Guest Post: The Transition To A Free Society

Tyler Durden's picture

The next in a continuing series (most recently: Democracy and Its Contradictions).

Submitted by Free Radical

The Transition to a Free Society

The monster states created by modernity are not necessary for economic or political freedom or for the flourishing of culture; taking their history as a whole, they are responsible for spectacular losses of both. – Donald Livingston, “Dismantling Leviathan”i

The first, most fundamental, and most necessary step in the transition to a free society is the demise of the modern “monster state.” And the first, most fundamental, and most necessary step in this process is the demise of the monstrous American state, its erstwhile role as a beacon to the world having long ago given way to a superpower that brings not light but heat, pulling a shroud over its own people in the process.  The monster will object that it only wants to keep its people warm and safe, of course, but as people elsewhere start kicking their shrouds off, it is increasingly clear that the status – as in statist – quo is changing and that neither suffocating domestic policies nor incendiary foreign ones will be tolerated much longer.

It is increasingly clear, moreover, that the American welfare-warfare state is on its last legs and that its use of the present crisis to extend its reach both at home and abroad is an act of desperation, its towering inferno of debt being inextinguishable for the simple reason that desperation is what fuels it.  The United States Government isn’t fighting fire with fire, in other words; the American Empire is setting the world aflame with domestic overindulgence and foreign overextension, the difference being that it won’t merely become the latest victim of “imperial overstretch”; instead, it will become the last victim, its collapse igniting a worldwide devolution of power the likes of which the world has never known.  For while it might be assumed that Russia or China will rush in to fill the resulting power vacuum, it is far more likely that the collapse of the American Empire will precipitate a worldwide devolution revolution that no state – least of all the “monster states” – will be able to withstand, as emboldened bodies politic and sympathetic international spectators frustrate central government efforts to suppress secessionist uprisings.

Granted, what is going on in Egypt and elsewhere has nothing to do with secession, as it involves regime change, not regime collapse.  And granted, the temperament of the American people remains such that secession is something that was attempted in the past but for which the subject is now all but closed.  However, as their central government moves ever closer to defaulting on its welfare obligations – both selectively (through raising the retirement age, means testing, and the like) and monetarily (through debasing the currency) – it will become clear to the American people that far from securing the blessings of liberty, what has instead been secured – for themselves and their posterity – is the curse of tyranny, the only alternative to which is a return to the principle upon which their nation was founded.

No matter that their central government no longer recognizes this principle, the fact is that is no law against – i.e., no Constitutional prohibition of – secession.  On the contrary,

The procedure for joining the Union also applied to withdrawing from the Union.  And the Tenth Amendment, which reserved to the states powers not delegated to the federal government, would seem to put the matter of secession with the states and the people.ii

So, too, would the fact that the delegations of three states, in ratifying the Constitution, specifically reserved not only each state’s right to withdraw from the Union but the people’s right to do so. For example,

The People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whosoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression …

Clearly, then, not only the state of Virginia but any number of it or any other state’s citizens can legally secede from the Union. But as the United States Supreme Court, however groundlessly, would no doubt rule against them were they to attempt to do so, let us dispense with the U.S. Government’s law altogether and appeal instead to the fact that one has no obligation to obey an immoral law but, on the contrary, a duty to break it. And let us imagine that the lawbreaking manifests itself in the form of a nonviolent protest, such that an initial fraction puts the “injury and oppression” of the American state to the test by standing up in defense of the right of self-determination and declaring its freedom accordingly. Moreover, let us do so by recalling the spectacle of a lone man confronting the armored emblem of the state in the capital city of a communist dictatorship. Glued to its television sets, the world watched in horror and fascination as the brave young man stood his ground while the mechanized monster tried in vain to outmaneuver him, the question being why it tried to outmaneuver him at all. That is, why didn’t the monster simply stay its course, the better for its monstrous master to leave no question as to who controlled whom?

The answer, of course, is that the whole world was watching. And given that the Chinese government remains humiliated to this day by this otherwise minor (if tremendously heroic) incident, one can only imagine the condemnation that the U.S. Government would suffer if faced with something similar. Imagine the spectacle, say, of a few thousand secessionists gathered in the same nonviolent civil disobedience that Gandhi, following Thoreau, used to liquefy the British Empire, to say nothing of the  media onslaught that brought down the monstrous Mubarak regime in a matter of days. That is, imagine U.S. Government troops rolling in and dragging off American citizens, each clutching a copy of the Declaration of Independence, with cable news, Google, Facebook, and Twitter providing real-time worldwide coverage. Can one possibly believe that in light of such a blatant act of hypocrisy the American state could weather the resultant loss of whatever moral authority it still pretended to have? From his command post in the bowels of the White House, what would the president say to the nation and the world? What could he say? “We have no choice but to use military force against this unwarranted attack on America”? “We must once again preserve the Union at the expense of the principle upon which it was founded”? “If we in Washington allow these people the right of self-determination, we will soon find ourselves unemployed and having to survive, like you, on the economic means”?

The answer, of course is no, the American state could not weather such hypocrisy, to which we must add that the U.S. has a long history of secessionist movements, not to mention that one of the 20th century’s most prominent American diplomats decried the nation’s excessive size and the attendant loss of intimacy between the people and their government, stating flatly that the United States had long ago become ungovernable democratically and proposing that it be broken up into nine regional and three urban republics.iii Which is to say that both American history and the stark reality of the modern monster state speak to what must be done before the United States Government wreaks more havoc than either its own people of those of the rest of the world can withstand.

And while the aftermath of the U.S. Government’s collapse will obviously be a tumultuous time, comfort can be taken in the fact that what began as a loose federation of independent states can return to that independence with much less socioeconomic turmoil than that which followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. For the American states – though victimized themselves by needless government intervention and fiscal irresponsibility – are nonetheless far more able to govern than their Soviet counterparts were. Thus, as order returns within and among the states, the devolution of power will be able to continue such that, in Tennyson’s words, Freedom slowly broadens down / From precedent to precedent, and genuinely free societies begin at long last to emerge.

So to that emergence we turn in my next submission: “The Governance of a Free Society.”

i Harper’s magazine, May, 2002.
ii Charles Adams, When In the Course of Human Events, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, Chapter 12, “The Trial of the Century that Never Was,” p. 181.
iii George F. Kennan, Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy, W.W. Norton and Company, 1993, Chapter 7.

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NOTW777's picture

"cable news, Google, Facebook, and Twitter providing real-time worldwide coverage."

LOL they wont cover it. remember how they ignored the tea party protests and then later slandered them as racists.  the MSM is state tv

floydian slip's picture


the news on CNNBCBS is politically correct washed and spun fluff that adhears to the corporate sponsors and sheep mentality. 


NOTW777's picture

the world is burning down and our media is painting the government story about "recovery"

they compare and equate people in tunisia and egypt fighting bullets and tanks with fat union thugs rioting for more taxpayer funds from the public trough.  even though obama fiddles as rome burns and worries about gay marriage, a gay military, another motown WH party, the media is silent

penisouraus erecti's picture

I feel bad for this guy, but after raise, increased state and federal taxes (in f'ng Illinois) my paycheck will be LESS than it was. Reality sucks, don't it.

Guy Fawkes Mulder's picture
the news on CNNBCBS is politically correct washed and spun fluff that adhears to the corporate sponsors and sheep mentality.
floydian slip's picture


its the capchas!  hahahaha

Guy Fawkes Mulder's picture

Be sure to read past the headline.

floydian slip's picture

when i looked at your link and saw cnbc, i had no interest at all

cool quote from Reggie




jeff montanye's picture

i would think that in a survey of media posing as news but in reality being propaganda, fox would at least rate a mention.  the use of a year old tape as current to slander ron paul sets a new standard imo.

crazyjsmith's picture

So, we are being kept afloat by way of a technicality?

That is exactly what I suspected.... fundamentals are like the underwriting guidelines of yester year.  Just a nuisance and deserve to die.

Long live the almighty algorithm, maybe one day it will replace my heart rithm.    

Bob Sponge's picture

That was my thought also. I doubt the MSM will cover it. Isn't it amazing that the USA is being destroyed by people who have more wealth than most can even comprehend, only because they want MORE. I don't know how they can live with themselves. I guess some people really have no conscience and can do anything without guilt. Fucking pathetic.

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Sociopaths... Psycopaths... Here is a definition of most of our 'leaders'.  They have risen to the positions of power in American society (and probably in most other societies, since human nature is a constant). If the current leaders are replaced will the individuals that replace them be meaningfully different? Not unless those that replace them are subjected to the strict supervision that was provided in the US Constitution. Once the Constitution had been 'reinterpreted' into a meaningless pile of drivel no checks on power remained.

From Wiki...

"There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring for as long as either childhood, or in the case of many who are influenced by environmental factors, around age 15, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another"

Bob's picture

Take a look at the movie The Corporation:

It's also widely available on DVD.

Azannoth's picture

Al Jazeera and Russia Today are the real deal forget the Corporate media

Huck T's picture

This is full of the "obvious" and the "clear" - and yet the gist seems to be we need to go back to the 18th century, which is impossible.  That world is gone.  To think we can go back is simply naive.   

Men have to be made to feel safe in order that they might behave rationally.  If they cannot feel secure that their the fruits of their labor will be safely harvested, they will plant no trees.

This was the point of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, the foundation of all western social contract philosophy. 

We need a new term for the Armchair insurrectionaries, something that captures the type the way "parlor socialist" did a hundred years ago.  Any takers?


New_Meat's picture

"Limosine Liberal" came immediately to mind.

"... we need to go back to the 18th century, which is impossible.  That world is gone. "

Yep, and folks who haven't been in the desert for more than a month have no idea how dependant society and social fabric are on basic services that are taken for granted (how many gallons of Clorox do you have on hand to disinfect water?)  Let alone <long list follows>

Leviathan times?  I fear so.

- Ned

topcallingtroll's picture

Armchair anarchist

Parlour Patriot

Coffee shop combatant

Internet insurrectionist

YHC-FTSE's picture

I quite like Bollinger Bolshevik

AZSovreign's picture

At least some of us are trying to stop it, and fix the problem... Or at the very least circumvent it..

Things that go bump's picture

Are you one of those who believes in safe?  There is no safe.  Its a state that can't be achieved in life.  You could die tomorrow of a brain hemorrhage straining on the toilet.  If someone promises you safety you can be sure they are selling snake oil. What are you willing to pay for something that can't be delivered?  

SWRichmond's picture

+1.  Fear is the prime motivator in the lives of most people.

CH1's picture

Hobbes!?? Hobbes was full of shit.

He was a traumatized guy who come up with a justification for coercive rule, just when the divine right of kings was failing.

If you want to read political philosophy, read Locke.

New_Meat's picture

"He was a traumatized guy who come up with a justification for coercive rule,..."

I caught his warning about coercive rule.  Like today's crowd, where "the end justifies the means."

And Locke (+ Mill) for rationale on how it should be and limits where it should not go?  I'm with you on that.

- Ned

CH1's picture

Agreeing on Locke is a good thing. :)

Best regards.

Huck T's picture

Have you actually read Hobbes?  Or, for that matter, Locke?  Not the bumperstickers they gave you in freshman western civ, but the actual books they wrote?

I'm not advocating either as a governmental model, just suggesting that Hobbes might have had an idea about the basic reason for, and purpose of, government: to maintain order so that men can behave ni a rational manner, with an eye towards the longview.   

And as far as governmental models are concerned, try reading the constitution Locke drew up for the Carolina colony.  Look at what he did when he actually had a chance to arrange a polity.  Here's the bumpersticker: aristocracy, slavery, and disposession.  Think about it.  Then get back to us about the glories of John Locke.   


SWRichmond's picture

...the basic reason for, and purpose of, government: to maintain order so that men can behave ni a rational manner, with an eye towards the longview.  

It is entirely rational for men to cooperate non-violently.  Everyone benefits.  It's obvious.  Pointing guns at people does not make them rational.  Quite the opposite.

penisouraus erecti's picture

"That is, imagine U.S. Government troops rolling in and dragging off American citizens, each clutching a copy of the Declaration of Independence, with cable news, Google, Facebook, and Twitter providing real-time worldwide coverage. Can one possibly believe that in light of such a blatant act of hypocrisy the American state could weather the resultant loss of whatever moral authority it still pretended to have?"


No, they couldn't, but the sheeple will never see it, or at least not fully. The whole sham of a free press is getting a little bit old given the way we get fed what "they" want us to hear and see, and how any outlet that doesn't tow the line is demonized, marginalized, ostracized, politicized, polarized, and overly scrutinized. Sorry for the Rev. Jackson moment there.....

NOTW777's picture

LOL you are either with the state "media" or you are not

BKbroiler's picture

it's not that simple.   NYT and PBS lean left, WSJ and Fox lean right, MW leans bullish, and ZH leans bearish.   Add InfoWars for a dash of crazy, and you can assemble something resembling the truth, but it takes absorbing all of it to make sense of any of it.  When it comes to local traffic reports, Fox is right on.

Real Estate Geek's picture

and tits.  Fox is good for tits.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

What could possibly be wrong with that? Megan Kelly is hot and smart. You should check her out.

Or stay with the others and get b-cups and total bullshit.


born2bmild's picture

NYT leaning left? I never thought of Friedman's golden straightjacket of globalization as a left concept nor was the drumbeat for war in Iraq. PBS used to do a better job of pretending to be left before Hurwitz (The Gap and Maxxam) steamrolled the path for corporate sponsorship of broadcasts. I've heard NPR outright lie about events I was on stage for (Vets for Peace, from that vantage point you can get a pretty good crowd size estimate) All of those corportate outlets give you hamster wheel to nowhere of Dems vs. Repubs. If all goes well you are looking at (ZH) an example of what media of the future can be.

Stateless society isn't a left or right concept by definition near as I can tell. Where do I sign up?

Joseph Jones's picture

We saw Bob Dylan and His Band in Montana last year.  John Mellenkamp opened.  When John mentioned "freedom" in one of his stupid songs, the young crowd standing near the stage yelled and applauded...yes, land of the free, etc.  "Naive", and "crock of you-know-what" doesn't begin to describe their response.   

DeltaDawn's picture

Freedom at that age = freedom to get chemically altered, not clean your dwelling, eat what you want and hook up as often as possible. Bad hair and sloppy clothes as well.

Things that go bump's picture

Ahh, those were the days, my friend.

I Got Worms's picture

I disagree. I think the alternative media and liberty minded folks with camera phones, flip cameras, etc. are doing a pretty good job of getting footage and ideas out in front of the cattle, slowly but surely.  I am a recovering neo-con FoxNews-aholic that unlocked my mind when I gave alternative media a chance, and I share my findings with everyone I can. All we can do is plant idea-seeds and hope more and more of us have awakenings.

CH1's picture

We need to build parallel info streams and parallel lives. The mainstream is rotten and poisonous.

That also means that we have to NOT take the easy path.

taxpayer102's picture

The U.S. government aware of alternative media's influence is concerned how best to use it. According to the Broadcast Board of Governors which now oversees all U.S. civilian international broadcasting (VOA, Radio Free Asia, etc.)

"The role New Media is playing in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere is up for debate. What's certain, however, is that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media tools have changed the way people communicate. Today's global media environment is a revolution in progress. How is the U.S. taking advantage of the potential unleashed by the digital revolution and what else must it do? Join a discussion with experts and practitioners led by Walter Isaacson, BBG Chairman and former president of CNN."

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Baloney... The Kent State Massacre happened! To say that some similar event could not happen again is to be in denial. There were no tanks at Kent State but there were lots of National Guardsmen with weapons and live ammo... and, they did not avoid confrontation with deadly force as the tank in China did.

"The Kent State shootings—also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre[2][3][4]—occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.[5]

Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance"

DavidPierre's picture

" of the 20th century’s most prominent American diplomats..."

That would be George Frost Kennan 


 The U.S. State Department produces Policy Planning Study #23. George Kennan, the State Department's Director of Policy Planning writes,

We have fifty percent of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation, our real job in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which permit us to maintain this position of disparity.

To do so, we have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming.

We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards and democratization.

The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.


Although he didn't have his Edward Bernays mind control theories down pat, old George knew whereof he spoke.

He had been the agent who went into Russia on behalf of the Rockefellers to help instigate, finance and control the communist revolution so the Rockefellers could get their bloodsoaked hands on Russia's oil and mineral wealth.

  In pre-Revolutionary Russia, every single square inch of land, every particle of mineral wealth and every drop of oil is the personal property of the Romanov family and, of course, that is the way it had been ordained by our good friend, the Lord God Almighty... according to the Romanovs.

The Rockefellers, being one step above God, don't accept this arbitrary distribution of wealth by a divine being and are having wet dreams about getting their hands on all that lovely Russian oil.

 Congressional testimony will later reveal that the Rockefellers sent large sums of money to Lenin and Trotsky in an attempt to topple the Czar by instigating and controlling the first Communist Revolution in 1905.

Rockefeller banker, Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb, sends a personal emissary, George Kennan, to Russia where he spends some twenty years promoting revolution.

Funding for the Bolshevik Revolution is also provided by the Warburg banks, the Morgan family's Guaranty Trust and the Harrimans.

Funny old world, isn't it?


Pants McPants's picture

Verrrry interesting.  Do you have a source for further reading?  I am also intrigued by the Red Cross' involvement in fomenting Russian revolution(s).

duo's picture

It's a long read, 800 pages maybe, but very good:  Orlando Figes' "A people's tragedy".  Russia had several chances to avoid Bolshivism, but luck and foreigh influence got in the way.

I Got Worms's picture

I believe "The Creature From Jeckyl Island" discusses the Red Cross' role. And if I'm mistaken, still a damn good book anyway!

KevinB's picture

Rockefeller banker, Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb, sends a personal emissary, George Kennan, to Russia where he spends some twenty years promoting revolution.

This makes for amusing reading, but it's complete crap. Kennan was born in 1904. At the time of the Russian Revolution, he was 13. Four years later, when Lenin's takeover was almost complete, he was a 17-year old freshman at Princeton. Four years after that, when the NEP was in flower, Lenin dead and Stalin taking over, he was a 21-year old graduate. He entered the fledgling foreign service, but his first overseas postings were in Switzerland and Germany. He was eventually posted to Russia, but in 1931, just in time for the Soviet famines, and he stayed through the 30's, observing first hand Stalin's vicious purges.

Nice piece of fiction you wrote, though. Do you have a romantic novel coming out soon?

DavidPierre's picture


Go to the head off the class for catching that. 

  When wading in the cesspool of much of official history it is hard not to come out with some shit stuck to your boots.

You'll be amazed how often the same family names keep popping up.

Or maybe not.

George Kennan (February 16, 1845 – 1924) was an explorer noted for his travels and writings on the Russian Empire.  He was a cousin of diplomat and historian George F. Kennan with whom he shared his birthday.

I shouldDa... couldDa... done the math.

Maxima Mia Culpa!