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Scuttling Bad Trade Agreements














By Professor Steven Yates
June 11, 2016

It finally happened: following the posting of my Open Letter to the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) of Oberlin College, my computer was hacked and malware planted on it. The culprit(s) couldn’t have known that I recently contracted with a firm to keep a watchful eye on my equipment. No one can ensure 100% security, however, and the result was several hours disinfecting my computer and installing an extra layer of protection. We have a record of the hack. When the time is right we will be acting accordingly.

I don’t believe in coincidences. If you write a piece like that and it gets circulated, you make enemies. These days, you risk the high-tech equivalent of a brick lobbed through your front window. Behind such acts is a need to intimidate or destroy what is perceived as a threat, whether it’s to the offense-free “safe space” SJWs want or the prospects of a President Donald Trump.

My aim had been to throw cold water on the sort of politics dear to a generation that grew up with Internet access, mobile devices, social media, and hackers (not all of whom are psychos, by the way). This generation has probably forgotten more about technology than geezers like myself who went through college barely knowing what computers were have learned. What few in this generation can do is, though, argue credibly for their convictions, whichever government school inculcated them, that America is deeply racist, sexist, “homophobic,” and now “transphobic” (the latest PC neologism).

And speaking of Trump, do we not see the same destruction being visited upon his events and supporters, coupled with mainstream media dishonesty by omission?

A guy filming a group of so-called progressives protesting a Trump appearance is attacked and is lucky to escape with his scalp intact.

A large group of protesters in Chicago back in March compels Trump to cancel an event out of fears for attendees’ safety.

Groups of blacks and so-called progressives block roads leading to a Trump event just outside Phoenix, Arizona.

Pro-Trump writing appears on sidewalks on Emory University campus. SJWs go berserk. “Come speak to us!” an anguished student group demanded of the Emory administration. “We are in pain!” One student even broke down in tears during a meeting. The poor thing. (One reader took me to task for using sarcasm in my Open Letter. But do these kids have any idea how they look and sound to rational beings?)

More violence erupted in San José, California. Images of one woman in particular, spat on and pelted with eggs and tomatoes by Mexicans, have gone viral. This reinforces the convictions in many Trump’s supporters’ minds that these people are not just lawbreakers but criminally violent, just as Trump insists, and need to be sent home on the next train.

Have you noticed that these people, likely supporters of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, show up at Trump events with the intention of being disruptive? Trump supporters do not show up at Bernie Sanders rallies or Hillary Clinton ones. Mainstream media has yet to report this. Small wonder Trump calls reporters sleazy and dishonest to their faces.

I presume the vast majority of corporate media footsoldiers have their marching orders, which they follow to keep from losing their jobs.

They refuse to give him credit for things he does, such as raise millions for Veterans. When he does not produce an exact count of what was raised, with every i dotted and every t crossed on how the money was distributed, mainstream media accuses him of nefarious deeds, neglecting to tell us that Trump is the only candidate to have raised any money for Veterans. (What the Clintons have donated to Veterans groups is insulting by comparison; although plenty of money goes to the Clinton Foundation!)

Last in this litany: George Soros, hard-left globalist billionaire, and Occupy Wall Street sugar daddy, is discovered to have bankrolled at least one group of anti-Trump Stormtroopers. Again, total silence from mainstream media.

Behind the disruptive tactics and professionalized dishonesty: frankly, I smell fear. No, it’s more than that. One looks at these events, in light of half-assed stunts such as GOP neocons trying to nominate the comparatively unknown David French to run as an independent, and one recognizes stark, abject terror!

The neocons have lost control of the GOP for reasons in addition to their neglect of the party’s base. When Trump called present-day (neocon-crafted) foreign policy “a complete and total disaster,” he was spot on. Should he become president, this will mean an end to the quixotic “nation building” the Bushies started, which has cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars, killed or maimed thousands of our troops, left tens of thousands of Iraqis homeless. Obama and Hillary continued this madness, destabilizing much of the Middle East, causing the massive refugee crisis inundating Europe, and making Americans still more enemies. Neoconservatism, for those who showed up late to this party, has nothing to do with traditional conservatism which has been dead in the Republican Party for decades. It is either uninformed or dishonest to call present-day GOP elites or corporate donors “conservatives.” In the interests of balance, neither does neoliberalism, which I’ll get to in a minute, have anything to do with the classical liberalism of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill which is just as dead in the water.

We see abject terror among the Western power elites generally, those with real privilege gained from having financialized the U.S. economy (production having been offshored) or moving money around all day (the way Soros got rich): abject terror that Trump may actually win this election, set out to keep his promises, and end the party. Whether he’ll be able to build a wall on the Mexican border, I have no clue. I’m not even sure it’s a good idea when there are better strategies for dealing with illegal aliens (penalizing employers caught hiring them, for example), but Trump would be the first president in decades to take securing the border seriously.

Trump might also stand firm on his previously-stated moratorium against unvetted Muslims being resettled in medium-sized U.S. cities and towns, in light of events such as that of San Bernardino, California. Yes, yes, I know: there are over a billion Muslims on the planet, and the majority are peaceful. True, and completely irrelevant! A minority of Muslims, especially those from the Middle East, are not peaceful! We cannot read their minds. Therefore we have no advance means of knowing who has evil intent until a bomb explodes in a workplace or a nightclub or a supermarket somewhere in an American city instead of Paris!

Folks, this is not rocket science!

Even more frightening for the elites and those who identify with them (I have both received email and corresponded with others about this, sometimes in agreement and sometimes in fierce disagreement): Trump may follow through with his plan for the global economy, working to implement responsible trade instead of “free trade” (corporate-controlled trade). He charges China with protecting its industries and manipulating its currency to boost exports. There is every reason to take such allegations seriously and to hold the Chinese accountable. Incidentally, last time I checked, China was still a Communist country, its corporations state-controlled. How Americans can have “free trade” with a Communist country, one of the most centralized and repressive regimes in the world, is one of those mysteries of neoliberal-globalist economics.

So suppose Trump is elected, makes deals, and however it happens, his policies begin a renaissance of U.S. manufacturing! That would discredit roughly 70 years of neoliberal economics. Just about everything since the first Mont Pelerin Society meeting and the formation of what economic historian Philip Mirowski calls the Neoliberal Thought Collective (NTC) will have to be thrown out. Small wonder neither the academic nor the Beltway economists like Donald Trump!

According to neoliberalism, the “free market” is akin to God. Neoliberals do not really oppose central planning, though. They never believed in pure laissez faire, and haven’t minded furthering plans that empower global corporations. This is because the latter (Walmart, Halliburton, Monsanto, Merck, etc.) represent the “free market at work.” Yes, neoliberals appear to believe such things. Privatization is good; it shifts control from “the state” to corporations, even if the latter proceed to plunder entire nations driven into “austerity.” Neoliberals believe free migration is good for an economy; cheap labor means higher profits. Outsourcing jobs to third world countries for more cheap labor is good for the same reason, regardless of how many domestic workers are dumped into the streets. Professor Mirowski observes that neoliberalism has a conception of the human person: we are malleable, like lumps of clay, no less than what any leftist or behaviorist has said; the best of us respond to “market incentives” and continuously retool to “monetize” ourselves. If the “free market” is God, then money is salvation!

Perhaps I simply don’t understand “economic theory” (i.e., the NTC paradigm) but I am at a loss to understand how any of these has been “good for the U.S. economy” understood in terms of real, flesh-and-blood Americans on Main Street. I can see it has been good for Wall Street and Walmart. No one says it hasn’t created millions of jobs in China, which pay pennies on the dollar compared to their former U.S. equivalents. No one argues it hasn’t allowed floods of cheaply made Chinese products onto the shelves of Walmart and its affiliates: products that last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before they fall apart. U.S. consumers buy them because this is all the former middle class can afford. A real craftsman dares not give up his day job (if he has one).

Perhaps I don’t understand the benefits of the jobs base disappearing, real wages for average Americans having flatlined, or public institutions from schools to hospitals being overwhelmed by people who can’t speak English.

Perhaps I do not understand the benefits of structural economic inequality (as opposed to natural inequality caused only by some working harder than others). As everyone knows, inequality within nations has skyrocketed, especially since the Meltdown of 2008. Not “one-percenters” but a 0.01% has been the primary beneficiary of neoliberal economic policies. Actually, the number could be more like 0.0001% or even 0.00001%; recent findings show that the world’s richest 62 billionaires now control more wealth than the entire bottom half of the world’s population.

This is not the “free market at work.” This can happen because billionaires are positioned to exercise their free choices to buy the world’s cooperative political classes and build global structures of domination. None dare call this protectionism!

Those who call Trump a fascist need to check their definitions. If we define it as Mussolini did — as the merging of corporate and governmental control for policy purposes — then do we not have “soft” fascism now??? Surely we have the anti-Trump Stormtroopers!

Missing from the status quo is, of course, the nationalist element Trump has brought back into the conversation. Neoliberal economics has no use for national borders or local laws (e.g., food labeling), because they interfere with the freedom of corporations to do as they please, whatever the consequences to the people who live within those borders.

We have to keep in mind the goal of the billionaire elites: establishing corporate-controlled world government. A single, global regime would replace the nationalist element present in old-style fascism. United Earth Über Alles! One “free market” under corporate boards! It is towards such a regime that globalist political economy has been taking the world: actually for over a century, but when the Soviet Union collapsed the pace accelerated, and since the Meltdown of 2008 it has accelerated faster!

The elites never let a good crisis go to waste!

They both are and should be worried about rising populist unrest all over the world, much of it prompted by inequality and a sense that absent the uprisings we are beginning to see, the majority of the peoples of the world would be denied a say in what happens to them and their communities. Credit the Internet: the fact that people the world over can investigate for themselves, find out who the elites are, and figure out at least a rough sketch of what they want. They see that their lives, livelihoods, and cultures are little more than expendable roadkill on the creative-destructive superhighway leading to United Earth Über Alles.

Upshot: with a President Trump, and with other populist and nationalist leaders around the world (e.g., Rodrigo Duterte, just elected president of the Philippines), we might approach the cusp of what the historian and philosopher of science Thomas S. Kuhn would call a paradigm change in political economy — away from neoliberal corporate-globalism, which has led to massive inequality, civil unrest, cultural devastation and the plundering of natural resources, and finally financial instability via massive indebtedness, the creation of asset bubbles, and fiat currency manipulation and debasement.

Even the International Monetary Fund is now hesitating over the neoliberal political economy it has done much to help create.

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Were the SJWs taking note of all these things, instead of whining about “white privilege” and demanding “safe spaces” free of “micro-aggressions,” I would be impressed. But very few if any seem aware that there are more important things than their feelings of safety.

Be this as it may, where do we go from here?

That’s a much bigger issue, requiring attention to what has worked in the past. It requires, that is, attention to university subjects SJWs have partly destroyed, like history, moral and political philosophy; and a subject the globalists have mostly destroyed, what E.F. Schumacher once called “economics as if people mattered.”

2016 Steven Yates - All Rights Reserved

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Steven Yates has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is the author of Four Cardinal Errors: Reason for the Decline of the American Republic (2011) and Philosophy Is Not Dead: A Vision of the Discipline’s Future (ebook, 2014). He blogs occasionally at He lives in Santiago, Chile with his wife and two spoiled cats, and is working on his own online education project, the New Lyceum Academy for Philosophical Studies (website forthcoming).




I don’t believe in coincidences. If you write a piece like that and it gets circulated, you make enemies. These days, you risk the high-tech equivalent of a brick lobbed through your front window. Behind such acts is a need to intimidate or destroy what is perceived as a threat, whether it’s to the offense-free “safe space” SJWs want or the prospects of a President Donald Trump.