The history of the anti-government and anti-democratic politics that have transformed the U.S. in recent years is largely obscured from view. The radical right’s agenda includes suppression of voting rights, privatization of everything from schools to Medicare to Social Security to public lands, elimination of unions and limiting majority rule. Core beliefs also include: there is no problem tax cuts won’t solve and that the best kind of regulation is no regulation. Let the industry decide. And the intellectual godfather of this extreme right-wing thinking? Someone you’ve probably never heard of. James McGill Buchanan, a Nobel Prize-winning economist. And the money to promote his ideas comes mostly from billionaire Charles Koch. These ideological positions have moved from beyond the fringe to where they are openly discussed and legislation is proposed. If these forces get their way democracy will be in chains.
Nancy MacLean is the award-winning author of Behind the Mask of Chivalry, a New York Times “noteworthy” book of the year, Freedom is Not Enough and Democracy in Chains. She is the Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University.
(Photo: Nancy MacLean – Courtesy of Alternative Radio)
The post-WW1 Weimar Republic in Germany was the height of European civilization. Its scientists and scholars led the world. Its Bauhaus architecture was the rage. Its arts featured such luminaries as Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill, and Thomas Mann. Yet, out of this modern democracy sprang Nazism, German fascism, and one of the most barbaric regimes ever. How did Hitler happen? It is one of the most important questions in history. What happened in Germany has disturbing resonances for our own time. Fascist-like regimes are taking power in many countries. We ignore disturbing signs at our peril from torchlight parades in Charlottesville with crowds chanting, “Jews Will Not Replace Us” to a synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh to the murder of African-Americans in a church in Charleston. What can we learn from the past to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
Benjamin Hett is the author of Burning the Reichstag, Crossing Hitler and The Death of Democracy. He is a professor of history at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and holds a Ph.D. in history from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Toronto. He grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, and now lives in New York City.
(Photo via Alternative Radio)
Ralph Nader points out the term climate change is a vast understatement and does not convey the gravity of what we are facing. He says, climate disruption is more accurate. Study after study, report after report make it clear that human activity is transforming our planet. With heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods, melting ice sheets and rising sea levels, millions of people will be at risk. But the fossil-fuel industry with its insatiable hunger for profits continues its assault on the Earth. It has an ally in the president who claims to “have a natural instinct for science,” and asserts: “Any and all weather events are used by global warming hoaxsters to justify higher taxes.” Note that he asked for and obtained approval to build two sea barriers to protect his golf resort in Ireland from rising water.
Dahr Jamail is an award-winning independent journalist who went to Iraq to report on the war and occupation. He is the author of Beyond the Green Zone, The Will to Resist and The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. His articles appear in Truthout.
(Photo via Alternative Radio)
Surveillance Capitalism is a global architecture of behavior modification which poses profound threats to society. It was invented at Google, duplicated at Facebook, and has moved almost seamlessly into virtually every economic sector. Vast wealth is accumulated in an ominous new economic order where predictions of our behavior are bought and sold. Surveillance Capitalism has ominous consequences for democracy and humanity in the 21st century. It is based on extreme inequalities of knowledge and power. It claims human experience as a free source of raw material and challenges our autonomy and social solidarity. Our minds are being mined and harvested for data and are being fundamentally changed in the process. Surveillance Capitalism is a business model that Shoshana Zuboff says seeks growth by cataloguing our “every move, emotion, utterance and desire.”
Shoshana Zuboff is professor emerita at the Harvard Business School. She is the author of In the Age of the Smart Machine and The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.
(Photo: Shoshana Zuboff – via Alternative Radio)