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Government by the People: Is It Possible?

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The Gettysburg Address celebrated “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” echoing the ideals of the Enlightenment: equality for all, and liberation from the yoke of tyrannical rulers.

Since 1863 when Abraham Lincoln made his iconic speech, the “government of the people” bit has just purred along without a glitch. There has been no dearth of individuals wanting to rule others, whether by election or by birthright. The people have been thoroughly governed, and governed more still.

The “government for the people” bit has had its ups and downs. Every government claims it rules for the people – it would be political suicide not to make that claim in a developed Western society – but humans have a tendency to look after Number 1 before they help others. When placed in positions of authority, individuals have usually used those positions to amass more power and wealth for themselves.

As a slogan though, “government for the people” has been a roaring success. Even the swastika of the Nazis symbolised prosperity and happiness (being derived from the Sanskrit svastika, meaning ‘good to exist’). The reality in recent times, as in many historical ones, is that government has been for the people only in name.

It’s the “government by the people” bit that has been the most problematic.

But we have elections!

Elections of politicians may be heralded as the pinnacle of democracy, but elections embody neither the Athenian idea of democracy nor, in the modern media age especially, the idea of “government by the people.” On the contrary, elections are an elitist system through which “men and women of high standing” achieve power over others — for their own good, of course! Modern representative democracy is akin to an aristocratic marketing exercise, wherein clubs of important people specialise in how to get others to give them more power. Political dynasties and training trajectories have emerged to buttress and strengthen this exercise.

Politicians today go to great lengths to forge coalitions with the media and with wealthy individuals who can buy them airtime there. A class of elite professional persuaders has risen to the top of our “democratic” systems. The system does not reward the ability to lead or to put the needs of the people first, but the ability to persuade others. This is merely yet more “government of the people.”

Hence with a hand wave to the existence of “free and fair elections,” and apart from a few odd places like Switzerland, the “by the people” bit of Lincoln’s vision is being roundly ignored in modern democratic countries. The elites in charge like to think that populations cannot be trusted to make good decisions and are in need of their guidance. The political elites denigrate movements oriented towards giving a greater say in national affairs to the population by using the term “populism,” and their negative use of that term perfectly sums up what the elected class and their mates think about ordinary people.

The lack of government “by the people” has been a key problem in our societies for the past 30 years or more, particularly in the US where obscene amounts of money have blatantly entered the elite election game. There has been too much government of the people rather than by it, leading to widespread apathy among populations that then become more susceptible to abuse. Abuse is what happens when one does not stand up for one’s rights. Perennial vigilance and standing up for yourself when you are pushed around is the only way to deal with those who face a perennial temptation to push you around.

We have seen decay in spades over the past two to three years, but in Anglo-Saxon countries the downward slide in the living standards of the bottom 50% has been accelerating since about the 1980s. The year 2020 ushered in a fresh phase of decay in living standards. Only the very top of society is now prospering, while the rest suffers a diminution in every way: their health, wealth, education, prospects of owning a home, ability to travel, self-respect, myriad freedoms, and access to reliable information are all under unprecedented assault. A new medieval society has emerged with a few chiefs and a lot of abused Indians.

Power (back) to the People!

To escape this trap, populations need hope. To have hope, one needs a plan and a slogan. The slogan of the Gettysburg Address is still a good one. Let’s take it truly seriously.

What would “government by the people” look like, and what core changes should a reform movement champion to make Lincoln’s vision a reality? We propose a set of two complementary reforms, both of which aim to reintegrate the presently governed masses into the business of power. The first reform would assign to the masses the role of appointing public-service leaders, and the second would involve the masses in the presently dysfunctional production of information (i.e., the media sector). Let’s get into the first one now, and we’ll cover the second one in a forthcoming piece.

The most important duty that the public must reclaim is that of appointing its leaders. Elections of politicians are not enough when the modern state apparatus contains hundreds of top bureaucratic posts associated with significant authority to wield the power of the people via large-scale resource allocation decisions.

Neither is it only in the government bureaucracy that the “power of the people” – the power represented by the nation state – resides. State-funded universities, schools, hospitals, libraries, statistical agencies, and other institutions also benefit from the state “brand” and hence draw on the power whose ultimate source is the population making up that state. The leaders of such organisations, and of the various silos of the state bureaucracy, should in fairness be led by individuals chosen by that same population, not just “of” it.

Our proposal is that the appointments to all leadership roles in hospitals, universities, national media companies, government departments, scientific and statistical agencies, courts, police forces, and so on — in short, the leadership of what has come to be called the ‘administrative state’ or the ‘deep state’ — should be made directly by the people.

One might even argue that strategic roles in large public-service-oriented entities, even if technically part of the private sector, should be included too because they also have major effects on captive national populations. This would mean adding to the above list the top roles within entities like water suppliers, electricity generators, large charities, and big media companies, hospitals, and universities, regardless of sector.

How to make this happen? We propose adopting a method of mobilising and organising the population to judge others that worked reasonably well in Ancient Rome and Greece, worked again more recently in Italian city-states, and is ubiquitous today in courts of law: juries of citizens. The many benefits of giving citizens a strong and direct voice in the selection of leaders through citizen juries include fostering diversity of thought and breaking down the monocultures that have coiled their tendrils through and around our public institutions. At the same time, they can act as a bulwark against the power of the new private-sector barons whose wishes have come to dominate policy in many aspects of our economy and culture.

In a jury, unlike in an election, people pay attention and really talk to each other, particularly if they feel they truly are the ones deciding something important. They will be more likely to feel a weight of responsibility and to take their task seriously as members of a jury than when casting a vote together with millions of others once every couple of years.

We suggest juries of, say, 20 randomly chosen citizens apiece, of which each jury makes one appointment and is then disbanded. Expertise in specific disciplines is not required for jurors, just as jurors deciding the verdict in a money-laundering case do not need degrees in finance or accounting. Juries that do desire some expert guidance when making a decision can obtain this guidance easily.

As a practical matter, a sophisticated apparatus would be required to support the juries administratively. This would consist partly of a combination of jury alumni — citizens who have been part of juries before — and a purely administrative organisation that coordinates the jurors and the jury appointments. Jurors should not be told who to look for, what the selection criteria are, or any other such “guidance” that boils down to telling them what the existing power-holders want them to do. Via this system, trust is placed in the population, just as trust in the developed West is placed in markets rather than in central planning.

Involving the population directly in the appointment of thousands of leaders in the country every year is a step towards government by the people. Breaking the stranglehold of money and the professional persuaders over society in this way creates a new set of civic institutions that is independent of media-led elections and state and business elites, dragging the top of the public sector into the dominion of the citizens they are supposed to serve.

You can bet that this real transfer of power to the people will be strongly resisted by most elite individuals and institutions. They will loudly proclaim every single reason they can think of for why it is a crazy, impossible idea, and get “experts” from their networks to loudly profess the silliness of even proposing the notion. This vitriolic denigration is exactly the measure of how badly we need to loosen their grip on power and change the system they have entrenched for their own benefit.

Like Lincoln’s, our era calls out again for a “new birth of freedom,” not only for the United States but for all of the Western world, so that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Authors

  • Gigi Foster, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a Professor of Economics at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Her research covers diverse fields including education, social influence, corruption, lab experiments, time use, behavioral economics, and Australian policy. She is co-author of The Great Covid Panic.

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Brownstone Institute

How Did a Small Group Do This?

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From the Brownstone Institute

By JEFFREY A. TUCKER

“You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.”

A very interesting study appeared last week by two researchers looking into the pandemic policy response around the world. They are Drs. Eran Bendavid and Chirag Patel of Stanford and Harvard, respectively. Their ambition was straightforward. They wanted to examine the effects of government policy on the virus.

In this ambition, after all, researchers have access to an unprecedented amount of information. We have global data on strategies and stringencies. We have global data on infections and mortality. We can look at it all according to the timeline. We have precise dating of stay-at-home orders, business closures, meeting bans, masking, and every other physical intervention you can imagine.

The researchers merely wanted to track what worked and what did not, as a way of informing future responses to viral outbreaks so that public health can learn lessons and do better next time. They presumed from the outset they would discover that at least some mitigation tactics achieved the aim.

It is hardly the first such study. I’ve seen dozens of such efforts, and there are probably hundreds or thousands of these. The data is like catnip to anyone in this field who is empirically minded. So far, not even one empirical examination has shown any effect of anything but that seems like a hard conclusion to swallow. So these two decided to take a look for themselves.

They even went to the next step. They assembled and reassembled all existing data in every conceivable way, running fully 100,000 possible combinations of tests that all future researchers could run. They found some correlations in some policies but the problem is that every time they found one, they found another instance in which the reverse seemed to be true.

You cannot infer causation if the effects are not stable.

After vast data manipulation and looking at every conceivable policy and outcome, the researchers reluctantly come to an incredible conclusion. They conclude that nothing that governments did had any effect. There was only cost, no benefit. Everywhere in the world.

Please just let that sink in.

The policy response destroyed countless millions of small businesses, ruined a generation in learning losses, spread ill health with substance abuse, wrecked churches that could not hold holiday services, decimated arts and cultural institutions, broke trade, unleashed inflation that is nowhere near done with us yet, provoked new forms of online censorship, built government power in a way without precedent, led to new levels of surveillance, spread vaccine injury and death, and otherwise shattered liberties and laws the world over, not to mention leading to frightening levels of political instability.

And for what?

Apparently, it was all for nought.

Nor has there been any sort of serious reckoning. The European Commission elections are perhaps a start, and heavily influenced by public opposition to Covid controls, in addition to other policies that are robbing nations of their histories and identities. The major media can call the victors “far right” all they want but this is really about common people simply wanting their lives back.

It’s interesting to speculate about precisely how many people were involved in setting the world on fire. We know the paradigm was tried first in Wuhan, then blessed by the World Health Organization. As regards the rest of the world, we know some names, and there were many cohorts in public health and gain-of-function research.

Let’s say there are 300 of them, plus many national security and intelligence officials plus their sister agencies around the world. Let’s just add a zero plus multiply that by the large countries, presuming that so many others were copycats.

What are we talking about here? Maybe 3,000 to 5,000 people total in a decision-making capacity? That might be far too high. Regardless, compared with the sheer number of people around the world affected, we are talking about a tiny number, a mico-percent of the world’s population or less making new rules for the whole of humanity.

The experiment was without precedent on this scale. Even Deborah Birx admitted it. “You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.” The experiment was on whole societies.

How in the world did this come to be? There are explanations that rely on mass psychology, the influence of pharma, the role of the intelligence services, and other theories of cabals and conspiracies. Even with every explanation, the whole thing seems wildly implausible. Surely it would have been impossible without global communications and media, which amplified the entire agenda in every respect.

Because of this, kids could not go to school. People in public parks had to stay within circles. Businesses could not open at full capacity. We developed insane rituals like masking when walking and unmasking when sitting. Oceans of sanitizer would be dumped on all people and things. People were made to be afraid of leaving their homes and clicked buttons to make groceries arrive on their doorsteps.

It was a global science experiment without any foundation in evidence. And the experience utterly transformed our legal systems and lives, introducing uncertainties and anxieties as never before and unleashing a level of crime in major cities that provoked residential, business, and capital flight.

This is a scandal for the ages. And yet hardly anyone in major media seems to be interested in getting to the bottom of it. That’s because, for bizarre reasons, looking too carefully at the culprits and policies here is regarded as being for Trump. And the hate and fear of Trump is so beyond reason at this point that whole institutions have decided to sit back and watch the world burn rather than be curious about what provoked this in the first place.

Instead of an honest accounting of the global upheaval, we are getting the truth in dribs and drabs. Anthony Fauci continues to testify for Congressional hearings and this extremely clever man threw his longtime collaborator under the bus, acting like David Morens was a rogue employee. That action seemed to provoke ex-CDC director Robert Redfield to go public, saying that it was a lab leak from a US-funded lab doing “dual purpose” research into vaccines and viruses, and strongly suggesting that Fauci himself was involved in the cover-up.

Among this group, we are quickly approaching the point of “Every man for himself.” It is fascinating to watch, for those of us who are deeply interested in this question. But for the mainstream media, none of this gets any coverage at all. They act like we should just accept what happened and not think anything about it.

This great game of pretend is not sustainable. To be sure, maybe the world is more broken than we know but something about cosmic justice suggests that when a global policy this egregious, this damaging, this preposterously wrongheaded, does all harm and no good, there are going to be consequences.

Not immediately but eventually.

When will the whole truth emerge? It could be decades from now but we already know this much for sure. Nothing we were promised about the great mitigation efforts by governments turned out to achieve anything remotely what they promised. And yet even now, the World Health Organization continues to uphold such interventions as the only way forward.

Meanwhile, the paradigm of bad science backed by force pervades nearly everything these days, from climate change to medical services to information controls.

When will evidence matter again?


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Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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Agriculture

The Enemies of Food Freedom

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

By TRACY THURMAN  

In every war, there is necessarily an enemy force, and the war on our food supply is no exception.

My previous article addressed the ongoing attacks on farmers across the globe. In today’s article, we will look at some of the culprits behind this agenda. For anyone who delved into the entities behind the tyrannical Covid policies, many names on the list below will seem quite familiar.

Bayer/Monsanto

Bayer merged with Monsanto in 2018, combining the companies responsible for Agent Orange and pioneering chemical warfare. In 1999, Monsanto’s CEO Robert Shapiro bragged that the company planned to control “three of the largest industries in the world—agriculture, food, and health—that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration.” Today these chemical manufacturers control a huge percentage of the world’s food supply.

Cargill and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Cargill is a World Economic Forum partner and the largest private company in the United States. This behemoth monopolizes unimaginably vast swaths of the global food industry, including meat processing in the United States. Cargill’s business practices, along with bigger-is-better policies enforced by their cronies at the United States Department of Agriculture, have led to the closures of many local abattoirs which forced farmers to depend on a few corporate mega-slaughterhouses. This leaves farmers waiting 14 months or longer for butchering slots, for which they often must transport their animals hundreds of miles—indeed, farmers and ranchers must book processing dates up to a year before the animal is even born. The high fees charged by Cargill’s slaughterhouses contribute to the skyrocketing price of meat—all while the farmers themselves are barely paid enough to cover the cost of raising the livestock. The USDA, meanwhile, makes sure their policies prevent farmers from processing meat themselves on their own farms.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust, the former owner of Glaxo before it merged with SmithKline, played a major role in Britain’s Covid debacle and is unapologetic about its goal of reducing your food sovereignty. Wellcome Trust funds Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP), an organization dedicated to developing and testing behavioral modifications to coerce the public into removing meat and dairy from their diets. LEAP’s co-director Susan Jeffs bemoans that motivating people with environmental impact labels on their foods does not seem to work: “People are already settled into very established habits” and suggests instead altering what the industry provides, thereby forcing consumer choice. Wellcome Trust researchers recommend “availability interventions” that “rely less on individual agency” to reduce access to animal food products. Researcher Rachel Pechey opines that “meat taxes show a promising evidence for effectiveness but have been less acceptable in survey work…we don’t want to just go for the most acceptable [solutions].”

The World Health Organization

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s Director-General, would like you to believe that food production is responsible for almost one-third of the global burden of disease. He calls for transforming the global food system toward plant-based foods, reducing meat and dairy in our intake, and enforcing policies to save the climate through restricting diet. A WHO 2022 report concluded that “considerable evidence supports shifting populations towards healthful plant-based diets that reduce or eliminate intake of animal products.”

World Economic Forum

You are likely familiar with the World Economic Forum and their Great Reset agenda. Visit their webpage and treat yourself to such morsels as 5 reasons why eating insects could reduce climate changewhy we need to give insects the role they deserve in our food systems, and why we might be eating insects soon. Suffice it to say that their plans for your dietary future are clear.

EAT Forum, the Lancet, and their Big Tech and Big Chemical Partners

The EAT Forum is “dedicated to transforming our global food system through sound science, impatient disruption and novel partnerships.” It was co-founded by the aforementioned Wellcome Trust, the Strawberry Foundation, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Their FRESH initiative—Food Reform for Sustainability and Health—aims to transform the global food system. Partners in the FRESH initiative include Google, Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever, Pepsico, and many chemical processors such as BASF, Bayer, and DuPont—a rather odd cast of characters for developing a healthy and sustainable dietary plan. EAT’s Shifting Urban Diets Initiative advocates for cities to adopt the Lancet-endorsed Planetary Health Diet, in which plant-based proteins are set to replace meat and dairy. Red meat is limited to 30 calories per day. A report drafted by EAT found that the transformation they want to foist upon our diets is “unlikely to be successful if left up to the individual,” and “require(s) reframing at the systemic level with hard policy interventions that include laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration and other economic and structural measures.”

The Rockefeller Foundation

Members of the Rockefeller family may carry more blame than anyone else in history for turning agriculture away from independent family farms towards corporate conglomerates.

In 1947, Nelson Rockefeller founded the International Basic Economy Corporation to modernize and corporatize agriculture in South America, particularly in Brazil and Venezuela. IBEC transformed farming to depend on expensive machinery and inputs that priced subsistence peasant farmers out of viability. The American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA), a Rockefeller-funded philanthropic organization, helped build the market through which IBEC could enrich its owners. While IBEC’s promotional literature claimed that the company was generously assisting the Third World by providing necessary consumer products while turning a profit, on closer examination, it was simply a business enterprise built on the Rockefellers’ old Standard Oil model, in which smaller competitors are forced out using monopolistic practices before prices are raised.

This tactic was taken to a whole new level with the so-called Green Revolution, first in Mexico in the 1940s, then in the Philippines and India in the 1960s, as well as in the United States. Traditional farming practices such as the use of manure as fertilizer for heirloom native crops were replaced with a model of mechanized chemical farming, using Rockefeller-funded new seed varieties which had been developed to require petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce significantly increased crop yields compared to the traditional crops grown by peasant farmers in these countries.

It is worth noting that the Rockefellers, as oil oligarchs, stood to profit handsomely from the petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides that this new method demanded. The crops grown were almost all cereal crops like rice and replaced more nutrient-dense, traditional crops like millet. India experienced an increase in food but a decrease in nutrition: with more empty calories but fewer fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins, micronutrients disappeared from the diet. Anemia, blindness, fertility problems, low birth weight, and immune impairment increased.

While the Green Revolution was hailed as the solution to world hunger and poverty, it also poisoned local water supplies, depleted the soil, and left farmers drowning in debt as they could no longer independently produce the fertilizer and seeds they needed. Informed readers can see how the later Monsanto GMO Roundup-Ready seed model followed this playbook established by the Rockefellers.

In 2006, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill Gates, and others pushed the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, or AGRA, and they again followed this proven playbook. Since AGRA’s launch, African biodiversity has been lost, and the number of severely undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by nearly 50 percent, even by the UN’s own reports. Just as in India, farmers are being tricked into abandoning nutrient-dense, drought-resistant crops like heirloom millet in exchange for the empty calories of GMO corn. Hundreds of African organizations have demanded that this neocolonial project end, leaving the future of African agriculture in the hands of the native farmers who know the land best.

Now the Rockefeller Foundation has set its sights on the US food system with its Reset the Table agenda, handily launched in 2020 just weeks after the Great Reset was announced. Under rosy language calling for inclusivity and equity, the report states that “success will require numerous changes to policies, practices, and norms.” This includes a major focus on data collection and objectives that align closely with the One Health Agenda—more on that in a future article.

Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

Bill Gates has followed the Rockefeller playbook for fumigating his fortune and transforming his image—while building more wealth—through the cynical ploy of philanthrocapitalism.

His fingers are deep in every public health pie, and his influence is nearly equal in the food wars. Besides financing the development of fake meats, he is behind the aforementioned AGRA program, is investing in geoengineering programs to dim the sun, and as of January 2021, owned 242,000 acres of prime US farmland, making him the largest private owner of farmland in the US. It is disconcerting to think that a man who believes we should phase out real meat controls so much of the method of production.

USAID and BIFAD

Another organization pushing you to eat bugs is USAID. This may surprise some of you who think of USAID as an organization dedicated to helping third-world countries, rather than as a longtime Trojan horse for CIA operations. (Skeptical of that claim? Go down the rabbit hole here and here and here and here.) Their Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, known as BIFAD, released a report titled “Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.” This report calls for a complete transformation of the food supply and global agriculture. They propose to do this through ESG scores, carbon tracking, and eating insects.

So how do these organizations manage to push their agenda on the global population? We will cover that in a future article.

Author

Tracy Thurman is an advocate for regenerative farming, food sovereignty, decentralized food systems, and medical freedom. She works with the Barnes Law Firm’s public interest division to safeguard the right to purchase food directly from farmers without government interference.

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