Jack Johnson vs. John Jackson

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Today, millions of Americans will validate their faith in the secular religion of democracy by going to the polls, as they do every four years, to choose between two basically interchangeable candidates, both of whom were, as always, hand-picked by the power elite because they can be trusted to dutifully perpetuate their system.

The False Choice

This fact is evidenced not only by the similarity of the presidential candidates every four years, but also by the shallowness of mainstream political discourse, where fundamental questions about the power elite’s system are not allowed; rather, acceptable debate is limited to the minutiae of micromanaging the system, to fairly trivial distractions that wouldn’t even be contentious issues in a free society — like gay marriage and stem cell research, and to the personal character of the candidates.

For example, the moral legitimacy of the income tax, or of the federal government extracting about $3 trillion per year from the productive economy, is not discussed; instead, the "debate" is on whether at what income levels to place the tax code’s gradations, whether to slightly raise or lower any of the gradation’s tax rates, or whether this or that expense should qualify for a deduction.

Nor are the moral legitimacy, constitutionality, or the results of the Drug War discussed; instead, the "debate" is limited to whether a certain substance should be a Schedule I or Schedule II drug, whether marijuana should be allowed for patients with certain medical conditions under certain, rigidly stipulated circumstances, or whether the penalties for a certain drug offense should be raised, or remain the same.

Nor are such questions allowed about the "War on Terror," the military-industrial complex, and the medical- and pharmaceutical-industrial complexes, the Federal Reserve, or any other part of the system.

Any major-party presidential candidate who raises such fundamental questions, such as Ron Paul, is ridiculed by "mainstream" (system-perpetuating) politicians and journalists, and is continually dismissed in a self-fulfilling prophecy as a "fringe" candidate with no chance to win.

And third-party candidates, who almost always raise such questions, are crippled by law from raising money or getting ballot access, and are excluded from debates with the major candidates, even if only one or two of them meet some reasonable criteria for inclusion.

The Establishment

The regimented discourse is due to the fact that there’s a small elite who really run the country — and they run it for their own purposes. They have a system in place — which consists of things like the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, the medical- and pharmaceutical-industrial complexes, other regulation of business, the military-industrial complex, and drug prohibition — by which they attain levels of income and power that they could not attain on the market, through voluntary exchange.

But that system harms the standard of living of the average person, which is why the elite would not be able to maintain it — and their status as (unnatural) elites — through voluntary exchange. But, thanks in no small part to the 12 years of forced government brainwashing of compulsory public schools that are also an important part of the power elite’s system, most people believe the system is there for their benefit and protection.

And, when the system causes problems, the elite distract the average person with the sideshow of politics and the illusion of two competing parties. As Murray Rothbard explained in one of his last essays, discussing the 1994 Republican Revolution, if the elite made it overtly obvious that there’s only one party, any problems would be an indictment of the entire system, which would then become widely despised and likely to be overthrown. Instead, people are distracted by the illusion of competing parties, which are really part of the same system.

Vote early, and vote often

We can see how effective this distraction is by how many people get caught up in the irrelevance of politics. Though it’s mostly not their fault, but is the result of conditioning, when the government’s actions cause problems, rarely is the average person sophisticated enough to indict the fundamental system. Instead, if the Republicans are in power and he’s a Democrat, he indicts the Republicans, and focuses on electing more Democrats; if he’s a Republican, he indicts the Democrats, or "liberals," for somehow corrupting Republican principles, or he claims that many of the elected Republicans aren’t "real" Republicans. And vice-versa.

Thus he reveals a deep psychological need to convince himself that the problems caused by the system are not inherent in government, but are the result of the "wrong" people being in charge, that if he can somehow get "them" out and "us" in, all will be well again. To believe otherwise would cause him to question his ideas about government and democracy — which, due to his years of conditioning, are among his most fundamental beliefs. Only when he somehow becomes consciously aware of fundamental questions about the system’s legitimacy (and maybe not even then) will he begin to go against his conditioning.

Writing last year about our farcical presidential elections, I expanded on Dr. Rothbard’s essay when I pointed out that there’s no reason to believe that America would be measurably freer if anyone who lost any of the last generation’s presidential elections had won.

McBama vs. O’Bain

This year is no different; while there may be some fairly trivial differences between them, in the grand scheme of things, it makes no fundamental difference whether McCain or Obama is elected — the underlying system will continue under either of them.

For anyone who doubts this, let’s look at Obama’s and McCain’s stated positions, and see if we can figure out what everyone is so worked up about.

Position

Obama

McCain

Maintain the Federal Reserve and its power to ruin the economy and erode citizens’ standard of living with inflation, making credit too easily available, and inflicting the boom-and-bust cycle

X

X

Maintain the income tax and the commensurate level of federal spending

X

X

Prolong the recession by trying to forcibly prevent normal market corrections, such as falling prices, failures of unsound businesses, and liquidation of bad debt

X

X

Maintain the FDA and the government’s medical- and pharmaceutical-industrial complexes

X

X

Maintain — and expand — the government’s ruinous healthcare policies and programs, which, along with the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, are the root causes of healthcare being so expensive

X

X

Continue the Drug War, which has accomplished nothing in decades but wasting billions of dollars, fostering black markets and all of their inherent problems, and giving the U.S. the highest number of imprisoned people in the world — both in absolute terms and as a percentage of its population

X

X

Maintain U.S. troop presence in Iraq indefinitely

X

X

Perpetuate the rest of the military-industrial complex, including permanent U.S. troop presence and bases in more than half of the world’s countries and foreign "aid"

X

X

Continue — if not expand — the bogus "War on Terror"

X

X

Perpetuate — if not expand — post-9/11 agencies’ and programs’ assaults on civil liberties

X

X

Continue untenable entitlement programs like Social Security

X

X

Perpetuate government schools from the federal level

X

X

Continue dismantling property rights (which are the only possible source of real environmental protection), eroding human living standards, decrying prosperity and plenty, and subsidizing "green" industries that can’t survive in the market, all under the guise of "protecting the environment" and battling the meaningless catch-all term, "climate change"

X

X

Looking at this table, it’s easy to see why the mainstream media insists that this is "the most important election in our lifetimes!" Which they also said in 2004. And 2000. And 1996 . . .

Johnny Kramer [send him mail] holds a BA in journalism from Wichita State University. He is one of the authors and editors of the first-ever biography of Ron Paul, Ron Paul: a Life of Ideas. For more information on his work, or to hire him as a writer, editor, or to speak at your next event, please visit his website.

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