Sam Harris’ Defense of Censorship Reveals Liberals’ True Contempt for Democracy

by Keaton Weiss

“Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement – I would not have cared.”

Believe it or not, that’s actually the least controversial thing Sam Harris said in a recently released clip from his appearance on the “Triggernometry” podcast. He followed that up by asserting that “Whatever [the] scope of Joe Biden’s corruption is, if we can just go down that rabbit hole endlessly and understand that he’s getting kickbacks from Hunter Biden’s deals in Ukraine…it is infinitesimal compared to the corruption we know Trump is involved in…it doesn’t even stack up against Trump University.”

If this isn’t Trump Derangement Syndrome, I don’t know what is. Such a claim would be suspect under any circumstances, but Harris makes this argument as the Biden administration funnels tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons and other aid to Ukraine for its war against Russia. That this is a “firefly to the sun,” as he puts it, next to Trump’s fake college scam, is utterly ludicrous.

But Harris was just getting started. These deranged musings were merely the setup to his main point, which was that the censoring of The New York Post’s reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop days before the 2020 election was justified. Harris granted that Twitter’s suppression of the story under the false pretense that it was Russian disinformation was in essence a “conspiracy to deny the presidency to Donald Trump,” but nonetheless insisted it was “warranted.”

The host then pressed him for clarification, after which Harris slightly walked back his “conspiracy” concession with one of his classic “thought experiments.” He posed the question, “If there was an asteroid hurdling toward Earth, and we got in a room with all of our friends and talked about what we could do to deflect its course, is it a conspiracy?”

To answer his question: yes – if half of the world’s population wants the asteroid to hit the Earth.

Harris’ analogy perfectly illustrates the fundamental contradiction at the heart of resistance liberalism. They see Trump as a singular threat to democracy, yet when pressed, they will fully endorse subversive, conspiratorial, and anti-democratic means of opposing him. They must maintain their view of Trump as something like an asteroid on a collision course with Earth in order to justify these tactics, because to accept Trump for what he actually is – a democratically elected leader – would lay to bare their true feelings about democracy itself: they hate it.

This was plainly obvious from the minute Trump declared his 2016 candidacy, and is even more obvious now. From Hillary’s “deplorables” line to their relentless indignation over the January 6th riot, liberals have not only attacked Trump himself as an odious figure, but they’ve cast all of his supporters in that same mold in order to delegitimize their participation in the democratic process. In a real democracy, everyone gets a say, no matter how repulsive they may be. But liberals don’t want real democracy. Instead, they want a democracy curated to their particular tastes and sensibilities, and which excludes those who don’t conform to them. This, of course, is no democracy at all.

Sam Harris and his ilk would be better suited to just admit all of this out in the open. It’s perfectly legitimate to oppose democracy – the Greeks themselves had many negative things to say about it, chief among them is the power it grants to a mostly ignorant and unenlightened population. If Harris’ cohort thinks the American public is too stupid to take seriously their responsibilities as democratic actors, they should just say so, and propose an alternative form of government that relegates the rubes to the irrelevance they feel befits them. But to claim, as liberals do, that their opposition to Trump is motivated primarily by some civic obligation to protect democracy, is patently ridiculous.

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We should be grateful to Sam Harris for so clearly articulating his upside-down ethos in all of its self-negating absurdity. Never has any prominent liberal expressed such bald-faced contempt for the very democratic norms and ideals they claim to cherish so deeply. It was a rare candid moment from an elite clique typically much more careful to couch their arguments in ways that conceal their honest opinions about democracy. It’s good that one of them finally let it rip.

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Photo: Triggernometry

The Liberal Class Called. They Want Their Fake Democracy Back.

by Keaton Weiss

In January, The Brookings Institute published a report entitled “Is democracy failing and putting our economic system at risk?” Baked into its thesis is the faulty presumption that democracy can and should exist to accommodate capitalism – a practical impossibility since capitalism is inherently antidemocratic. And so truly, it’s the failure of our economic system that’s exposing our so-called democracy for the sham it’s always been.

For the liberal class, this realization isn’t coming easily. Their entire worldview is predicated upon the notion that capitalism and democracy can in fact complement each other so long as economic opportunity is evenly distributed among people of all colors, creeds, genders, orientations, etc.. Of course, this is a delusion. Capitalism is an economic system in which one uses their existing advantage (capital) to accrue further advantage (more capital) in a market which inevitably becomes more and more unequal, both in outcomes and opportunities. As inequality worsens, social cohesion deteriorates, and the “democratic” system in which all of this takes place collapses.

We’re in the throes of this right now. The January 6th hearings, an endless sequence of horrific mass shootings, runaway inflation, and the Supreme Court’s string of draconian rulings are making the unraveling of both our economic and political systems clear as day for all to see.

If we had an actual Left in this country with both the will and the ability to create a democratic economy more compatible with political democracy, there might be some hope that this trend could be reversed. Instead, we have a liberal opposition whose only response to social, economic, and political collapse is indignation and resentment that the pseudo-democracy they’ve enjoyed until now isn’t good enough for everyone else.

Nowhere is this more evident than in their response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Liberals decry the revocation of their rights to reproductive healthcare, as they should. However, many of these same people consistently vote against progressives in their own party who advocate for all forms of healthcare as a human right. This is a perfect example of trying to fit the square peg of capitalism into the round hole of liberal democracy. Liberals want abortion rights, but they don’t want to enshrine all forms of healthcare as a right by passing something like Medicare For All. Hillary Clinton, in the wake of the Court’s decision on Roe, warned that that “women will die” as a result. This is the same Hillary Clinton who said loudly and proudly at a 2016 campaign rally that universal healthcare would “never, ever come to pass.” Approximately 10,000 American women die each year because they can’t afford medical care. Hillary would have you believe that women’s deaths from unsafe back-alley abortions are an outrage, but women’s deaths due to lack of healthcare affordability are an inescapable reality we’ll all just have to accept as a sacrifice at the altar of the market. What moral or political sense does this make? None at all, except that it has the blessing of our “centrist” political and media establishment.

Until recently, this “center” they love so much – ie, abortion access inside an inhumane market-based healthcare system – has more or less held. The 2016 Sanders campaign was the voice in the wilderness warning mainstream liberals that it wouldn’t hold much longer. And now, here we are. Liberals mostly blame Donald Trump for this, as well as those they feel paved the way for his election – Bernie Bros, Susan Sarandon, Jill Stein, James Comey, and Vladimir Putin. But in reality, it was their delusional insistence that democracy can be preserved without challenging capitalism that ushered in this new dystopia. Furthermore, their continued belief that such a balance is both feasible and desirable is what explains the Democratic Party’s paralysis in the face of our descent into authoritarianism.

Republicans have fully embraced this devolution from fake democracy to actual fascism – the natural progression of a hyper-capitalist state. Democrats, on the other hand, are in the unfortunate position of having to sell the public on the obviously artificial premise that capitalism and democracy can be reconciled and fused for the promotion of our collective wellbeing. Democrats believe we can protect the right to reproductive healthcare while commodifying access to all other forms of healthcare. Republicans take the much simpler and more politically digestible position of denying both of these rights, and stressing “personal responsibility” as the key to survival in an an increasingly capitalistic – and decreasingly democratic – society.

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The only viable counter to this offensive is to assert that all healthcare is a human right, and take capitalism out of the equation altogether. You’d have to take similar approaches on issues of climate, labor, and criminal justice, and then you might have a chance at pulling us back from the brink. But of course, that isn’t going to happen so long as the liberal class is at the helm. They’ll simply continue to lament the incorrigibility of a public who’s abandoned their neoliberal politics forever and for good reason.

So when you hear them bemoan the fall of democracy, understand there’s nothing democratic about the order they wish to restore. For this reason, our decline will only get steeper as their cries grow louder.

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Photo: Ted Eytan (cc 2.0)

One Year After January 6th, is the Next Civil War Already Underway?

In his recent article in The Guardian, Stephen Marche argues that the United States is facing a crisis of institutional legitimacy that has split the country into already warring factions. He writes:

Two things are happening at the same time. Most of the American right have abandoned faith in government as such. Their politics is, increasingly, the politics of the gun. The American left is slower on the uptake, but they are starting to figure out that the system which they give the name of democracy is less deserving of the name every year.

Violence, he argues, is the predictable reaction to people’s belief that they no longer have any democratic control over their government. In this sense, the case can be made that the United States is already in its next Civil War.

An October 2021 study by Journal of Democracy shows that political violence has been on the rise this past decade, and during the Trump era, both Democrats and Republicans increasingly believed that violence is sometimes justified to advance their political agenda.

And so, as trust in both the political system and each other have collapsed, the American people have turned on one another in ways that often feel irreconcilable.

Marche argues in both his article and his newest book entitled The Next Civil War: Dispatches from the American Future that the way forward to a peaceful resolution must involve a dramatic reimagining of our government as a whole. Trump era Democrats’ obsession with restoring “constitutional norms” won’t cut it, as the Constitution itself is over 200 years old and was designed for the 18th century.

He asserts that the crisis facing the United States is the result of structural and systemic problems that have gone unaddressed and uncorrected, so much so that “the federal system no longer represents the will of the American people.” He cites a University of Virginia study which projects that by 2040, 8 states will contain half the U.S. population, which means 50% of the country will have just 16% of representation in the U.S. Senate. This means that very soon, elections will become more and more meaningless, both in their perceived legitimacy and in their consequences. As a result, democracy becomes less and less meaningful, making civil strife and political violence more and more likely.

Stephen Marche joined us on our podcast to discuss these ideas more thoroughly. To hear our full conversation, click the player below, and subscribe to the Due Dissidence on Apple, StitcherSpotifyCastbox, Google Podcasts, or any major podcast player.

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Photo: Tyler Merbler (Wikimedia Commons, CC 2.0)

No One is Coming to Save You: Why Gen Z is Giving Up on Democracy

by Russell Dobular

“You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy.”

Arthur Jensen, Network

For years, leftists have been digging through the internet archives to prove that when Democrats are in power, they never actually deliver on their promises to the voters, even when it’s fully within their power to do so.  It’s been a tough case to make, especially to Blue Magaworld, for whom Barack Obama is something akin to a secular saint. Try to talk about how he abandoned the public option before negotiations on Obamacare even began, or about how he put pressure on Senators who refused to vote for the bill without it instead of on the ones who dug their heels in on having it included, and the most common response from Democrats will be, “But the Republicans!” Never mind the fact that Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote, which means the Democrats could have done anything in theory, right up to and including Universal Health Care. The idea that the party, or God forbid, Obama himself, might have anything to do with the band-aid-on-a-gunshot-wound nature of the policy is anathema to most Democrats. Any attempt to persuade them otherwise is quickly vaporized by their repeated exposure to brain-melting doses of Morning Joe.

But now we’re seeing it all play out in real time in ways that are difficult for even the most mimosa-addled brunch liberal to ignore. No one can now deny that when Democrats were given a once in a generation shot to raise the minimum wage, not even to the $24 it would be if it had risen with inflation and productivity growth over the past 50 years, but to just roughly 60% of that wage, they hid behind the Senate Parliamentarian, an excuse so laughable that they might have been better off just telling the truth: the donors don’t want you to have a living wage, so we ain’t doing it. The refreshing honesty may have scored them more points than the transparent bullshit they ultimately went with. And as if to drive the point home, when Bernie introduced a $15 per hour amendment to the latest Corona relief package, 8 Democrats voted against it, apparently without fear of consequence from the White House, or from the voters. 

They know their suburban base could give a flying fuck about what the person who hands them their order at the drive-through earns, and if the White House really wanted it, they would have rained down hellfire on any Dem who threatened to hold up relief to stop it. So now we know there will be no living wage for American workers for at minimum a generation, at least not without a mass uprising, or general strike. And if the Democrats won’t provide that most basic of necessities, what hope is there for free college or universal health care? Zero, to none.

Enter, Gen Z.  Even the most open-minded, and thoughtful person, is inevitably bound to understand the world through the lens of the past. This is intrinsic to how the brain works: we create conceptual frames as a shortcut to having to evaluate each new experience and piece of information on its own terms. That’s why you don’t have to figure out what money is when you’re in a foreign country, with a currency you’ve never seen before, but it’s also why we tend not to fully understand the world we live in as we get older. Our frameworks grow increasingly disconnected from the cumulative changes of our lifetimes, until eventually you’re a boomer watching Joe Biden, but seeing FDR. Or a millennial or Gen Xer, still believing in political solutions to our problems. As the non-fight over the minimum wage demonstrates, there are no political solutions under our current system. We’re simply the neighborhood people forced to pick between two rival gangs, both of which are going to extort us, and either one of which might destroy us if we defy them. No help is coming. We’re on our own.

The next generation, unburdened by the distorting lens of the past, have already figured this out.  Far from being the left-wing, big-government, identitarians that we’ve been led to expect, Gen Z is shaping up to be a cohort of politically incorrect, bootstrap-pulling, libertarians.  According to a recent study, 77% of those 14-21 report that they earn their own money working, and 21% had a savings account before they were 10. And while as the most diverse generation in history, they have liberal views on cultural diversity, with 78% describing themselves as liberal to moderate on social issues, they are also deeply skeptical of the woke project, with 79% calling “political correctness” a problem.

This jog towards the right is an inevitable consequence of having grown up in a world where banks and large corporations are able to get away with murder, literally in some cases, while our elected officials do little to nothing to improve the lives of average citizens.  It’s also a natural response to the endless and seemingly unresolvable culture wars to conclude that the best way to address such irreconcilable differences would be to fall back on the libertarian solution of letting everyone go their own way. What else is a young person to make of how our society functions, other than: cover your ass and don’t expect any help from anybody, least of all the government.

The modern left, unlike our 60’s forbears, has been nursing a dream not of an impractical Marxist utopia, but simply of the U.S. joining the rest of the Western world in providing basic necessities like education and healthcare. We really haven’t contemplated the idea that the U.S. will continue to go its own hyper-capitalist way, cementing its status as the gun-toting, feudal, corporate-governed freakshow of the West. In the end, we’re still Americans, and as Americans we’re predisposed to believe that the good guys will come out on top in the final reel. But the kids ain’t buying it. Which means our related assumption that the cavalry is coming eventually in the form of generational change is probably misplaced.

The only thing that may shift the trajectory is the total and inevitable economic collapse that will result if Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) turns out to be a lot of horseshit.  Our national debt is now greater than our annual GDP. MMT holds that a country with control of its own currency can’t go bankrupt, because it can issue more currency to pay its debts, along with new debt to cover the old debts.  But MMT doesn’t consider a scenario in which no one wants to buy the newly issued debt, and it ignores the fact that every country that has ever tried to money-print its way out of debt, went into a death spiral of hyper-inflation.  It’s hard to be a libertarian in a world where you need a wheelbarrow full of cash to go to the grocery store, so such a scenario could cause Gen Z to rethink the wisdom of bootstrap economics.  But then again, they could see it as an opportunity to just go full Mad Max. I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t see the appeal of roaming the plains of an ungoverned America in search of opportunity and adventure. Maybe join up with a thief, a strongman, and Karen Allen, for some kind of black market smuggling gig, while occasionally rescuing enslaved Amazon workers from the mines.

But I digress.  The left is in what Allen Ginsberg called, “diamond hell.”  Hard edges and unyielding realities on every side: in front of us, a government that can’t be reformed through democratic means, and behind us, a generation that’s given up on trying. To one side we have the option of rainbow fascism, and on the other, the more traditional variety. This is normally the place in the article where you’re supposed to offer some kind of call to action, or way out of the problems you’ve laid out, but honestly, I got nothing.

A modern country whose system of government is so broken that it can’t raise the minimum wage, even with the “left” party in charge of all the House, the Senate, and the presidency, is a country that has already effectively become a failed state. The only question now is; when does the curtain fall, and how do we respond when it does? Regular order democracy under these circumstances is the little button they put on New York City lampposts that are supposed to change the red light to green. They don’t actually do anything. They’re only there to make people feel like they have a say.

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Photo: C-SPAN