly that of Lof­tus and Aarons.

    Read­ing many of the com­ments found at the var­i­ous posts on this site, I’m a bit con­fused by the con­sis­tent hos­til­i­ty against Cap­i­tal­ism. There’s a great deal of equiv­o­ca­tion on this term, and a ten­den­cy to assume that Cap­i­tal­ism is in all cas­es the same as Fas­cism. Do those who rail against Cap­i­tal­ism pre­fer Com­mu­nism, Social­ism, and/or Pro­gres­sive-ism? These sys­tems also tend to pro­duce Fas­cism.

    Again refer­ring to the com­ments... the Aus­tri­an School of eco­nom­ics is also fre­quent­ly pre­sent­ed as the source of Fas­cism. Many com­ments against the Aus­tri­an School remind me of fun­da­men­tal­ist preach­ers rail­ing against “The Dev­il”, repeat­ing slo­gans and speak­ing in abso­lutist terms. It seems to me that those who take this posi­tion are mere­ly engag­ing in polemics, and in fact don’t real­ly know much about the Aus­tri­an School.

    None of the above takes away from the legit­i­mate crit­i­cism of those who use gov­ern­ment to monop­o­lize indus­try and impose tax­es that lim­it choice.

    I’d like to hear Dave Emory (not those who com­ment here) explain more about the type of gov­ern­ment and eco­nom­ic sys­tem he thinks would best serve the inter­ests of the major­i­ty. At this point, I think Dave is best described as a “Clas­si­cal Lib­er­al”, more of a Lib­er­tar­i­an than a Pro­gres­sive (as the term “Pro­gres­sive” is used these days).


    Posted by WB | October 1, 2013, 12:47 pm
  14. @WB–

    Thanks for pay­ing atten­tion to this web­site.

    I don’t have time to respond at length and in detail to your com­ment.

    I will sim­ply say that com­menters are not opposed to cap­i­tal­ism, pe se, though some may be.

    The per­spec­tive pre­sent­ed here is anti-fas­cist.

    Mus­soli­ni, who coined the term, said “Il fasc­smo e il corporatismo”–“Fascism is cor­po­ratism.”

    Anoth­er way of think­ing about it would be to say that “fas­cism is cap­i­tal­ism on full auto.”

    My ide­al form of gov­ern­ment was embod­ied in the admin­is­tra­tions of Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt.

    Pres­i­dent Kennedy would have real­ized the same type of gov­er­nance, had he been allowed to live.

    I sug­gest that you spend a con­sid­er­able amount of time read­ing some of the books that are avail­able for down­load for free.

    They will illus­trate much, includ­ing the dif­fer­ence between fas­cism and total­i­tar­i­an social­ist gov­ern­ments such as those msan­i­fest­ed by Stal­in and Mao.



    Posted by Dave Emory | October 1, 2013, 4:18 pm
  15. Dave... Real­ly appre­ci­ate your per­son­al response and clar­i­fi­ca­tion.

    I’ve down­loaded all the source mate­ri­als (pdfs of books) you’ve made avail­able. And I’ve sug­gest­ed that sev­er­al pro­fes­sion­al researchers and writ­ers I know pay close atten­tion to your work and these books.

    Per­son­al­ly, I’m opposed to “The Cor­po­rate State” in what­ev­er form it takes. I think the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion and the form of gov­ern­ment it spec­i­fies is the best way to go. That the Cor­po­ra­tions were able to get a monop­oly on the rights intend­ed for liv­ing per­sons is a legal mis­take and an his­tor­i­cal tragedy. As some­body said “you can’t open the door for a Cor­po­ra­tion”.

    Inter­est­ing that you see FDR as embody­ing the ide­al form of gov­ern­ment. My Grand­fa­ther thought FDR walked on water. John Lof­tus’s “Secret War Against the Jews” doc­u­ments a great deal of this. When it first came out, this book had a big impact on Jews across the spec­trum. One of the things that dis­tin­guish­es your work is the fact that you’ve had him on your show sev­er­al times.

    Ealier today I lis­tened to your most recent show. As you’ve done with oth­er issues, your per­spec­tive on Snow­den is eye-open­ing and chal­lenges some of my assump­tions about Ron Paul and his crowd. Most trou­bling is the con­nec­tion with the active Nazi groups, and the fact that he con­ceals this.

    Glad you’re back in the sad­dle and hope you keep up your work. Thanks again for the per­son­al response.


    Posted by WB | October 2, 2013, 7:45 am
  16. Notice how things like “end­ing glob­al pover­ty and the oth­er con­di­tions that lead to hope­less­ness and rad­i­cal­iza­tion” or “cur­tail­ing the mas­sive glob­al small arms tradedon’t appear to be on the anti-ter­ror­ism solu­tion list:

    ABC News
    Exclu­sive: After West­gate, Inter­pol Chief Pon­ders ‘Armed Cit­i­zen­ry’
    Oct. 21, 2013

    Inter­pol Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Ronald Noble said today the U.S. and the rest of the demo­c­ra­t­ic world is at a secu­ri­ty cross­roads in the wake of last mon­th’s dead­ly al-Shabab attack at a shop­ping mall in Nairo­bi, Kenya – and sug­gest­ed an answer could be in arm­ing civil­ians.

    In an exclu­sive inter­view with ABC News, Noble said there are real­ly only two choic­es for pro­tect­ing open soci­eties from attacks like the one on West­gate mall where so-called “soft tar­gets” are hit: either cre­ate secure perime­ters around the loca­tions or allow civil­ians to car­ry their own guns to pro­tect them­selves.

    “Soci­eties have to think about how they’re going to approach the prob­lem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed cit­i­zen­ry; you can see the rea­son for that. Anoth­er is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft tar­get you’re going to have to pass through extra­or­di­nary secu­ri­ty.”

    Noble’s com­ments came only moments after the offi­cial open­ing of the 82nd annu­al gath­er­ing of the Inter­pol’s gov­ern­ing body, the Gen­er­al Assem­bly. The ses­sion is being held in Carta­ge­na, Colom­bia, and is being used to high­light strides over the last decade in Colom­bi­a’s bat­tle against the noto­ri­ous drug car­tels that used to be the real pow­er in the coun­try.

    The sec­re­tary gen­er­al, an Amer­i­can who pre­vi­ous­ly head­ed up all law enforce­ment for the U.S. Trea­sury Depart­ment, told reporters dur­ing a brief news con­fer­ence that the West­gate mall attack marks what has long been seen as “an evo­lu­tion in ter­ror­ism.” Instead of tar­gets like the Pen­ta­gon and World Trade Cen­ter that now have far more secu­ri­ty since 9/11, attack­ers are focus­ing on sites with lit­tle secu­ri­ty that attract large num­bers of peo­ple.

    At least 67 were killed over a peri­od of days at the West­gate mall, more than 60 of the dead were civil­ians. The Soma­lia-based al Qae­da-allied ter­ror group al-Shabab claimed respon­si­bil­i­ty for the attack as it was ongo­ing but inves­ti­ga­tors are still try­ing to deter­mine exact­ly who planned the strike, where they are and what is next for them. U.S. author­i­ties in Ugan­da, fear­ing anoth­er sim­i­lar inci­dent in Africa, issued a warn­ing late last week.

    Cit­ing a recent call for al Qae­da “broth­ers to strike soft tar­gets, to do it in small groups,” Noble said law enforce­ment is now fac­ing a daunt­ing task.

    “How do you pro­tect soft tar­gets? That’s real­ly the chal­lenge. You can’t have armed police forces every­where,” he told reporters. “It’s Inter­pol’s view that one way you pro­tect soft tar­gets is you make it more dif­fi­cult for ter­ror­ist to move inter­na­tion­al­ly. So what we’re try­ing to do is to estab­lish a way for coun­tries … to screen pass­ports, which are a ter­ror­ist’s best friend, try to lim­it ter­ror­ists mov­ing from coun­try to coun­try. And also, that we’re able to share more info about sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ists.”

    In the inter­view with ABC News, Noble was more blunt and direct­ed his com­ments to his home coun­try.

    “Ask your­self: If that was Den­ver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shoot­ing peo­ple ran­dom­ly?” Noble said, refer­ring to states with pro-gun tra­di­tions. “What I’m say­ing is it makes police around the world ques­tion their views on gun con­trol. It makes cit­i­zens ques­tion their views on gun con­trol. You have to ask your­self, ‘Is an armed cit­i­zen­ry more nec­es­sary now than it was in the past with an evolv­ing threat of ter­ror­ism?’ This is some­thing that has to be dis­cussed.”

    “For me it’s a pro­found ques­tion,” he con­tin­ued. “Peo­ple are quick to say ‘gun con­trol, peo­ple should­n’t be armed,’ etc., etc. I think they have to ask them­selves: ‘Where would you have want­ed to be? In a city where there was gun con­trol and no cit­i­zens armed if you’re in a West­gate mall, or in a place like Den­ver or Texas?’ ”

    So the solu­tion to the most nations most vul­ner­a­ble to ter­ror­ism, in par­tic­u­lar poor, devel­op­ing nations, is either a police-state or the removal all “soft tar­gets” by arm­ing every­one? It will be inter­est­ing to hear the NRA’s Inter­pol’s views on cyber­se­cu­ri­ty.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 21, 2013, 2:26 pm
  17. Paul Ryan: Pope of the Church of the Infal­li­ble Free-Mar­ket:

    The Rachel Mad­dow Show
    ‘Cham­pi­on of the poor’?
    12/20/13 03:45 PM—Updated 12/20/13 06:27 PM

    By Steve Benen

    Just last month, the Wash­ing­ton Post ran a sur­pris­ing­ly uncrit­i­cal, front-page arti­cle on House Bud­get Com­mit­tee Chair­man Paul Ryan (R‑Wis.), cel­e­brat­ing the con­gress­man for his efforts “fight­ing pover­ty and win­ning minds.” The gist of the piece was that the far-right con­gress­man is entire­ly sin­cere about using con­ser­v­a­tive ideas – both eco­nom­ic and spir­i­tu­al – to com­bat pover­ty.

    BuzzFeed’s McK­ay Cop­pins is think­ing along sim­i­lar lines.

    Until recent­ly, Paul Ryan would have seemed like an improb­a­ble pick to lead the restora­tion of com­pas­sion­ate con­ser­vatism with a heart­felt mis­sion to the poor. Of all the car­i­ca­tures he has inspired – from hero­ic bud­get war­rior to black-heart­ed Scrooge – “cham­pi­on of the poor” has nev­er been among them. And yet, Ryan has spent the past year qui­et­ly tour­ing impov­er­ished com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try with Wood­son, while his staff digs through cen­ter-right think tank papers in search of con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy pro­pos­als aimed at aid­ing the poor. Next spring, Ryan plans to intro­duce a new bat­tle plan for the war on pover­ty – one he hopes will launch a renewed nation­al debate on the issue. […]

    [T]hose clos­est to him say Ryan’s new mis­sion is the result of a gen­uine spir­i­tu­al epiphany – sparked, in part, by the prayer in Cleve­land, and sus­tained by the emer­gence of a new pope who has lit the world on fire with bold indict­ments of the “cul­ture of pros­per­i­ty” and a chal­lenge to reach out the weak and dis­ad­van­taged.

    Well, if those clos­est to Paul Ryan think we should see his con­cern for the poor as heart­felt, who am I to argue?

    All kid­ding aside, I don’t know the con­gress­man per­son­al­ly, and can’t speak to his sin­cer­i­ty. But ulti­mate­ly, whether or not Ryan had a “gen­uine spir­i­tu­al epiphany” doesn’t much mat­ter – either the Wis­con­si­nite has a pol­i­cy agen­da that will make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of those in pover­ty or he doesn’t.

    And at least for now, he doesn’t. Though we have not yet seen the agen­da Ryan intends to unveil in the spring, we’ve seen reports that his vision “relies heav­i­ly on pro­mot­ing vol­un­teerism and encour­ag­ing work through exist­ing fed­er­al pro­grams, includ­ing the tax code.” He’s also report­ed­ly focused on “giv­ing poor par­ents vouch­ers or tax cred­its” for pri­vate edu­ca­tion.

    In oth­er words, Ryan’s post-epiphany agen­da is like­ly to be awful­ly sim­i­lar to his pre-epiphany agen­da.

    What’s more, we’ve also seen plen­ty of oth­er pol­i­cy mea­sures from the con­gress­man. As we talked about in Novem­ber, this is the same con­gress­man whose orig­i­nal bud­get plan was sim­ply bru­tal towards fam­i­lies in pover­ty, the same con­gress­man who sup­ports deep cuts to food stamps, the same con­gress­man who wants to scrap Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare; and the same con­gress­man who’s balked at rais­ing the min­i­mum wage and extend­ing fed­er­al unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits.

    If Paul Ryan is the new mod­el for the Repub­li­can Party’s anti-pover­ty cru­sad­er, strug­gling fam­i­lies should be ter­ri­fied.


    Post­script: Peter Fla­her­ty, a devout Catholic and for­mer Rom­ney advis­er, told Buz­zFeed, “What Pope Fran­cis is doing is, instead of chang­ing Catholi­cism, he’s chang­ing the way the world views Catholi­cism… And I think Paul has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do some­thing sim­i­lar for con­ser­vatism.”

    Oh my.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 21, 2013, 7:58 pm
  18. You have to won­der if Ayn Rand would have still been an athe­ist if she was still alive today. Espe­cial­ly if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hob­by Lob­by and opens the flood­gates for reli­gious cor­po­rate per­son­hood. Maybe she would­n’t per­son­al­ly believe in the reli­gion, but it must be get­ting tempt­ing for Objec­tivists to sud­den­ly find reli­gion:(link cor­rect­ed from orig­i­nal)

    The Hob­by Lob­by Slip­pery Slope
    Wednes­day, March 26, 2014
    by dig­by

    No, it’s not just about birth con­trol:

    As we not­ed yes­ter­day in our post about Bryan Fis­ch­er inter­view­ing Rep. Michele Bach­mann, a group of con­ser­v­a­tive lead­ers — includ­ing Bach­mann, Mike Huck­abee, Newt Gin­grich, Haley Bar­bour, and David Bar­ton — have gath­ered for a Reli­gious Right event in Iowa aimed at mobi­liz­ing pas­tors called “Redis­cov­er God In Amer­i­ca.”

    The event is being web­cast by the Amer­i­can Fam­i­ly Asso­ci­a­tion and last night David Bar­ton got the fes­tiv­i­ties under­way by explain­ing to the audi­ence that all of our eco­nom­ic and tax poli­cies ought to be dic­tat­ed by the Bible ... and that means get­ting rid of the min­i­mum wage because it was opposed by Jesus (Bar­ton did­n’t actu­al­ly cite the pas­sage he uses to sup­port this claim in this pre­sen­ta­tion, but it is Matthew 20:1–16)

    And that’s not all:

    Reli­gious Right activist David Bar­ton pro­motes his ver­sion of Amer­i­can excep­tion­al­ism (Amer­i­ca was cre­at­ed by its divine­ly inspired founders as a coun­try of, by, and for evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians) and bib­li­cal cap­i­tal­ism (Jesus and the Bible oppose pro­gres­sive tax­es, cap­i­tal gains tax­es, estate tax­es, and min­i­mum wage laws). Claim­ing divine back­ing is a long-stand­ing Reli­gious Right tech­nique with a pow­er­ful polit­i­cal edge: if God sup­ports rad­i­cal­ly lim­it­ed gov­ern­ment, then pro­gres­sive poli­cies are not only wrong but evil, and lib­er­als are not only polit­i­cal oppo­nents but ene­mies of God.

    On a con­fer­ence call with pas­tors two days after the Novem­ber 2010 elec­tions to cel­e­brate con­ser­v­a­tive vic­to­ries, Bar­ton assert­ed a bib­li­cal under­pin­ning for far-right eco­nom­ic poli­cies: Tax­a­tion and deficit spend­ing amount to theft, a vio­la­tion of the Ten Com­mand­ments. The estate tax is “absolute­ly con­demned” by the Bible as the “most immoral” of tax­es. Jesus had “teach­ings” con­demn­ing the cap­i­tal gains tax and min­i­mum wage.

    Bar­ton also enlists Jesus in the war against unions and col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing. Accord­ing to Bar­ton, a para­ble from the 20th chap­ter of the book of Matthew about the own­er of a vine­yard mak­ing dif­fer­ent arrange­ments with work­ers was about “the right of pri­vate con­tract” – in oth­er words, the right of employ­ers to come to indi­vid­ual agree­ments with each employ­ee. Jesus’ para­ble, he said, is “anti-min­i­mum wage” and “anti-social­ist-union kind of stuff.”

    I am going to guess that if the Supremes rule that cor­po­ra­tions have a right to refuse to fol­low laws if they believe they inter­fere with their “reli­gious lib­er­ty” they will be able to find a Bible verse sup­port­ing every sin­gle item on the 1%‘s agen­da. It’s a big book.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 26, 2014, 1:01 pm
  19. Bob­by Jin­dal, the gov­er­nor that recent­ly replaced Louisiana’s pub­lic school sys­tem with some sort of far right char­ter schools dream­land that’s heav­i­ly geared towards teach­ing cre­ation­ism, wants you to know that there’s a war on reli­gious lib­er­ty, a rebel­lion is brew­ing, and the peo­ple are ready for a “hos­tile takeover” of DC:

    Jin­dal says rebel­lion brew­ing against Wash­ing­ton

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press
    Jun 22, 1:31 AM EDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bob­by Jin­dal on Sat­ur­day night accused Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and oth­er Democ­rats of wag­ing wars against reli­gious lib­er­ty and edu­ca­tion and said that a rebel­lion is brew­ing in the U.S. with peo­ple ready for “a hos­tile takeover” of the nation’s cap­i­tal.

    Jin­dal spoke at the annu­al con­fer­ence host­ed by the Faith and Free­dom Coali­tion, a group led by long­time Chris­t­ian activist Ralph Reed. Orga­niz­ers said more than 1,000 evan­gel­i­cal lead­ers attend­ed the three-day gath­er­ing. Repub­li­can offi­cials across the polit­i­cal spec­trum con­cede that evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers con­tin­ue to play a crit­i­cal role in GOP pol­i­tics.

    “I can sense right now a rebel­lion brew­ing amongst these Unit­ed States,” Jin­dal said, “where peo­ple are ready for a hos­tile takeover of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to pre­serve the Amer­i­can Dream for our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.”

    The gov­er­nor said there was a “silent war” on reli­gious lib­er­ty being fought in the U.S. — a coun­try that he said was built on that lib­er­ty.

    “I am tired of the left. They say they’re for tol­er­ance, they say they respect diver­si­ty. The real­i­ty is this: They respect every­body unless you hap­pen to dis­agree with them,” he said. “The left is try­ing to silence us and I’m tired of it, I won’t take it any­more.”

    Ear­li­er this week, Jin­dal signed an exec­u­tive order to block the use of tests tied to Com­mon Core edu­ca­tion stan­dards in his state, a posi­tion favored by tea par­ty sup­port­ers and con­ser­v­a­tives. He said he would con­tin­ue to fight against the admin­is­tra­tion’s attempts to imple­ment Com­mon Core.

    “The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has no role, no right and no place dic­tat­ing stan­dards in our local schools across these 50 states of the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca,” Jin­dal said.


    While you may have been tempt­ed to con­clude that this was a con­fer­ence arranged by David Lane based on the theo­crat­ic rum­blings and vio­lent under­tones. No, it was a Ralph Reed event. The David Lane event where Jin­dal talked about the war on reli­gion was last month.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 23, 2014, 12:22 pm
  20. One of the open ques­tions regard­ing the future of both the GOP and the US polit­i­cal sys­tem in gen­er­al is how the far right is going to man­age to finesse a tran­si­tion from a base that’s polit­i­cal­ly dri­ven by ide­olo­gies root­ed in reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism to a more exclu­sive­ly lib­er­tar­i­an par­ty. How does a move­ment main­tain its inter­nal integri­ty when such a fun­da­men­tal shift is required to keep the move­ment alive? That’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly easy. But as this piece on Richard Mel­lon Scaife high­lights, if the move­ment is design by and for elites and root­ed in huck­ster­ism, self-decep­tion, and Ayn Rand, the shift may not be as dif­fi­cult as one might imag­ine:

    Polit­i­cal Research Asso­ciates
    “Lib­er­tar­i­an Scaife” and His Reli­gious Right Lega­cy
    By Rachel Tabach­nick, on July 15, 2014

    Richard Mel­lon Scaife was the “epit­o­me of a lib­er­tar­i­an,” or at least, that’s how he was described in the Pitts­burgh Tri­bune Review fol­low­ing his death on July 4. “Lib­er­tar­i­an Scaife” is appar­ent­ly how he wished to be remem­bered in the city where many of the land­marks bear his famous family’s name. But Scaife’s rede­f­i­n­i­tion as a lib­er­tar­i­an is belied by his decades of fund­ing, includ­ing as fun­der of the archi­tect of the reli­gious and polit­i­cal right alliance and reli­gio-polit­i­cal think tanks.

    The lib­er­tar­i­an por­tray­al of Scaife in the news­pa­per that he owned, includ­ing quotes from his long-time lawyer describ­ing him as the defend­er of “free speech, free­dom of the press, the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state, a woman’s right to choose, and oth­er indi­vid­ual lib­er­ties,” is in con­trast with “Cit­i­zen Scaife,” the title of the Colum­bia Jour­nal­ism Review’s mul­ti-part 1981 pro­file. The series por­trayed Scaife as a “fund­ing father” of the emerg­ing New Right.

    At that time, the foun­da­tions Scaife con­trolled were the lead­ing source of seed mon­ey for two dozen New Right orga­ni­za­tions, and fund­ing for neo­con­ser­v­a­tive mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence think tanks.

    And there is anoth­er not-so-lib­er­tar­i­an lega­cy of Scaife’s fund­ing that was not men­tioned in most of his obit­u­ar­ies.

    “Lib­er­tar­i­an Scaife” empow­ered the Reli­gious Right

    He did not do it alone, nor was he the first plu­to­crat to fund the enlist­ment of amenable reli­gious lead­ers as part­ners to roll back the New Deal, or to make use of John Birch Soci­ety-style Chris­t­ian Nation­al­ism to attack unions and the reg­u­la­to­ry sys­tem.

    That list cov­ers more than a half cen­tu­ry and has includ­ed Sun Oil’s J. Howard Pew, tex­tile mag­nate Roger Mil­liken, and Fred Koch. But few have been bet­ter at the behind-the-scenes fund­ing of this part­ner­ship than Scaife. The out­come of his actions? An empow­ered Reli­gious Right, who today pre­fer the term “con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tive” to describe their wing of the GOP.

    The Scaife-con­trolled foundations—the Sarah Scaife, Alleghe­ny, and Carthage Foun­da­tions, run from the 39th floor of the Oxford Cen­tre in Pittsburgh—are at least par­tial­ly respon­si­ble for the con­sum­ma­tion of this plutocratic/theocratic part­ner­ship. The enig­mat­ic Scaife’s per­son­al activism some­times con­flict­ed with the unruly off­spring of his foundation’s largesse.

    Evi­dence includes a full page ad in the Wall Street Jour­nal in 2011, with a let­ter by Scaife call­ing for con­ser­v­a­tives to oppose efforts to defund Planned Par­ent­hood. His pass­ing is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask why Scaife and oth­er bil­lion­aires have helped to empow­er, whether inten­tion­al­ly or not, this theo­crat­ic-mind­ed off­spring that will long out­live them.

    Richard Viguerie, lead­ing patri­arch of the Reli­gious Right, told a Her­itage Foun­da­tion audi­ence in April that he was more opti­mistic than ever that “con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tives” could take over the Repub­li­can Par­ty by 2017. Viguerie insist­ed that their agen­da must go beyond rolling back the New Deal and return a pre-Ted­dy Roo­sevelt era, and that the ene­my was estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans like Rep. Eric Can­tor. Viguerie sug­gest­ed that Sen. Rand Paul ® be giv­en the vice pres­i­den­tial slot on the 2016 tick­et in order to bring lib­er­tar­i­ans on board—not real­ly much of a con­ces­sion since Paul has him­self reject­ed the lib­er­tar­i­an label in the past for that of “con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ser­v­a­tive” (and is described as the stan­dard bear­er of that move­ment by his for­mer aid and ghost writer Jack Hunter, a.k.a. the “South­ern Avenger”).

    Scaife was not a direct fun­der of Reli­gious Right insti­tu­tions that are house­hold names (that was left to fam­i­lies like Prince/DeVos and Coors), but he was a major fun­der of the late Paul Weyrich, shep­herd of the Reli­gious Right into GOP pol­i­tics, and co-founder of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil (ALEC), and the Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy. Described as the “Robe­spierre of the Right,” for his purges of the insuf­fi­cient­ly con­ser­v­a­tive, Weyrich left the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and start­ed what would become the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion (FCF). Scaife, who had sup­plied the bulk of the seed mon­ey for Her­itage and served as vice pres­i­dent of the board until his death, also fund­ed Weyrich’s FCF—sometimes to the tune of over a mil­lion dol­lars a year.

    This includ­ed in 2001, when the FCF pub­lished the man­i­festo “Inte­gra­tion of The­o­ry and Prac­tice,” call­ing for a new tra­di­tion­al­ist move­ment of con­ser­v­a­tives and right-lean­ing lib­er­tar­i­ans, and the fol­low­ing.

    “Our move­ment will be entire­ly destruc­tive, and entire­ly con­struc­tive. We will not try to reform the exist­ing insti­tu­tions. We only intend to weak­en them, and even­tu­al­ly destroy them. We will endeav­or to knock our oppo­nents off-bal­ance and unset­tle them at every oppor­tu­ni­ty. All of our con­struc­tive ener­gies will be ded­i­cat­ed to the cre­ation of our own insti­tu­tions.”

    In a 2005 CSPAN inter­view about his career, Weyrich said that he could not have done what he did with­out the help of Dick Scaife.
    [see video]

    Before Scaife paved the way with mil­lions of dol­lars for con­ser­v­a­tive infra­struc­ture, the St. Louis Post Dis­patch not­ed, “there was a world where extrem­ist ideas weren’t repack­aged as main­stream by out­fits like the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, the Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute, Judi­cial Watch, the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil, the Cato Insti­tute or the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety.”

    And Scaife did not stop there. He fund­ed the build­ing of new insti­tu­tions, but also the destroy­ing of old ones. He extend­ed his impact on Amer­i­can reli­gion by fund­ing enti­ties that under­mined denom­i­na­tions and mar­gin­al­ized reli­gious lead­ers not so amenable to rightwing pol­i­tics.

    Church & Scaife

    The Scaife foun­da­tions fund­ed the insti­tute that pub­lished the First Things mag­a­zine of lead­ing neo­con­ser­v­a­tive Father Richard John Neuhaus, and the close­ly allied Insti­tute on Reli­gion and Democ­ra­cy (IRD)—jokingly referred to dur­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion as “the offi­cial sem­i­nary of the White House.”

    A 2004 exposé by the late Methodist pas­tor Andrew Weaver was titled “Church & Scaife: Sec­u­lar Con­ser­v­a­tive Phil­an­thropies Wag­ing Uneth­i­cal Cam­paign to Take Over Unit­ed Methodist Church.” Weaver described IRD as a pseu­do-reli­gious, neo-con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tion with a goal of under­min­ing the lib­er­al, social and eco­nom­ic jus­tice mis­sion of main­line Protes­tant denom­i­na­tions. Chris­t­ian Cen­tu­ry exposed the fact that 89 per­cent of IRD’s ear­ly fund­ing came from three foun­da­tions, and the largest block from the Scaife foun­da­tions. Infil­tra­tion of the Main­line Protes­tant denom­i­na­tions came in the guise of renew­al groups, as described by PRA fel­low Fred­er­ick Clark­son, also fea­tured in the doc­u­men­tary “Renew­al or Ruin.”

    The largest sin­gle block of fund­ing for think tanks pro­mot­ing cli­mate change denial has come from Donors Trust, accord­ing to a 2013 study by Drex­el Uni­ver­si­ty, but a close sec­ond is the Scaife foun­da­tions at over $39 mil­lion dol­lars (well ahead of the fund­ing from the Koch Broth­ers’ foun­da­tions).

    Merg­ing plu­to­crat­ic inter­ests with reli­gion has been key to pro­mot­ing cli­mate change denial, includ­ing in the 2010 DVD series “Resist­ing the Green Drag­on,” a prod­uct of the Corn­wall Alliance. The 12-part teach­ing series, used in church­es nation­wide and fea­tur­ing major Reli­gious Right lead­ers, claims that envi­ron­men­tal­ism is a reli­gion in oppo­si­tion to Chris­tian­i­ty. Fund­ing is hid­den behind Donors Trust, but the Corn­wall Alliance is a project of the James Part­ner­ship, found­ed by E. Calvin Beis­ner, a fel­low with sev­er­al Scaife-fund­ed enti­ties, includ­ing the Atlas Eco­nom­ic Research Insti­tute, Com­mit­tee for a Con­struc­tive Tomor­row, and IRD.

    The irre­li­gious Scaife’s mold­ing of reli­gion into the image of right-wing pol­i­tics was not lim­it­ed to Chris­tian­i­ty. As report­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Post, Scaife pro­vid­ed the seed mon­ey for for­mer Rea­gan State Depart­ment offi­cial Elliot Abrams’ 1997 book “Faith or Fear.” Spon­sor­ship of the book was sug­gest­ed by the pres­i­dent of the Hud­son Insti­tute and report­ed­ly prompt­ed by Scaife’s con­cern that most Amer­i­can Jews remain polit­i­cal­ly lib­er­al.


    The Penn­syl­va­nia Plan

    Part­ner­ship between free mar­ket fun­da­men­tal­ism and reli­gion was extend­ed to the state lev­el through a net­work of Her­itage Foun­da­tion-style think tanks in all 50 states. These are linked through the State Pol­i­cy Net­work and ALEC, but also work at the state lev­el with a net­work of about three dozen state Fam­i­ly Pol­i­cy Coun­cils, loose­ly affil­i­at­ed with the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil and Focus on the Fam­i­ly. This infra­struc­ture is described in The Pub­lic Eye arti­cles from 1999 and 2013, includ­ing cov­er­age of the “Penn­syl­va­nia Plan” mod­el of Don Eber­ly. Eber­ly was founder of both the Com­mon­wealth Foun­da­tion and the Penn­syl­va­nia Fam­i­ly Insti­tute, which work on shared agen­das like school pri­va­ti­za­tion.

    In a 1989 speech to the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, Eber­ly described the need for ini­ti­at­ing both free mar­ket and reli­gious tanks at the state and local lev­els. The Scaife foun­da­tions pro­vide fund­ing for both the Com­mon­wealth Foun­da­tion and the Alleghe­ny Insti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­i­cy, a sim­i­lar think tank for the Pitts­burgh area.


    The Enig­mat­ic Scaife

    The lib­er­tar­i­an Scaife has been por­trayed in obit­u­ar­ies as less zeal­ous in his lat­er years, but the Scaife foun­da­tions’ reports show no back­ing away from right-wing caus­es, and the efforts to rede­fine him in his obit­u­ar­ies fail to negate his role as the “fund­ing father” of mod­ern con­ser­vatism. Quot­ing a a col­umn in the St. Louis Post Dis­patch,

    “With­out those ear­ly Scaife-paid efforts, there might have been no Fox News, no tea par­ty, no Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz. …With­out the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, whose mem­bers include four jus­tices of the Supreme Court, there would be no cor­po­rate per­son­hood deci­sions like Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and Hob­by Lob­by.”

    I would add that with­out Scaife’s fund­ing, we might not now live in a nation where the inter­ests of a few plu­to­crat­ic bil­lion­aires suc­cess­ful­ly mas­quer­ade as reli­gion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 16, 2014, 9:52 am
  21. Cults rejoice! There’s a boom mar­ket com­ing your way:

    Think Progress
    Judge: Hob­by Lob­by Deci­sion Means Polyg­a­mous Sect Mem­ber Can Refuse To Tes­ti­fy In Child Labor Case

    by Ian Mill­his­er
    Post­ed on Sep­tem­ber 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Cit­ing Bur­well v. Hob­by Lob­by, the Supreme Court’s deci­sion last June hold­ing that the reli­gious objec­tions of a busi­ness’ own­ers could trump fed­er­al rules requir­ing that busi­ness to include birth con­trol cov­er­age in its health plan, a fed­er­al judge in Utah held last week that a mem­ber of a polyg­a­mist reli­gious sect could refuse to tes­ti­fy in a fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tion into alleged vio­la­tions of child labor laws because he objects to tes­ti­fy­ing on reli­gious grounds.

    The case involves the Fun­da­men­tal­ist Church of Jesus Christ of Lat­ter-Day Saints (FLDS), a reli­gious sect with as many as 10,000 mem­bers. Although the FLDS church splin­tered from the Church of Jesus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints — the dom­i­na­tion com­mon­ly known as Mor­mons — due to a cen­tu­ry-old dis­pute over polygamy, the FLDS sect resem­bles a cult of per­son­al­i­ty much more than it does any main­stream reli­gion. War­ren Jeffs, FLDS’s leader and “prophet,” is cur­rent­ly in prison after he was con­vict­ed of sex­u­al­ly assault­ing two under­age girls — the youngest of whom was 12 years-old — that he claimed have tak­en as wives. Jeffs taught that African Amer­i­cans are “the peo­ple through which the dev­il has always been able to bring evil unto the earth,” and he preached that mar­ry­ing a per­son of the same sex is “like mur­der.”

    At one point, he report­ed­ly for­bade mar­ried cou­ples in his flock from touch­ing each oth­er, whether sex­u­al­ly or oth­er­wise. Instead, appoint­ed 15 men to father all future FLDS babies. When one of these men impreg­nat­ed a woman, two oth­er men were required to wit­ness the act.


    Yet, accord­ing to an order signed by Judge David Sam, a Rea­gan appointee to a tri­al court in Utah, the fed­er­al offi­cials inves­ti­gat­ing this alleged vio­la­tion of child labor laws will not be able to require an FLDS mem­ber named Ver­non Steed to pro­vide infor­ma­tion that could aid the inves­ti­ga­tion because Steed objects to giv­ing cer­tain tes­ti­mo­ny on reli­gious grounds. Steed claims that he’s made “reli­gious vows ‘not to dis­cuss mat­ters relat­ed to the inter­nal affairs or orga­ni­za­tion of the Fun­da­men­tal­ist Church of Jesus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints.’” Accord­ing to Judge Sam’s opin­ion, that’s enough to exempt him from pro­vid­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny he does not want to give.

    Before Hob­by Lob­by, it’s unlike­ly that Steed’s claim would pre­vail. Although a fed­er­al law offers fair­ly robust pro­tec­tions for reli­gious lib­er­ty, this law only applies when the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment “sub­stan­tial­ly burden[s] a person’s exer­cise of reli­gion.” Hob­by Lob­by, how­ev­er, large­ly wrote the word “sub­stan­tial­ly” out of this law.” The Hob­by Lob­by plain­tiffs, Jus­tice Samuel Ali­to wrote for the Court, “sin­cere­ly believe that pro­vid­ing the insur­ance cov­er­age demand­ed by the HHS reg­u­la­tions lies on the for­bid­den side of the line, and it is not for us to say that their reli­gious beliefs are mis­tak­en or insub­stan­tial.”

    Sim­i­lar­ly, Judge Sam con­cludes based on a sin­gle para­graph of analy­sis that the fed­er­al government’s efforts to obtain Steed’s tes­ti­mo­ny is a “sub­stan­tial” bur­den on his faith. The gov­ern­ment “has placed sub­stan­tial pres­sure on Mr. Steed to engage in con­duct con­trary to his reli­gious belief because [it] seeks to com­pel that con­duct by court order and impo­si­tion of sanc­tions if he refus­es to answer [] ques­tions regard­ing the inter­nal affairs and orga­ni­za­tion of the FLDS Church.” That, accord­ing to Sam, is for­bid­den.

    The Supreme Court’s cas­es pri­or to Hob­by Lob­by often rec­og­nized thatreli­gious lib­er­ty claims should not be used to dis­par­age the rights of anoth­er. Thus, Steed’s claim that he is exempt from tes­ti­fy­ing would have been espe­cial­ly weak under the law as it exist­ed pri­or to Hob­by Lob­by because his fail­ure to tes­ti­fy could endan­ger chil­dren who have a legal right not to be forced into labor. At least accord­ing to Judge Sam, how­ev­er, that equa­tion has now changed.

    In fair­ness, Judge Sam’s rea­son­ing may not pre­vent the gov­ern­ment from seek­ing tes­ti­mo­ny from some­one like Steed if such tes­ti­mo­ny were clear­ly the only way to pur­sue the inves­ti­ga­tion. Rather, Sam claims that the gov­ern­ment “failed to show that forc­ing Mr. Steed to answer the ques­tions offen­sive to his sin­cere­ly held reli­gious beliefs is the least restric­tive means to advance any com­pelling inter­est it may have.” The judge then lists sev­er­al oth­er peo­ple the gov­ern­ment could seek tes­ti­mo­ny from, includ­ing men and women employed by the pecan plan­ta­tion where the chil­dren were alleged­ly sent to work.

    Nev­er­the­less, Sam’s opin­ion puts the cart before the horse. The whole rea­son why fed­er­al offi­cials con­duct inves­ti­ga­tions into sus­pect­ed law­break­ing is that they may not know exact­ly what ille­gal actions tran­spired or who is respon­si­ble for them. Steed could have unique infor­ma­tion that could iden­ti­fy pre­vi­ous­ly unknown FLDS lead­ers who played a role in alleged­ly sell­ing hun­dreds of chil­dren into inden­tured servi­tude. Or he may reveal evi­dence of oth­er ille­gal activ­i­ty that took place with­in a high­ly secre­tive reli­gious sect whose lead­er­ship is known to sex­u­al­ly exploit its mem­bers. If Sam’s opin­ion stands, how­ev­er, this evi­dence will remain hid­den on the the­o­ry that Steed’s reli­gious inter­est in stay­ing silent should trump the nation’s inter­est in ensur­ing that we leave no stone unturned when inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions of mass exploita­tion of chil­dren.

    So as long as it looks like some­one’s tes­ti­mo­ny isn’t the only way to obtain infor­ma­tion, indi­vid­u­als can avoid tes­ti­fy­ing if they claim its against their reli­gion. Huh. Time to start pray­ing if you want to keep your job, kid­do.

    In relat­ed news, a Texas appeals court just ruled that the head of the Church of Sci­en­tol­ogy, David Mis­cav­ige, won’t have to tes­ti­fy in a case about church harass­ment of an ex-Sci­en­tol­o­gist. But it was­n’t Hob­by Lob­by that got him off the hook. It was the “apex-depo­si­tion doc­trine”:

    Sci­en­tol­ogy head can’t be forced to tes­ti­fy, Texas court rules

    By Chuck Lin­dell

    Updat­ed: 2:47 p.m. Thurs­day, July 17, 2014 | Post­ed: 1:47 p.m. Thurs­day, July 17, 2014

    Amer­i­can-States­man Staff

    David Mis­cav­ige, head of the Church of Sci­en­tol­ogy, can­not be forced to tes­ti­fy in a harass­ment law­suit filed by the wife of a promi­nent church crit­ic who lives in Comal Coun­ty, a state appeals court ruled Thurs­day.

    The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that Monique Rath­bun, who alleged that Sci­en­tol­o­gists con­duct­ed a three-year harass­ment cam­paign when her hus­band, Mar­ty Rath­bun, began speak­ing out against church activ­i­ties, did not prove that Mis­cav­ige had “unique or supe­ri­or knowl­edge” to offer in a depo­si­tion.

    How­ev­er, the court did not rule out the pos­si­bil­i­ty that “addi­tion­al, less intru­sive means of dis­cov­ery” could estab­lish Rathbun’s right to force Mis­cav­ige to answer ques­tions, under oath, in a future depo­si­tion.

    Mar­ty Rath­bun is a for­mer high-rank­ing mem­ber who left the Church of Sci­en­tol­ogy in 2004 and lat­er accused Mis­cav­ige of phys­i­cal­ly and psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly abus­ing oth­er church mem­bers, court records show.

    In her law­suit, Monique Rath­bun claims church mem­bers respond­ed by con­duct­ing covert sur­veil­lance of their Bul­verde-area home, fol­low­ing them with cam­eras and hir­ing pri­vate inves­ti­ga­tors to spread dis­parag­ing infor­ma­tion about her hus­band under the guise of inter­view­ing fam­i­ly, friends and co-work­ers.

    Her law­suit argued that Mis­cav­ige, “the unques­tioned ruler of all Sci­en­tol­ogy orga­ni­za­tions,” was the only per­son who could have autho­rized the activ­i­ties.


    In its rul­ing, the 3rd Court of Appeals over­turned state Dis­trict Judge Dib Waldrip’s order allow­ing Monique Rath­bun to depose Mis­cav­ige.

    Waldrip’s order, the appeals court ruled, vio­lat­ed the apex-depo­si­tion doc­trine, which seeks to bal­ance a litigant’s need for infor­ma­tion against a high-rank­ing executive’s right to be pro­tect­ed from expen­sive, harass­ing or bur­den­some depo­si­tions.

    “Monique has not demon­strat­ed that depos­ing Mis­cav­ige is like­ly to lead to (rel­e­vant) infor­ma­tion … which is not obtain­able through less intru­sive means,” said Jus­tice Scott Field, writ­ing for the court’s unan­i­mous three-judge pan­el.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, the “apex-depo­si­tion doc­trine” has rules that sound pret­ty sim­i­lar to the new Hob­by Lob­by rul­ing: Exec­u­tives to can avoid being forced to tes­ti­fy, even if they have per­son­al knowl­edge of the mat­ter at hand, as along as the infor­ma­tion inves­ti­ga­tors are seek­ing can poten­tial­ly be found by depos­ing some­one low­er down in the orga­ni­za­tion:

    Law 360
    A Spe­cial Rule for Cor­po­rate Exec

    New York (Octo­ber 08, 2010, 5:22 PM ET) –

    While the U.S. Supreme Court rec­og­nized more than a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry ago the poten­tial abuse that can occur when the depo­si­tion of a com­pa­ny exec­u­tive is notice, the rules of civ­il pro­ce­dure in state and fed­er­al courts gen­er­al­ly allow a par­ty to depose “any per­son.” See, e.g., Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(a).

    A wit­ness gen­er­al­ly can­not escape a depo­si­tion by claim­ing lack of knowl­edge of rel­e­vant facts because the par­ty seek­ing the depo­si­tion is enti­tled to test that lack of knowl­edge. Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Muller and Richard L. Mar­cus, Fed­er­al Prac­tice and Pro­ce­dure § 2037 (2d ed. 2009).

    Courts bal­ance lib­er­al dis­cov­ery rules and the unique bur­dens placed on high-lev­el offi­cials at the apex of the com­pa­ny whose depo­si­tion is sought. Some courts, using what has been termed the “apex doc­trine,” bal­ance a party’s right to dis­cov­ery and an executive’s right to avoid harass­ment and abuse.

    In gen­er­al, the apex doc­trine pro­hibits the tak­ing of such depo­si­tions of exec­u­tives unless and until: 1) the plain­tiff can show that the depo­nent has unique or supe­ri­or knowl­edge of facts that are rel­e­vant to the claim; and 2) alter­na­tive meth­ods to obtain the infor­ma­tion have been exhaust­ed with­out suc­cess. See, e.g., Baine v. Gen­er­al Motor Corp., 141 F.R.D. 332 (M.D. Ala. 1991).

    Some courts reject the apex rule, but use the tra­di­tion­al rule regard­ing pro­tec­tive orders to reach the same result. See, e.g., Ex. rel. Ford Motor Co. v. Messi­na, 71 S. W. 3d 602 (Mo. 2002).

    The bur­den of proof is not uni­form­ly applied. Some courts place the bur­den of per­sua­sion on the par­ty seek­ing the depo­si­tion. See, e.g., Lib­er­ty Mutu­al Co., v. Supe­ri­or Court, 10 Cal. App. 4th 1282, 13 Cal. Rptr. 2d 363 (1992). Oth­er courts place the bur­den on the par­ty seek­ing to avoid the depo­si­tion. See, Crest Infini­ti v. Swin­ton, 174 P.3d 996 (Okl. 2007).


    So it looks like Hob­by Lob­by may have extend the “apex-depo­si­tion doc­trine” to all mem­bers of secre­tive cults. It’s still time to start pray­ing, kid­do.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 17, 2014, 6:19 pm
  22. Here’s as blast from the past that’s worth not­ing in the con­text of the present day far­ci­cal debate in DC over whether or not the “sup­ply-side” eco­nom­ic the­o­ries ped­dled by the GOP will some­how make the pro­posed tax cuts for the rich pay for them­selves through high­er eco­nom­ic growth: When Ronald Rea­gan, patron saint of the mod­ern con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment, was push­ing for his own round of bud­get-bust­ing tax cuts back in 1981, he specif­i­cal­ly cit­ed 14th cen­tu­ry Islam­ic schol­ar Ibn Khal­dun as an ear­ly advo­cate of sup­ply-side eco­nom­ics:

    The New York Times


    Pub­lished: Octo­ber 2, 1981

    Pres­i­dent Rea­gan, in his news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, cit­ed a 14thcentury Islam­ic schol­ar as an ear­ly expo­nent of the ”sup­ply-side” eco­nom­ic the­o­ry on which his Admin­is­tra­tion bases many of its poli­cies. An author­i­ty on the schol­ar lat­er said that the ref­er­ence seemed accu­rate.

    Sup­ply-side the­o­ry, among oth­er things, holds that a cut in tax rates will stim­u­late the econ­o­my and thus gen­er­ate even greater tax rev­enues.

    Respond­ing to a ques­tion about the effects of tax and spend­ing cuts that began tak­ing effect yes­ter­day, Mr. Rea­gan said the sup­ply-side prin­ci­ple dat­ed at least as far back as Ibn Khal­dun, who is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as the great­est Arab his­to­ri­an to emerge from the high­ly devel­oped Ara­bic cul­ture of the Mid­dle Ages.

    Para­phras­ing the his­to­ri­an, Mr. Rea­gan said Ibn Khal­dun pos­tu­lat­ed that ”in the begin­ning of the dynasty, great tax rev­enues were gained from small assess­ments,” and that ”at the end of the dynasty, small tax rev­enues were gained from large assess­ments.”

    ”And,” said the Pres­i­dent, ”we’re try­ing to get down to the small assess­ments and the great rev­enues.”

    Inter­pre­ta­tion Held Accu­rate

    Franz Rosen­thal, the Ster­ling Pro­fes­sor of Near East­ern Lan­guages at Yale Uni­ver­si­ty, who has trans­lat­ed many of Ibn Khal­dun’s writ­ings and is regard­ed as one of the world’s fore­most Ibn Khal­dun schol­ars, said lat­er that the Pres­i­den­t’s inter­pre­ta­tion of the his­to­ri­an’s ideas on tax­es appeared to be accu­rate.


    Ibn Khal­dun is per­haps best known as the author of ”Kitab al-Ibar,” a four-vol­ume uni­ver­sal his­to­ry, and ”Muqad­dimah,” an intro­duc­tion in which he argues that rise and fall of human soci­eties may be traced to spe­cif­ic, dis­cov­er­able caus­es.


    “REAGAN CITES ISLAMIC SCHOLAR” by ROBERT D. McFAD­DEN; The New York Times; 10/02/1981

    “Respond­ing to a ques­tion about the effects of tax and spend­ing cuts that began tak­ing effect yes­ter­day, Mr. Rea­gan said the sup­ply-side prin­ci­ple dat­ed at least as far back as Ibn Khal­dun, who is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as the great­est Arab his­to­ri­an to emerge from the high­ly devel­oped Ara­bic cul­ture of the Mid­dle Ages.”

    Yep, Saint Ron­nie’s ‘voodoo eco­nom­ics’ was inspired by one of the most promi­nent Mus­lim Schol­ars in his­to­ry. His words!

    And, of course, it’s not just the con­tem­po­rary con­ser­v­a­tive move­ments in the West that have embraced these ideas. The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s eco­nom­ic ortho­doxy is also based on Khal­dun’s writ­ings (which makes sense since the GOP and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood have very sim­i­lar eco­nom­ic ortho­dox­ies):

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood adopt­ing cau­tion on eco­nom­ic mat­ters

    By Stephen Glain
    Jan­u­ary 24, 2012

    CAIRO — A year after the rev­o­lu­tion that top­pled Hos­ni Mubarak, Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, the dom­i­nant par­ty in a new par­lia­ment, has a clear man­date to lead Egypt as it con­fronts its most seri­ous threat: an exhaust­ed, evap­o­rat­ing econ­o­my.

    And so far, the Islamist group appears will­ing to respect a sec­u­lar sta­tus quo, empha­siz­ing accom­mo­da­tion over con­flict, work­ing with inter­na­tion­al bankers to help restore eco­nom­ic growth, and play­ing down more ortho­dox calls for bans on biki­nis and alco­hol.

    “A lot of peo­ple don’t appre­ci­ate how con­ser­v­a­tive the Broth­er­hood is, and by that I mean cau­tious as well as pious,” said a Cairo-based banker who did not want to be quot­ed dis­cussing polit­i­cal issues. “They pre­fer con­cil­i­a­tion over con­fronta­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly now that they’ll be held respon­si­ble for what hap­pens to the econ­o­my.”

    It remains unclear just how much author­i­ty over eco­nom­ic mat­ters the country’s mil­i­tary rulers will per­mit the new par­lia­ment, where near­ly half the seats will be held by the Brotherhood’s Free­dom and Jus­tice Par­ty, the vic­tor in his­toric elec­tions. But the par­ty has moved quick­ly to assert a lead­er­ship role.

    Last week, the par­ty announced that it would not med­dle with the indus­tri­al zones joint­ly man­aged by Egypt and Israel to pro­mote trade between the two peace part­ners. The par­ty has held meet­ings with a del­e­ga­tion from the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund to dis­cuss a $3 bil­lion bailout that was reject­ed last sum­mer by Egypt’s mil­i­tary-led gov­ern­ment. The par­ty also has assured tour oper­a­tors that it would not sup­port leg­is­la­tion that would pro­hib­it women from wear­ing reveal­ing swimwear at beach resorts.

    What appears to be tac­ti­cal restraint, how­ev­er, might be less polit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion on the Brotherhood’s part than a reaf­fir­ma­tion of its mer­can­tilist sen­si­bil­i­ty. Its mem­bers are well rep­re­sent­ed among Egypt’s white-col­lar mid­dle and mer­chant class­es, and many hold senior posi­tions among the country’s pro­fes­sion­al guilds, or syn­di­cates. (By con­trast, the hard-line Islamist Salafists, who won a quar­ter of the par­lia­ment seats as mem­bers of the Nour par­ty, draw their sup­port large­ly from rur­al and low­er-class Egyp­tians.)

    Though admired for its patron­age sys­tems that pro­vide food, edu­ca­tion and health care to Egypt’s poor, the Brotherhood’s eco­nom­ic agen­da is informed by an ancient lais­sez-faire tra­di­tion that has more in com­mon with the val­ues of the Unit­ed States’ tea par­ty than it does with, say, the more heav­i­ly reg­u­lat­ed economies of Europe. In the 1950s, for exam­ple, the group strug­gled against Pres­i­dent Gamal Abdel Nass­er as much for his deci­sion to nation­al­ize the Egypt­ian econ­o­my as for his fierce sec­u­lar­ism.

    Broth­er­hood mem­bers trace their cap­i­tal­ist con­ceit to the birth of Islam and tend to asso­ciate one with the oth­er. “Islam endors­es the mar­ket econ­o­my and free trade,” Abdel Hamid Abuzaid, a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood mem­ber and econ­o­mist at Cairo Uni­ver­si­ty, said in an inter­view before his death last year. “It is part and par­cel of Islam as a com­plete way of life.”

    A mar­ket in cri­sis

    Not for noth­ing, Broth­er­hood mem­bers are fond of remind­ing West­ern­ers, did Ronald Rea­gan sug­gest that the philoso­phies of Ibn Khal­dun, a 14th-cen­tu­ry Islam­ic schol­ar, antic­i­pat­ed the Laf­fer Curve by 600 years. The group has sup­port­ed low­er tax­es and is staunch­ly antitrust, owing to a verse in the Koran: “He who brings com­modi­ties to the mar­ket is good, but he who prac­tices monop­o­lies is evil.”

    Skep­tics of the free mar­ket — Egypt has a broad polit­i­cal spec­trum that includes a small, if plucky, Com­mu­nist Par­ty and a cadre of Trot­skyites — point out that the Brotherhood’s neo-lib­er­al agen­da dif­fers lit­tle from the one pro­mot­ed dur­ing the twi­light of the Mubarak regime. It was pop­u­lar out­rage over the government’s cor­rupt pri­va­ti­za­tion plan and the job loss­es that fol­lowed, they argue, that fueled the revolt against Mubarak in the first place. Small won­der, then, that stump­ing Free­dom and Jus­tice Par­ty can­di­dates spoke vague­ly about eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, lin­ger­ing more over the imper­a­tives of “social jus­tice” and “equi­table dis­tri­b­u­tion of pro­duc­tion” than over the need for fis­cal restraint.



    “Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood adopt­ing cau­tion on eco­nom­ic mat­ters” by Stephen Glain; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 01/24/2012

    Broth­er­hood mem­bers trace their cap­i­tal­ist con­ceit to the birth of Islam and tend to asso­ciate one with the oth­er. “Islam endors­es the mar­ket econ­o­my and free trade,” Abdel Hamid Abuzaid, a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood mem­ber and econ­o­mist at Cairo Uni­ver­si­ty, said in an inter­view before his death last year. “It is part and par­cel of Islam as a com­plete way of life.””

    Sup­ply-side eco­nom­ics is “part and par­cel of Islam as a com­plete way of life,” accord­ing to Mus­lim Broth­er­hood ortho­doxy. Just as it’s part and par­cel of the Amer­i­can way of life accord­ing to the GOP’s ortho­doxy, as Ronald Rea­gan made clear back when he was kick­ing off the US’s decades-long lover affair with right-wing junk eco­nom­ics. It’s two side of the same bank­rupt coin.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 13, 2017, 1:52 pm

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