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Freedom vs. Fear: Truthdig Podcast With Robert Higgs

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Posted on Jul 20, 2007
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In case you missed it, this week’s original podcast features Robert Higgs, author of “Neither Liberty nor Safety.” He speaks with Truthdig’s James Harris and Joshua Scheer about how political opportunists and fear mongerers are gobbling up our individual liberties.

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By Douglas Chalmers, July 27, 2007 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

Martial Law Threat is Real: “The looming collapse of the US military in Iraq, of which a number of generals and former generals, including former Chief of Staff Colin Powell, have warned, is happening none too soon, as it my be the best hope for preventing military rule here at home.

From the looks of things, the Bush/Cheney regime has been working assiduously to pave the way for a declaration of military rule, such that at this point it really lacks only the pretext to trigger a suspension of Constitutional government .....which declares there to be a developing ³insurgency² within the U.S, and which lays out a whole martial law counterinsurgency campaign against legal dissent, and you have all the ingredients for a military takeover of the United States….”
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/07/27/2813/

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By RAE, July 26, 2007 at 11:30 am Link to this comment

Freedom is NOT FOUND on THIS side of FEAR.

FREEDOM is what you find when you work through and eliminate your FEARS.

You do NOT “work through and eliminate” fears by building walls, security systems, alertsystems or hiring more “agents” to monitor and spy on the population. That ESCALATES the fear. That ENSURES the steady hum of an elevated baseline of apprehension and distrust.

Until you “work through and ELIMINATE” your fears you will NEVER FIND FREEDOM. Guaranteed.

Have fun.

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By penny pooh, July 24, 2007 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey, I’ve been dressing in accordance with this. It’s kind of screwing up my closet scheme, though. I’m kind of running out of clothes in the spectrum between yellow and red.

How long is Chertoff’s gassy spastic colon thing going to be an issue?

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By discog, July 22, 2007 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As George Orwell told us, LIES OF OMISSION ARE THE WORST.

So how come virtually all of those people who ‘oppose’ the fake/fraudulent/bogus “War On Terror(ism)” [sic] OMIT ALL MENTION OF BUSH’S VOLUNTARY, REPEATED, INCRIMINATING 9/11 WITNESS STATEMENTS, same as all the other fake-opposition Democrats and elements of the corrupt media?

Pulled punches are the surest sign of fake opposition…  Ignoring treason is itself treason…

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By GW=MCHammered, July 22, 2007 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BushCo says, “America’s Never Been Better!”

The economy is hot! (same temp as the USD presses)
Jobs are plentiful! (overseas where we shipped ‘em)
Productivity is way up! (but vacations are way down)
Customer Service is tops! (when flipped upside down)
Wages have never been higher! (talking about Congress)
In education, No Child has been Left Behind! (they <u>all</u> have)
Housing prices doubled since Y2k! (too bad wages didn’t too)
Gasoline is half the price it was in Y2k! (just over $1 then)
Everyone that wants a job, has a job! (what if I want a career?)
Unemployment is at an all time low! (not counting these, them and those)
Democracy has birthed in the Middle East! (where we’re welcomed as liberators)
Most everybody is covered by healthcare! (if you’re 1 in 10 working for government)
Stock markets have never been higher! (‘cause consumers have never paid so much for most everything)
Homeland Security says we’re safer than 9/11! (and if we believe that, they’ve got a wide-open border to sell us.. oh yeah, they already did!)

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By Hammo, July 22, 2007 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

For many of our current challenges as a nation, as citizens and as human beings, it often seems to come down to psychology ... how we perceive things and how we interpret situations.

This seems true for individuals, groups and entire nations and cultures.

Human psychology, and the various elements of it, appears to be key to what kind of country the United States will become.

Ideas on this explored in the article ...

“Being open to perception can be troubling, enlightening” (American Chronicle, July 16, 2007)

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=32379

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By cann4ing, July 21, 2007 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Neal, thanks for the kind words.  This is a weird post.  If you click on “listen now” you are redirected to a separate set of “comments.”  You might want to read the colloquy between myself and Mark Davis.  I would be interested in your thoughts on the subject.

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By Neal MacDonald, July 21, 2007 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here here Mr Canning, well said. You’ve save me some typing.
I got the feeling that Mr. Higgs has just developed an elaborate structure rationalizing his distaste for paying his taxes.

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By cann4ing, July 20, 2007 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

In George Orwell’s “1984” the English language was reconstructed into Newspeak “not only to provide a medium of expression for world-view and mental habits of [the Party], but to make other modes of thought impossible.”

Except with respect to the question of official complicity, Higgs’s analysis of the misuse of fear is spot on.  The most salient example of Orwellian Newspeak entails the phrase “war on terror.”  Within one day George W. told the nation that 9/11 was not merely an act of terrorism, but an act of “war.”  On 9/27/01 Rumsfeld published an op ed in the NY Times telling us that this would be a war like no other and we shouldn’t even think of an “exit strategy.”

While a nation whose psyche was badly damaged with each successive, televised replay of the collapse of the twin towers blindly accepted this initial assertion.  As a practical matter, the phrase “war on terror” borders on an meaningless oxymoron.  As noted by Gen. Wm. Odom, “Terrorism is not an enemy.  It cannot be defeated.  It’s a tactic.  It’s about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect that we are going to win that war.”  As a propaganda device, “war on terror” provides an especially powerful piece of Orwellian Newspeak.  As noted by Antonia Juhasz, the phrase envisions a perpetual war with a “phantom menace” involving “shadowy networks of individuals;” a threat that must be met “anywhere at any time, or everywhere all the time.”  The phrase has been used as cover for an effort to fundamentally alter constitutional democracy in to a dictatorial “Unitary Executive.” 

Higgs’ libertarian/anarchistic views and his critique of socialism is, frankly, idiotic.  One of the core purposes of government, embodied in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution—to promote the general welfare.  Government is as good or as bad as the people who run it.  Examples of the positive uses of government include the creation of the NLRB to secure the right of collective bargaining against the excesses of corporate power, laws protecting the environment, health, child labor, ending Jim Crowe segregation, universal free education—currently all under constant assault by the Bushies.  The effort to point to the failures of the Soviet system ignore that the USSR’s economic disaster was brought on, in part, by its participation in empire and an economically depleting arms race.  There is no correlation between a corrupt police state like the USSR and democratic socialism. 

Mr. Higgs choses to ignore the success of, for example, socialized (or at least single-payer) medicine in every other industrialized nation but ours.  Who else to protect the uninsured if not the government?  If Higgs’s home caught fire, he would be the first to expect government (fire dept.) to show up to put it out.

The gap between Higgs’s laissez faire myth and reality is as stark as the growing gap between the present wealthiest one percent and everyone else where, by 1999, the net worth of just three individuals, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Warren Buffet, was larger than the gross domestic product of the world’s 41 poorest nations and their 550 million people.  In today’s upside-down America, ostensibly “public” institutions have been increasingly perverted into tools of wealth disparity—a problem Higgs doesn’t so much as acknowledge, let alone offer solutions.

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