Guest Post: Pimping The Empire, Progressive-Style

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Supporting the central state to protect your favored cartels is simply pimping for the Empire.

The central illusion of both Left (so-called Progressives) and Right (so-called conservatives) is that the Central State's essentially unlimited powers can be narrowly directed to further their agenda.

(I say "so-called" because the "Progressives" are not actually progressive, and the "Conservatives" are not actually conservative. Those labels are Orwellian double-speak, designed to mask the disastrous consequences of each ideology's actual policies.)

Let's begin by stipulating that ideology, any ideology, is an intellectual and emotional shortcut that offers believers ready-made explanations, goals, narratives and enemies without any difficult, time-consuming analysis, study or skeptical inquiry. This is the ultimate appeal of ideology: accepting the ideology relieves the believer of the burdens of analysis, skeptical inquiry, uncertainty/doubt and responsibility: all the answers, goals and narratives are prepackaged and mashed together for easy consumption.

This is one of the core messages of Erich Fromm's classic exploration of ideology and authoritarianism, Escape from Freedom.

And what is the essential foundation of authoritarianism? A central state. This is not coincidental.

What few grasp is the teleology of the centralized state: by its very nature (i.e. as a consequence of its essentially unlimited powers), the central state is genetically programmed to become an authoritarian state devoted to self-preservation and the extension of its reach and power.

The central illusion of Progressives is that an all-powerful central state will not become a self-serving expansive empire, but will be content to wield its vast powers to protect its favored cartels/monopolies and distribute money skimmed from the citizenry to Progressive constituencies such as public unions, healthcare and education.

This is an absurd fantasy. Once you give a central state essentially unlimited power to stripmine income and wealth from its citizens, create and/or borrow essentially unlimited sums of money, protect private (and politically powerful) cartels from competition and project military, financial and diplomatic power around the globe, the state will pursue Authoritarianism and Empire as a consequence of possessing those powers.

You can't cede unlimited, highly concentrated powers to the central state and then expect the state not to fulfill its teleogical imperative to protect and extend its powers. The state with unlimited powers will be ontologically predisposed to view any citizen that seeks to limit its expansion of power as an enemy to be suppressed, imprisoned or marginalized.

The state with unlimited powers will be ontologically predisposed to protecting its powers by cloaking all the important inner workings of the state behind a veil of secrecy, and pursuing and punishing any whistleblowers who reveal the corrupt, self-serving workings of the state.

The state with unlimited powers will be ontologically predisposed to view any other nation or alliance as a potential threat, and thus the state will pursue any and all means to distrupt or counter those potential threats.

The state with unlimited powers will be ontologically predisposed to create and distribute propaganda to mask its self-serving nature and its perpetual agenda of extending its powers, lest some threat arise that limits those powers.

Democracy and a central state with unlimited powers are teleologically incompatible.

Progressives worship the central state and cede it essentially unlimited powers because they want that state to be powerful enough to impose their agenda on others and reward their constituencies.

But it doesn't work that way. Once you cede unlimited, highly concentrated power to the central state, you get an authoritarian empire that is driven to protect itself from any threat at all costs--including democracy, though the state may maintain a facade of carefully managed "democracy" as part of its propaganda machinery.

You cannot have a state with essentially unlimited power and not end up with cartel-capitalism. So-called Progressives defend their favored cartel-fiefdoms of healthcare and education (and the "conservative" banking and defense cartels, too, to insure banks fund their campaigns and to protect their political flank with a "strong on defense" carte blanche to the National Security cartels), yet these cartels are busy bankrupting the nation and destroying the very programs Progressives claim to hold dear.

You can't have it both ways, Progressives: if you support a central state with essentially unlimited power to protect and fund your constituent cartels, you end up with self-liquidating cartel-capitalism, a state bent on protecting itself from the uncertainties/risks of democracy and a global Empire that is teleologically driven to expand its reach and power by any and all means available.

Once you choose to cede essentially unlimited powers to the central state, all decisions after that are made in service of the state. The idea that the state can be limited to helping the needy is illusory.

The only legitimate duties of the state are limited: 1) protect the commons from destruction and exploitation; 2) protect the citizenry from exploitation or oppression by those with superior power or resources; 3) maintain transparency in all governance and 4) maintain a system of sound money.

The so-called Progressives will learn what the teleology of the state means in the real world when the state comes after them. Once you cede unlimited power to the central state, any attempt to limit that power marks you as an enemy.

War at Home: Covert action against U.S. activists.

Supporting the central state to protect your favored cartels and protect your political power over the state's tax revenues is simply pimping for the Empire. You can call it "progressive," but it's still pimping for the Empire.

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malikai's picture

They shouldn't be called Progressives or Conservatives.

They should be called Oppressors.

NotApplicable's picture

You're getting closer, CHS!

Now, you just need to take the final step and realize that a "limited government" is every bit as impossible to achieve as the centralized state incoherence you've properly labeled above.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

I feel like Uncle Sam is a pedophile.  SHHHHH, Don't tell your mommy and daddy, its our little secret.  As long as you keep our little secret, I won't hurt you or your loved ones.

Ying-Yang's picture

Chas.... one of your better rants!

I Hate... the Central State.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Only talent of political class is channel dark side of Force. Naked power organ.

SafelyGraze's picture

the story is often told about the sharp dialog between winston churchill and lady astor

lady astor: you are a statist goat-man and I should like very much to have your head mounted on my wall

churchill: guess what, pretty pigeon -- your name is now on a rendition list and after tomorrow you'll beg to be breitbarted

those witty 733tz!

TheReplacement's picture

Reality says that no government is impossible as well so what are you going to do, kill everyone and live alone?

Grown ups realize that life is hard and you have to make choices.  Choose no government and someone will force one upon you.  Choose limited government and it is up to you to force it to be limited.  There is no sitting it out.  You are either part of the system or oppressed by it. 

putaipan's picture

you think that's bad ... wait till the 'neoconservatives' and the 'neoliberals' get a hold on the state. oh, wait.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Only reprieve from oppressive political class is when neo-lib and neo-con is exchange diseased bodily fluid in boudoir of congress.

TeamDepends's picture

Sounds like the rant that got Judge Napolitano fired from FOX.

Grande Tetons's picture

Maybe Mr. Banzai can create a piece with Obama in a pimp's Caddy. Maybe have Barry wearing one of those caps with a long feather. 

Have Yellen as the whore. 

Please Mr. Banzai! 

CharlieMike's picture

Mr. Yellen should be the pimp and Obama the hooker.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

If lack of testicle is only qualification, Barry is suitable for hooker. Oh, and comfortable wear of woman denim.

Jonas Parker's picture

And this isn't a "democracy", it's a "republic"! Big difference!

kralizec's picture

Correction - Used to be a Republic...what we have is too much democracy!!!

TeamDepends's picture

And when you're done with that, watch this:

Think of it this way:  Republic is the beautiful woman who is probably too good for this world, while democracy is the nasty skank you avoid at all costs.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

"Is republic ma'am if you are keep it" - Benjamin Franklin

MickV's picture

If there is no "RIGHT TO VOTE" then the US is CERTAINLY NOT a "Democracy". The founders knew that 75% of the citzens were idiots. They never wanted everyone to vote. "Democracy" is tyranny of the majority, and if the majority of voters ar idiots, well...

moneybots's picture

"Used to be a Republic...what we have is too much democracy!!!"


"...and to protect democracy around the world."


When was the last time the word republic was used in a military recruiting ad?

Ignatius's picture

I'm not an ideologue, but central tenets of libertarianism speak directly to the problems of overly centralized power.  The founding documents of the Constitution show a shrewd understanding of human nature.  We will regret having lost the lesson.

moneybots's picture

"You can't have it both ways, Progressives"


Conservatives can't have it both ways, either.  Small government and big military industrial empire, don't go together.

MisterMousePotato's picture

Conservatives don't believe in a big military industrial empire. Not true conservatives, anyway. Now ... Republicans? RINOs? 'Nother matter. Don't let the left (or the GOP-e) define "conservative" for you.

disabledvet's picture

it's not the "Central State" but the "Central Enemy" or "Central Fear" that is crucial. In this apparently "the entire world." Ridiculous...that's why the more the clowns who go out of their to broadcast the "I hate too!" Games simply aren't gonna make it. the fell in love with their "Third Reich" and have never let go.

lostintheflood's picture

avoid all isms...and those that practice them...

TrumpXVI's picture

People need to grasp the understanding that utopianism is always totalitarian in its basic nature.  The Nazi state was utopian; and just about as close to pure criminality and evil as it's possible to get.  

Temporalist's picture's for the chillens!

Orwell was right's picture

Great basic idea for an article....but the article only addresses one-half of the problems.  Despite a title that that proclaims that BOTH Conservatives and Progressives are wrong....most of the article only hi-lites "progressive" issues.    

Moneybots mentioned one glaring omission...(HUGE military industiral complex)...but  there are many others.

ConfederateH's picture

This related article really illustrates how these progressive scum think:

Jack Burton's picture

I'm short of time and must run for work, but I read the first third and must comment. Yes, for once someone is right on the money about the so called left and so called right. I need comment no further, just read what he says a few times over in the first part, read it! I puke at conservative ideology in America, I puke at the fake liberals and their hidden agendas. Fuck American political ideology, it's fake and a cover for the police state and corporate take over of the entire political system. All these people who scream socialism on ZH, what the fuck! Obama's record is one of empire, corporate power and control and a full frontal attack on the 99%. Even under Obama, the Unions are being crushed. So how is Obama socialist? Look at Boeing, the union just took up the management postion and rammed it down memberships throat in what may be vote fraud in the contract election. Corporate profits sky high. Where is the socialism. Obama care is a give away to corporate Health Insurers. And don't get me going on American conservatives, War mongers, Police state lovers, sell outs to crony capitalism. The US politicial system is a one party fake democracy. Give up your Republican party, they are fakes, give up anyone calling themselves a deomocrat, fucking fakes!


95% of all productivity gain wealth creation has gone to under 1% of the people since 2008. Yet people come on here and scream Socialism. Like, how do you defend that in light of reality. Read up on socialism in America's past history, calling Obama socialist is surely a great joke!

Ignatius's picture

Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?


alangreedspank's picture

Obama is indeed a left leaning doofus. But as with most left leaning doofuses, they'll partake in fascism ("right wing" socialism, if you will) if it personally profits them. He wants his profits while berating others for wanting theirs. Nothing out of line with modern "liberalism".

falconflight's picture

Fascism isn't anymore "right wing" than Communism.  That's a Leftist construct nurtured for more than a generation in academia, Hollywood, and the scum of the Democratic Party.  Just as much an artificial construct as John F. Kennedy and "Camelot," and FDR saved America from the Depression, or Hillary Clinton is the smart woman in the world.  Horse shit!

alangreedspank's picture

Economically speaking, it is. Not trying to make the "right wing" sound bad or anything, but at least in fascism you still get remnants of classical liberalism (some form of capitalism, private property, etc.) which in mainstream terms is closer to the "right" than the "left". I know labels suck, but just denying their existence to ignore some noticeable differences between ideologies is not very useful.

malek's picture

You answered your question yourself without realizing it.

So how is Obama socialist?

He is completely socialist inside the 99% group: Bleeding the middle class dry to provide panem et circenses for a little longer to the lower class.


falconflight's picture

Call it Facsism; the melding of corporatisim and the central government.  You only have to look at the players within the Affordable Care Act to define Facsism.  Obama and the DemPervs want to take it further down the continum of corporate gov't partnership to outright ownership by the People.  I think You might consider rereading about socialism, which obviously didn't start w/ Papa Doc Barack's administration, but he's managed more fundamental transformation than I thought possible. 

proLiberty's picture

We have the opportunity through the Convention or Amendment process to peacefully redefine the federal, self-serving, Leviathan State to put it back in chains. It has grown so large and and found ways to fund its own operations via fiat money that it doesn't have to ask the taxpayer for permission to do anything anymore.

When we set to repair and redefine Federal Government 2.0, above all we must understand that infinite money enables infinite government. We must restrict the ability of any future government to create money out of thin air so to fund all manner of tyranny, madness, welfare and warfare. Every tyranny grow out of infinite money.

Vidar's picture

Sorry, but there is no "reforming" the Federal government. It has to go. The US has to be broken up into at least 20 different "nations", preferably more. This will give those who want to live free the ability to vote with their feet and move to a nation with the least amount of statism, and then reduce that amount of statism even further, until one of these "nations" has no state at all. Once this is achieved the economic/technological progress and increased standard of living that develops in this anarcho-capitalist area will make it obvious to everyone that the state is the enemy of mankind.

This is the ideal scenario. More likely, the breakup will be much more bloody and a complete collapse will return most of North America to "third-world" conditions, and the future stateless society will have to emerge elsewhere.

ebworthen's picture

Excellent thoughts as always CHS.

The real loss, progressive/conservative/etc., is when you cede self-determination to the state.

MrBoompi's picture

We are always going to have a government, even if this one is overthrown.  So if you believe this to be true, why not have a government that, while we understand it must necessarily protect itself, also protects the well being of it's citizens, even the poor?  Why do the wealthy deserve the lion's share of the spoils of capitalism?  Just because they can own and game the system?

BigJim's picture

 Why do the wealthy deserve the lion's share of the spoils of capitalism?  Just because they can own and game the system?

Why do they 'deserve' it? Well... some do... and some don't.

Some people work harder and smarter than others, producing things that other people need and are willing to exchange value for in a competitive and voluntary market. These producers have been declared by everyone who bought their products as deserving whatever profit they have made.

Then there are people who have acquired their wealth through government patronage or from inheriting a dynastic 'rentier' position. These people do not 'deserve' to be wealthy... but are the ones who are wealthy through the mechanism of the State protecting their privileges. I doubt anyone but themselves or their immediate beneficiaries consider them to be 'deserving' of their wealth.

A. Magnus's picture

The only people who actually NEED government are IN it. Government is the dominant form of organized crime for a given populations and geographical location. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anyone who rationalizes a need for government is either incapable of taking care of themselves and wants a mandatory Nanny state, or they want to kill you and take all your stuff. There IS no other rationalization for it...

akak's picture

"Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure."


Why is "choice" only good in cases of abortion and/or gun ownership?

I demand choice in EVERYTHING!
Institutionalized coercion is no logical, ethical or practical basis for structuring human society.

malek's picture

Spot on, Charles!

falconflight's picture

Senator and President Obama, along w/ Senator Chucky Smucky Schumer received more goldman sacs contributions than any other politician during the past 10 years.  Banking and the GOP is not a union.  Go read up at the FEC.  Schumer has rec'd close to 20 million from Wall Street, all the while publicly whipping those nasty banksters.