Democracy: A Revisionist View
Ronald Conway, AO
"Democracy never lasts long. It wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide." It is strange to note that this comment was made by John Adams, second President of the United States and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence. His colleagues James Madison and Alexander Hamilton held similar views; there were few professed democrats in the first US Congress.
In the absence of belief in a supreme deity or a royal authority sometimes transcending mere human aspiration, 'democracy' has become the global god-term of the past half-century. It is now invoked impartially to scold or inspire by every cub journalist, radio hack or hectic undergraduate who has little understanding of its tendentious complexity. After the totalitarian rigours of the Second World War, democracy (or more accurately, representative majority government) quickly assumed the status of a religion under the United Nations Charter. Yet, across twenty-one centuries, Plato would have agreed with John Adams' Enlightenment opinion. He would have added as a concession that democracy might possibly have substance when most citizens are sufficiently virtuous and well-informed to make it work.
True democracy has never existed in the world, not even in Periclean Athens, where a small privileged citizenry boasted an enlightened equality while supported by a slave class of several thousands. On a planet with large national states and mass populations, it is difficult enough to maintain even a satisfactory representative majority government. Even in a small suburban committee, the inflexible zealot, the resourceful opportunist and the passive collaborator are never really equal in judgment or influence. The fundamental flaw in democracy lies in the eighteenth-century notion of the natural (as distinct from spiritual) equality of persons — a dogma that science does not confirm and the founder of Christianity never taught. One may become equal under law and in opportunity for endeavour, but nature decrees that it is human variety that has the last word — a fact which the totalitarians of right and left have always striven to ignore.
With few exceptions such as Iceland or the Swiss Confederation, true representative government as we know it is little more than two centuries old. Today, several world bodies such as the US Congress nod to the Franco-American model of government originally inspired by British philosophers like Locke, who were still canny enough not to advocate the abandonment of aristocracy and another royal decapitation in its service. As Iris Murdoch observed, social scepticism is what preserved British constitutional monarchy, parliamentary forms and class lines for so long. Tony Blair notwithstanding, it comes from a healthy awareness of the shortcomings of a whole politicised view of human relationships.
Fundamental to the modern vision of democracy has been the notion of human equality, a corruption made principally by the simplification of Jean Jacques Rousseau in The Social Contract, by inverting the much older Christian concept that all souls are equal in the sight of God. It is important to note the twist given to this by Thomas Jefferson, as author of the American Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident" — that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
This preamble, though it be noble fantasy at most, is recited every Fourth of July by patriotic Americans. The sheer tenacity of belief in it, rather than fact, has sustained a form of representative government for over two centuries. Yet even Jefferson himself had belated cause to "tremble" over a franchise that did not extend to slaves, nor for that matter in any original sense to women or those without property. As for "the pursuit of happiness", this is an obsessive, unattainable subjectivity that balances Western individualism uneasily against a social contract.
The first American colonies celebrated freedom by substituting elected bourgeois assemblies for an hereditary monarchy and vested former aristocratic powers in an elected senate and president. It was really to take the Civil War of 1861-65 to consolidate the present style of American representative government. This embraced an extraordinary tension between an almost excessively detailed civil liberties and forms of corporate economic despotism which, to this day, actually works against equality in terms of social potency. Wealth as much as worth determines who shall fill key political posts in what has become an alternative elected oligarchy.
The so-called American Revolution of 1776 was a comparatively conventional conflict when compared with the violent French Revolution which shortly followed it. As Luigi Barzini pointed out in his essay 'The Quarrelsome French' in The Europeans, French cultural splendour and French politics have mostly been things apart. Following the perfidious links forged by France against Christians with Islam in the sixteenth century up to the modern exhaustion of the Third Republic under Daladier which made matters so easy for the Nazi invaders, the French have had a notion of themselves as the 'middle kingdom' of Europe. This has helped them to ignore the fact that the Revolution of 1q789-95 produced falsehoods and atrocities barely less infamous than those of Hitler.
The massacre of the royalist seigneurs and paysans of Vendée and the western provinces in the service of the Tricolor could easily match the Nazi destruction of Warsaw. Not even children —indeed mere infants — were spared. As Carrier, Commissioner of the Revolutionary Convention announced: "We would rather make France into a burial ground than renounce ruling it in the way we think best." Not long before, Marat had assured the Assembly (from whence we were to derive the term 'Right' and 'Left'): "The State will not be improved until 800 trees in the Tuileries Garden have been formed into gallows."
Thanks to the pre-revolutionary venom of the pamphleteers, it took until recently for the last French Bourbons to be partly rehabilitated from the caricature of being heartless, incompetent oppressors of the masses. Meanwhile, the imposing tomb of Napoleon in the Invalides celebrates not only several civil reforms, but ephemeral military conquest which led to the death or misery of several millions. The armed Bonapartist solution to the chaos of the Convention and the intrigues of the Directory ultimately produced larger liberties than the ancien régime and more useful gestures towards legal equality. Yet, as Isaiah Berlin has pointed out, there was precious little 'fraternity' or decency involved. France has since thrown up three monarchies and five republics to produce a workable version of representative government under a powerful presidency. Those who still romanticise popular uprising might read Simon Schama's recent brilliant anatomy of the French Revolution, Citizens.
This brings us to the politics of what is regarded as democracy in our time. The truth about the 'free world', by contrast to authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, is hat it consists of representative government elected by all responsible adult citizens at intervals varying between three and ten years. 'The people' do not rule; their elected representatives actually do so, and with widely varying degrees of potency, efficiency, honesty or corruptibility. Elected rulers also owe all manner of costly debts to those party machines and organisations that helped to commend them to the people. Hence, ordinary people have no guarantee whatever that those parliamentary representatives to whom they have limited direct access will (or even could) reflect their current needs and desires.
In every government that styles itself a democracy, representatives are divided between the quadruple demands of self-interest, the interests of a party, the interests of the nation as a whole, and, not least if they hold a cabinet post, the interests of the permanent state bureaucracy of which they are temporarily in charge. In a modern state with huge electorates, a political leader is responsible to vastly more than his or her own constituents. Moreover, the bureaucracies to whom he or she dictates policy (and which deeply influences him or her in return) tend to be individually responsible in theory, but collectively to no one. Voters have virtually no day-to-day influence over the conduct of the state.
In Australia, the press and audiovisual media continually keep alive the notion of 'democracy' as a kind of civil theology by platitude, by a confused assumption between what it currently is and what it ideally might be. Some years ago it was seriously suggested in the Bulletin that the mediocre manoeuvres of party rule should be replaced by a parliament of distinguished Australians from all walks of life. Surely a parliament composed of such luminaries as Gustav Nossal, Malcolm Fraser, Kerry Packer, Kieren Perkins or Bob Ellis, Phillip Adams or John Laws would be an improvement? Alas, such an assembly would create problems in even reaching agreement about where to locate the parliamentary toilets. Legislation can only be wrought effectively by a sufficient number of parliamentarians of like mind.
The Australian political scene increasingly reflects public disillusionment with the major parties. Dissenters appear to believe that electing independent candidates or folk from minor parties will somehow send a stern message to machine politicians. Few local voters know or remember that the increasing chaos of independent constituencies in France destroyed the Fourth Republic and ushered in a far more restrictive constitution under Charles de Gaulle. As for Italy, shifting balance of (splinter) power still bear more resemblance to a comic opera by Rossini than an effective democratic process.
The Greiner coalition government in New South Wales was put out of office due to scruples held by a couple of power-balance-holding independent members which should not have normally given distress to a maiden aunt. In Queensland and Victoria the same outlook has often paved the way to a near minority government, barely educated for its task. Independent seat-holders are also more likely to ride local hobbyhorses than to have broad national concerns, thus keeping some governments in office that might be better in opposition.
Australian politics point to the inherent quandaries of government in which 'one-person-one-vote' in unequally settled territories repeatedly creates dilemmas about who should rule. Half of the voting population is not so much disenfranchised by this phenomenon as disempowered. This was never more farcically illustrated than by knife-edge Bush-Gore contest for the US presidency.
Finally, there are those populist hymns to 'democracy' (usually coupled with republicanism) which exploit Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address. This has long been available to every modern phony who wants to ride on the coat-tails of that great leader's wartime panegyric. In both world wars we were urged to fight "to male the world safe for democracy'. Thanks to the priggeries of Woodrow Wilson and the vindictiveness of Clemenceau and 'the Balkanisers', the Versailles and Trianon treaties virtually ensured that quite functional imperial confederations such as Austria-Hungary were broken up and spurious and unstable nation-states like 'Yugoslavia' and 'Czechoslovakia' put in their place.
Victory in the Second World War was hailed as proof of the inherent virtues of democracy. In truth, the Allies triumphed over the Axis powers by a sheer weight of industrial production and massive use of manpower. Meanwhile, a valid parallel between the horrors of Nazism and the cold malevolence of our wartime ally, Joseph Stalin, makes the case for democratic sanctity hard to sustain. War inevitably makes for more dangerous political sophistry than any other human folly. Its most toxic weapon is the half-truth, never more problematic than in the phantom pursuit pf terrorists themselves claiming divine sanction.
Subsequent to all notions of democratic rule, even in our own century-old federal constitution, comes the final consideration of the role of organised pressure groups and the propaganda through advertising on radio, television, newspapers, magazines and the advocacy of half-educated pop stars from music and film. In Australia, pockets of the mass media lately constituted a more bitter political opposition to the Howard government than did the Labor Opposition.
When Lincoln faced Stephen Douglas in Springfield, Illinois, during the US presidential election campaign of 1860, the debate lasted four hours! Spectators were quite well-informed on the issues and participated with gusto. Today the electorate functions largely on sound bites, clichés, promises and anxiety-evoking warnings. Politicians have always resorted to similar devices, but only over the past two generations have professional opinion-makers so dominated access to millions of minds by means of technology. Here appeals to self-interest and scare-mongering have become overwhelming tactics in dealing with the electorate.
At least half of all voters have far less interest in who governs them than in their favoured football team. Their defiant ignorance of the national welfare borders sometimes upon the psychopathic. Which comes back to Plato's warning that universal suffrage depends for its success upon the intelligent attentiveness and virtue of those who enjoy it. In Australia, compulsory voting makes the problem even more troubling by ensuring that both the conscientious citizen and the apathetic voter are forced to the polls regardless of personal fitness or concern.
Readers may be tempted to dismiss such reflections as a reactionary tirade against popular government. On the contrary, they are intended more as a warning to the constituency where glib politico-economic declarations have supplanted religious faith or codes of higher ethics, where citizens are subjected daily to aggressive minority groups who confuse traditional authority with power (and empowerment), and where civic responsibilities are consistently undermined in the face of shrill demands for rights. Like many Western populations that have developed an acceptable model of political representation, Australians have become indifferent about the failings of a public process which features forms of lying, self-fabrication and destructive envy, all sheltering under the abstract facade of Karl Popper's 'open society' — an entity more the product of postwar wish-fulfillment than reality.
Thanks to fables churned out by Hollywood and the enfeebled historical literacy of students, representative majority rule has been hailed as the only thinkable form of government for civilised people. While I for one would prefer such as model to remain among us, authoritarian interludes can have temporary advantages in time of incompetence or chaos.
One need only cite the case of Africa, where almost the only states promising long-term stability, Egypt and South Africa, are those who have outgrown the tribal despotisms of the pre-colonial era. It is clear that superimposed European nation-state models have not taken effective hold in that unhappy continent. Those who piously lament the passing of the tribes due to alleged and actual injustices of the former colonial powers conveniently overlook the prior incidence of indigenous cannibalism, rule by witchcraft, the murder of relatives and rivals and the selling of people as slaves by their tribal rulers. One should recall also the ceaseless petty tribal annihilations which, though small by Western standards, kept much of black Africa economically backward. One does not have to endorse white adventurers like Cecil Rhodes to note that life in tribal African societies was no demi-paradise.
There is also no particular equation between the richness of a national culture and its form of government. Some of the greatest of the fine arts were produced for princely or noble patrons. The French Second Empire, late Tsarist Russia and Hapsburg Austria patronised some of the finest and most creative minds in Europe. This is a phenomenon not often seen under idealised tyrannies such as those of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Marxist China — or for that matter, under several Western representative governments where crude entrepreneurial ambition rather than agreed excellence often perverts the role of the artistic patron.
Trash as much as treasure can now be the concern of market dominated states where populist addictions prove more profitable than any quest for beauty and truth. Indeed. wherever 'elitism' is heard as an intellectual swearword one can be fairly sure that the debasement or confusion of public taste follows close behind. With or without the internet, mass culture, with its inevitable 'dumbing-down ', is barely culture at all, but mere 'infotainment'.
Not the least of the structures of the modern state (or perhaps a cabal of what were once autonomous states) is the permanent administrative bureaucracy. This is invariably presided over by experts who tend to become more expert as technical information proliferates and whose motivation for saying yea or nay to the fluctuation membership of a party government becomes increasingly impenetrable. Despite the strident demands of the mass
media 'to know', such expert bureaucrats still practise daily 'closures' over what society may enjoy, produce or even be permitted to comprehend.
Thus, the question of who shall be allowed access t certain potent drugs and under what circumstances becomes a matter for 'closed' expert decision and not for citizens to vote about. Given the complexities of pharmacology, there is justification for this caveat. On the other hand, a free vote in most Western nations on the question of whether capital punishment shall be permitted in certain cases of cruel, premeditated torture or murder would be in the affirmative. Yet, the privileged entities of the bureaucracy and their supposedly expert advisers, lawyers and criminologists, recite the familiar mantra of 'no deterrent'. This is about a broad statistical average having no valid bearing on specific case A as against specific case B. On this issue there is no chance that citizens will be consulted anyway. Against such 'closures' it matters little whether we are dealing with an authoritarian government in Paraguay or a representative one in Australia; the issue is likely to be determined by aminority contemptuous of an open society where factional manoeuvres regularly mock the very idea of democracy.
As Jacques Barzun, the great French-American historian and critic, now aged in his nineties, has tellingly noted, contemporary societies like ours have largely by passed democracy, even if it were actually attainable. In an age where the brilliance of modern technology arguably masks the crumbling of Western high culture, it is mere antic passing fashions and facades and socially condoned tackiness which take the place of serious citizenship. This marks the age of the demotic. Let Barzun in his recent book From Dawn to Decadence elaborate something of the demotic style as it has functioned since about 1980:
the overriding taste is for the unconditional life ... but the unconditional is something different from enjoying rights and decent treatment from one's fellows. It is to act as if nothing stood in the way of every wish. Such an attitude expects no rebuffs and overlooks those it provokes. When the longing for then limitless arises in a sophisticated mind it may be called Faustian ... but in the ordinary soul the urge is for (ceaseless) small satisfactions ... The demotic style is The Unfitting ...Clothing is only the more obvious sign of the demotic style. Other choices express the same taste, for example getting married underground in a subway station, or around a pool in swimming suits ... And since unfitness means freedom, other conventions should be defied, notably those classed as manners ... Business firms and airlines thank their customers effusively, but civility between persons is scant, especially in cities ... It would seem that emancipation is attainable from everything except one's peers.
How applicable to Australians today this sounds! Those who read Barzun thoughtfully will perhaps recognise a society composed of too many emotional and cultural naifs. Consider the two 'walks' for Aboriginal Reconciliation in late 1999 across Sydney Harbour Bridge and in the streets of Melbourne. Hailed as an endorsement by the people of almost anything which might improve black and white relationships, there was no evidence that for most of the half-aware walkers there was much else on their mind but a fuzzy togetherness and a well-intentioned but poorly comprehended gesture of goodwill on a sunny day.
The exercise of the political franchise properly requires sufficient reflection on public issues and upon the credibility of the evidence underpinning one's choice. Representative government is not forimpulsive children or dishevelled autists, but for those adults who accept its conventions and limitations and try to guard them against arrogance and trespass.
If we could possibly agree to moderate so much cant about 'democracy' for the noble abstraction it has always been, it might be possible to search for the missing element in today's increasingly contaminated political culture — authority. The distinction between authority and power seems to have been lost, and I rarely encounter a tertiary undergraduate who seems to appreciate its importance. Power does indeed grow out of the barrel of a gun, as Mao once claimed, but authority derives from charisma, the symbolic, the transcendent. We can mourn for those who perish for the ends of power but rightly erect monuments for those who make sacrifices for an authority which calls humankind to its better nature.
Religion, for all its own periodic excesses, used to fulfil that function in the West but, alas, rarely does today. Sir Robert Filmer, the little-known contemporary of John Locke, reasoned three centuries ago that authority, not commonality, is what binds a community and must exist alongside it if people are not to decline into a capricious rabble. Well-established and respected authority extends to a whole people despite pockets of resistance, whereas elective majority rule without authority is merely that.
Until an acceptable authority is found and sufficiently honoured to extend its influence over the governors no less than the governed, social crisis — inherent in majority rule and hardly helped by the bogus rhetoric of populism — will grow. Ultimately any crisis of government derives from a crisis of culture as a whole.
We may be compelled at the threshold of another millennium to acknowledge that w e are not likely to meet every social and environmental desire based upon mere demotic appetites — even by means of bureaucracies and the spending of unlimited public money. A society which tolerates no limitations and accepts no personal consequences becomes ultimately ungovernable. This is warning for Australia, where half of the electorate cannot see the incompatibility of fostering a self-justifying individualism and populist fraternity at the same time. Here, equality is too often confused with uniformity and what is thought to be 'exciting' or innovative is too often revered above traditional human ideals such as love, honour and fidelity.
The discipline of larger political parties at least ensures that there is always a hegemonic group which effectively holds the rudder of state. The alternative to this is not the cosy, comradely little agora of the ancient Athenians but streets filled with thousands shouting in favour of contradictory wishes and guided by neither agreed ethics nor law. The dream of true democracy has been so often the mother of discontent. It looks to the state or the corporation to maintain an ethical stability which can only be based upon mutual respect in families and between individuals. The paradox is that the most effective statesman is he (or she) who rejects all politics as an enduring solution in human affairs.
A practical view of democracy in action
"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . .I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." —Ariel Sharon
Anti-Israel Voices To Be Muted In New Congress
By Sharon Samber
1 October 2002
WASHINGTON (JTA) —It's anyone's guess which party will hold the majority in Congress come November, but one thing is for sure: Several leading anti-Israel voices no longer will be heard in the Capitol's halls.
That's because a number of representatives whom Jewish activists have deemed anything from "not a friend of Israel" to "anti-Israel" are not returning to their jobs.
Some lost primaries and some are aiming at higher office, but the departure of these lawmakers — together with the expected victory this fall of dozens of strong supporters of Israel — signals the advent of a particularly pro- Israel Congress for the next two years.
"Support for Israel among candidates running for Congress has never been higher," said an American Israel Public Affairs Committee official who follows elections closely. ``That's a reflection of the strong support Israel enjoys throughout the country now."
Among those who will not serve in the next House of Representatives are:
* Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.), a former key House committee chairman and vocal opponent of U.S. aid to Israel;
* Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives;
* Rep. James Traficant Jr. (D-Ohio), who riled the Jewish community with his support of accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk;
* Earl Hilliard (D-Ala.) and Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), two African American legislators whose defeat was aided by funds from the Jewish community;
* Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), who also opposed aid to Israel; and
* Rep. John Sununu (R-N.H.), who is considered by some to be soft on terrorism.
Hilliard and McKinney lost their primaries in high-profile races in which Jews rallied to support their opponents.
Jews from around the country opened their wallets for Artur Davis, who defeated Hilliard in the June Democratic primary runoff for Alabama's 7th district. Activists considered Hilliard's voting record in Congress anti-Israel, including a pro-Israel resolution in May.
McKinney's vote against a pro-Israel resolution in May added to a record of remarks over the years that Jewish activists considered insensitive, even at times outrageous.
Jews rallied behind McKinney's opponent, Denise Majette, and helped score a major upset in August.
Hilliard's and McKinney's opponents both made pro-Israel statements during their campaigns.
The Hilliard and McKinney losses sent tremors through the Congressional Black Caucus and raised tensions between Jewish and black representatives.
Some political observers wonder if there might be a backlash against Israel as emotions among black lawmakers remain raw. Others say there will be no long-term impact on black-Jewish relations.
Morris Amitay, a pro-Israel activist and former executive director of AIPAC, believes the pro-Israel community will benefit not just from the outcome of those two races but from changing attitudes in the Congressional Black Caucus. "I think we'll see more positive records on Israel from CBC members,'' he said. Jewish groups also are unlikely to mourn the loss of Traficant.
Traficant was expelled from the House in July after a colorful, 18-year tenure that included a tempestuous relationship with Jewish constituents and organizations.
For years, Traficant voted against aid to Israel -- because of his opposition to foreign aid in general -- in addition to his support of Demjanjuk, who is currently appealing a court order that would deport him from the United States In recent years, his voting record on Israel had become somewhat more supportive, but Traficant still managed to get himself in trouble with the Jewish community.
Just after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he suggested that U.S. support for Israel had provoked the attacks, outraging Jewish groups.
Traficant also ruffled feathers in the Jewish community for his criticism of Israeli actions toward the Palestinians.
Sununu is leaving the House, but he will cross to the other side of the Capitol if he beats New Hampshire Gov. Jean Shaheen in the state's senatorial race. Sununu, who is of Palestinian and Lebanese background, has come under fire for supporting U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority, though he also has voted for U.S. aid to Israel and has returned campaign contributions from Arab leaders who backed Hamas.
Some Jewish support already has gone Shaheen's way, but it remains to be seen if Jews will seek to galvanize the same support to stop Sununu that they used to defeat Hilliard and McKinney.
Another sayonara goes to Callahan, who is retiring at the end of the year. As chair of the House Appropriations Committee's powerful Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Callahan was a perpetual thorn in the side of Jewish activists as he tried to block aid to Israel during his six-year tenure.
In 2000, Callahan led a charge for punitive measures against Israel unless it cancelled a weapons deal with China. He also consistently argued against early disbursal of U.S. assistance, which he believed gave Israel preferential treatment.
Bonior, who gave up his seat to run for governor, was a leading voice opposing support for Israel throughout his career. Bonior's Detroit-area district included a large number of Arab Americans. He lost in the gubenatorial primary to state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm.
Another legislator the Jewish community won't miss is Barr. Barr, who lost his primary last month to Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.), regularly voted against aid to Israel. He was one of only 58 representatives who voted against an amendment that included funding to implement the 1998 Wye River accord.
Christians Should Reassess Support for Israel Zionism, Anti Semitism and American Democracy
By Henry Makow, PhD, 24 September 2002
[Henry Makow is the inventor of the board game Scruples and the author of A Long Way to go for a Date. His articles are archived at his web site www.savethemales.ca He welcomes your comments at email@example.com]
Christians who believe Israel represents an outpost of Western Civilization might benefit from a book entitled Jewish History, Jewish Religion (1994) by Israel Shahak, a Professor Emeritus at Hebrew University.
Shahak escaped from a Nazi concentration camp and later served in the Israeli army. He is an organic chemist who combines a research scientist's objectivity with a humanist's commitment to universal ideals.
It appears that Judaism made a mistake when it rejected Christ's gospel of Love. As a consequence, Judaism may have become a primitive and possibly dangerous anachronism in the 21st Century. According to Shahak, Judaism is a xenophobic totalitarian belief system that has morphed into a fanatical Zionist ideology that now threatens the whole world. I must admit that, even as an assimilated Jew, reading this book was like taking cod liver oil, not pleasant.
1) The Talmud, which consists of rabbinical interpretations of the law, treats Christ and Christians with contempt. Unlike the Koran, which regards Christ as a great prophet, the Talmud contains "very offensive precepts and statements directed specifically against Christianity. For example, in addition to a series of scurrilous sexual allegations against Jesus, the Talmud states that his punishment in hell is to be immersed in boiling excrement. . . Jews are instructed to burn, publicly if possible, any copy of the New Testament that comes into their hands." (p. 21)
2) The Talmud treats non-Jews as sub human and directs Jews to discriminate against them. For example, the concept of adultery "does not apply to intercourse between a Jewish man and a gentile woman; rather, the Talmud equates such intercourse to the sin of bestiality." (87) Robbery (with violence) is strictly forbidden if the victim is Jewish, but is permitted if the victim is Gentile, "when they are under our rule." "The whole [rabbinical] debate is concerned only with the relative powers of Jews and gentiles rather than with universal considerations of justice and humanity, " Shahak writes. "This may be why so few rabbis have protested over the robbery of Palestinian property in Israel." (90)
3) Shahak disputes whether Judaism is in fact monotheistic: "In many if not most of the books of the Old Testament, the existence and powers of 'other Gods' are clearly acknowledged, but Yahweh (Jehovah) is the most powerful of his rivals, and forbids his people to worship them." The decay of monotheism came about through the spread of Jewish mysticism (the cabbala), which is now dominant and includes many prayers and actions designed to propitiate Satan. (32-33)
4) The Old Testament does not have the same place in Judaism as the New Testament has for Christianity. Most biblical verses are reinterpreted by the Talmud in a sense that is distinct and quite contrary to their literal meaning. For example, the famous verse 'thy shall love thy fellow as thyself' (Leviticus 19:18) is understood as an injunction to love one's fellow Jew not any fellow man. (37)
According to Shahak, classical Judaism is not so much a religion as a tyrannical system of social control administered by rabbis. Ordinary Jews were forced to obey a labyrinth of capricious laws on pain of fines, beatings or even murder, administered by the non-Jewish aristocracy that would get a share of the fines.
Aristocrats and the Jewish elite had other common interests. Throughout the middle ages, Jews served as middlemen, or bailiffs administering the oppression of the peasants by Gentile kings and nobles. Often the king would give Jews the concession to manage his holdings. Without condoning pogroms or the holocaust, this and the above-mentioned teachings are probably the real causes of anti Semitism.
The tyranny of aristocrats and rabbis was broken by the Enlightenment, which gave rise to the nation state, the middle class, democracy and the rule of reason. Jews and non-Jews alike were liberated. The New World Order represents a kind of neo feudalism, an attempt to restore the old order. Aristocrats and their moneylenders, organized in secret societies like the Freemasons (who believe in the cabbala) make up the Illuminati. It also includes dynastic families, which control large cartels in partnership with the moneylenders. For more than a hundred years, these people have worked behind the scenes to destroy the four pillars of Western Civilization: The nation-state, Christianity, democracy and the family.
Communist Russia and Israel are both Illuminati states, created to foster oligarchic world government. Israel is intended to be the seat of world government/religion. The Star of David is also a Masonic symbol.
In Communism, the sons of rabbis built a new worldly religion that mirrored the fanaticism and oppression of classical Judaism. After visiting Bolshevik Russia in 1920, Bertrand Russell wrote to Lady Ottoline Morrell: "Bolshevism is a closed tyrannical bureaucracy, with a spy system more elaborate and terrible than the Tsar's, and an aristocracy as insolent and unfeeling, composed of Americanised Jews. No vestige of liberty remains, in thought or speech or action." (The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, paperback ed. 354)
Since World War One, the United States and England have been controlled by this IIluminati conspiracy. New York bankers financed the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) and transferred Trotsky and 270 Jewish revolutionaries to Russia to carry it out. (See Antony Sutton's Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution,"
http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/bolshevik_revolution/). They had England conquer Palestine for the Zionists at the same time.
As a result, here is the current state of American democracy:
Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle says Congress doesn't want to "rubber stamp" Bush's invasion of Iraq but "doesn't want to be uncooperative either." Senator Robert Byrd, made of sterner stuff, says his belief in the American Constitution will prevent him from voting for Bush's war resolution. "But I am finding that the Constitution is irrelevant to people in this administration." (Charleston Gazette, Sept. 21.)
Perhaps Senator Daschle is afraid of AIPAC, the powerful Zionist lobby that recently defeated Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. In his 1985 book, "They Dare to Speak Out" Paul Findley, an Illinois Congressman who was defeated by AIPAC after serving 22 years writes: "It is no overstatement to say that AIPAC has effectively gained control of Capitol Hill's action on Middle East policy.... AIPAC means powerraw intimidating power."(25)
George W. Bush, a member of an illuminati family, as well as a creature of big oil, needs little incentive to do Israel's bidding. Nevertheless, Lyndon Larouche has amassed evidence of a cadre of Zionist agents at the highest levels of the US government who control policy much like Communist agents controlled FDR:
See also Michael Hoffman The Wolf of the Whitehouse: http://www.hoffman-info.com/inferno.html
This Zionist network, which includes Richard Perle and David Wolfowitz, pressed Bill Clinton to invade Iraq in 1998. When he resisted, they may have paralysed his administration with the Lewinsky scandal. Similarly, Sherman Skolnick believes the Mossad is blackmailing Bush with pictures of a homosexual nature.
In his 1995 book, The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad's Secret Agenda, Victor Ostrovsky asked his superiors why they were trying to instigate a war between the US and Iraq. The reply was that Israel does not have the manpower and aircraft carriers to do the job. As you know, five young Mossad agents were arrested doing high-fives September 11 in a parking lot across the river from the WTC where they were "documenting" the "terrorist" attack with video cameras.
In a speech at Harvard last week, the president Lawrence Summer, a Jew, lamented the rising tide of anti-Semitism. He attributed this to 'prejudice' and says he thought "the right of the Jewish state to exist" had been decided.
It is curious that while Palestinians are being dispossessed and persecuted, Summers thinks "Israel's right to exist" is the issue. According to Israeli commentator Uri Avnery, Arafat accepted Israel's right to exist 28 years ago but Ariel Sharon "wants a greater Israel, the extension of the settlements and eventually the elimination of the Palestinian presence west of the Jordan."
The hoisting of an Israeli flag above the ruins of Yasser Arafat's Ramallah compound tells the story. Many Israelis feel just as helpless as we do. In an article in Ha'aretz, Yoel Marcus writes of Ariel Sharon, "Our democracy has been commandeered by one man."
Curious how Lawrence Summers refers to opposition to the Zionist agenda as "prejudice." Anger over Zionist control of the US government, its muzzling of education and the media, and possible involvement in September 11 is hardly what I would call "prejudice." For generations Jews have dehumanized other people by denying their legitimate grievances. In Shahak's words, "an enslaved peasant [who rebels] is transformed into a racist monster if Jews profited from his state of slavery and exploitation." (73)
No people should be tarred by the actions of a few. Most Jews (including Israelis) are themselves victims of the Illuminati Zionist conspiracy. Yitzak Rabin was murdered because of his sincere desire to make peace. I believe people are individuals and should be judged as such.
Nonetheless Jews must confront the reasons for anti Semitism or else it will spread. We must confront Jews (and non-Jews) who have become bailiffs in the New World Order, and join our neighbors in restoring democracy, freedom and truth to our beleaguered planet.
THE SILENT TAKE OVER - Noreena Hertz
Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy
If you believe that corporations have too much political power, that there is too much poverty and excessive inequalities in this world, that we need more cooperation and less competition, but don’t know too much about economics then this is the book for you! It is well written and easy for all to understand.
The Author is the Associate Director of the Centre of International Business and Management at the Judge Institute of the University of Cambridge, where she obtained her PhD.
Over 10 years ago she landed in Leningrad to set up Russia’s first stock exchange, Today she teaches in Cambridge and expresses in this book her deep concern at the great shift in the balance of power between democracy and global corporations.
We have all become disillusioned with politics and in this book Noreena Hertz gives chapter and verse explaining why. “Politicians continue to offer only one solution: a system based on laissez-faire economics, the culture of consumerism, the power of finance and free trade. They try to sell it in varying shades of blue, red or yellow, but it is still a system in which the corporation is King, the state is subject, its citizens consumers. A silent nullification of the social contract.”
She gives a lot of relevant history of the last 30 years putting the blame on Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan who introduced the concepts of the New Right. In Australia it was Labor’s Hawke and Keating who introduced financial deregulation.
The book gives many examples and statistics where globalisation has brought advantages to the rich and poverty to the poor. Even in the USA, the richest man is Bill Gates, but “45% can’t afford health insurance and a fifth of American employees work at rates below the official poverty level making a mockery of the low official unemployment rates.”
Many are the subjects touched on by this book, the denunciation of Trade Unions, slimmer governments, lower taxes and privatisation etc. which have been forced on governments of all political persuasions in all continents of the world. The Corporations have governments in their grip using the threats of moving off shore and Capitol flight.
Some statistics in favour of globalisation are given such as in Britain, after Thatcher home ownership rose from about half to two thirds and standards of living had increased for many and this was also true of China, Malaysia and other places. So to some the decision to hand over affairs to the market appears justified.
She points out that the neo-liberal experiment has not delivered for all of us. Traditional measures of economic growth such as GDP obscure the truth and gives details of the “shock therapy”, “structural adjustment” and “trade and financial liberation” required by the World Bank and the IMF when advancing loans to third world countries. Even those countries that have followed Washington’s dictates have not benefited. In the West the corporations have to down size to keep profits high so no one’s job is safe and governments have less money to relieve unemployment.
Many shortcomings of the capitalist system are noted. Echelon, the surveillance system made originally to spy on Russia was used to spy on individuals to pass on commercial secrets to American business. Commercial interests have usurped countries foreign policy, thus British labour approved arms contracts to Indonesia.
Human Rights have been ignored in Turkey, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Arabia and China etc. when lucrative contracts were being made and the questions of sanctions are discussed.
The WTO when enforcing free trade were often representing American and European multinationals.
She tells several fascinating stories such as Granny Doris, protestor against corruption, and points out that political parties are adopting the tactics of the corporate world with very expensive media coverage. Only millionaires can stand for office in the USA.
The media comes in for criticism and Rupert Murdoch for his undue influence on British Politics.
We no longer trust politics because the politician submits to the corporation, not the electorate. However the book points out that the corporations are susceptible to their customers and to environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace. These days most products are advertised for their good environmental qualities.
Another power that has arisen is the Internet which has many environmental sites opposing corporations, has made it possible for many often divergent groups to combine and disrupt WTO and G8 meetings, however demon-strations have failed to shift governments such as the Bush government which continues to put corporations first. His $1.35 trillion tax cuts will benefit the rich at the expense of the poor
Government has become so weak that Corporations have been impelled to step in and take over, thus in Nigeria Shell spent $52million in 1999 in schools, hospitals, roads, electricity and water in an area that had been abandoned and in Western countries schools get equipped with computers. However this only works well when conditions are good, they would be first to cease in bad times and there is no democratic control over what is done.
Noreena Hertz recommends:
1) Reform of political financing, no corporate or private financing (which comes with strings attached), only state funding.
2) A rethink of redistributive tax policies and public expenditure.
3) Regulation rather than deregulation, stronger anti-monopoly funded bodies. Cross-ownership restrictions on media enforced.
Mandatory reporting requirements on issues relating to the environment and society.
Integrity of information and academic research ensured. Obligatory disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. Corporate sponsorship of the public realm subject to stringent controls.
4) First World governments to pass legislation to ensure that parent companies be held responsible for the actions of their subsidiaries in whatever countries they operate.
Workers and communities everywhere must be given access to a global legal aid fund.
5) Set up a World Social Organisation (WSO) to counter the domination of the WTO and reframe global market mechanisms to ensure the long term protection of human rights, labor standards and the environment. Such an organisation must have teeth as sharp as those of the WTO and equally effective powers of reinforcement.
A new adjudication mechanism to settle disputes between the WTO and the WSO
6) Cancel third world debt, reverse outflows of Capitol from south to north, make significant increases to overseas aid.
A new global tax authority with power to levy indirect taxes e.g. on pollution and energy consumption to be spent on the environment
A direct levy on multinational corporations to develop labour and human rights norms.
A specific health tax on tobacco and alcohol companies to fund a global health fund.
Steps 1-3 should be in the realm of practical politics for any political party to adopt in any country. Steps 4-6 are more difficult in that they require agreement globally and Australia should advocate these steps in all international forums.
She regards these steps as only the beginning of an agenda to reform globalisation and warns if not taken up by those in power and if we continue to see the growth of inequalities then people disenfranchised by the Silent Takeover will protest and rage and bring the demise of democracy itself.
I recommend that you buy this book, and consider buying one for your friend.
Published by Random House 312 pages paper-back, with extensive references and available from most booksellers or the Internet.
It was published in 2001 so is up to date with most recent issues being discussed.