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A Need for Separation of the Press and State

Glenn Greenwald today has this piece on conservative columnist “Charles Krauthammer’s propaganda,” in which Krauthammer criticizes a refusal to acknowledge that it is “radical Islam” that motivates terrorist violence against the U.S., and refers to Krauthammer’s only partially quoting attempted terrorist bomber Faisal Shazhad as evidence. Greenwald notes Krauthammer’s omission of Shazhad’s full statement that Shazhad’s actions are in response to the U.S. government’s drone bombings killing innocent civilians in Pakistan, and in response to other actions against the Middle East by the U.S. government.

To me, for some reason the conservatives are the ones who “refuse to acknowledge” that what has been motivating the terrorists has been the intrusive actions of the U.S. government in the Middle East for 60 years and longer. I don’t understand why the conservatives in the media have been propagandizing rather than telling the whole story in these years since 9/11.

But it’s not just the conservatives. It’s the whole mainstream news media in general. In Glenn Greenwald’s other piece a few days ago on how “thoroughly devoted the American establishment media is to amplifying and serving (rather than checking) government officials,” Greenwald points to the Washington Post, the New York Times and NPR as examples — not exactly right-wing media outlets.

This reminds me of an article Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote for the Mises Institute a few years ago, Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State. In that article, Hoppe notes the difference between “natural elites” and elites who are both sponsored by and promoting of the State. In the old days before our modern democracies took hold, the natural elites were the elites who achieved status through their own abilities and talents, characterized by “wisdom and bravery,” and who possessed “natural authority,” and were those of highly regarded personal conduct and farsightedness, and were the ones that others turned to to act as judges and peacemakers “often free of charge out of a sense of duty.” Hoppe noted how “the State” was actually formed by the monopolization of those functions of judge and peacemaker.

Hoppe notes that, in the transition from monarchies to democracies, the intellectuals were unable to recognize that the problems with justice under monarchies were the rulers’ monopoly of justice and law and instead of promoting the removal of those monopolies from the government, the intellectuals promoted keeping government’s monopoly but just replacing the monarch with “the people” in a democracy. But, as Hoppe notes, “To the intellectuals, this meant by them, as the people’s spokesmen.”

Hoppe goes on to explain in his article what happened to the “natural elites” as democracies evolved:

The fortunes of the great families have dissipated through confiscatory taxes, during life and at the time of death. These families’ tradition of economic independence, intellectual farsightedness, and moral and spiritual leadership have been lost and forgotten. Rich men exist today, but more frequently than not they owe their fortunes directly or indirectly to the state. Hence, they are often more dependent on the state’s continued favors than many people of far-lesser wealth. They are typically no longer the heads of long-established leading families, but “nouveaux riches.” Their conduct is not characterized by virtue, wisdom, dignity, or taste, but is a reflection of the same proletarian mass-culture of present-orientation, opportunism, and hedonism that the rich and famous now share with everyone else.

And Hoppe continues with a critique of “free-market intellectuals,” such as Milton Friedman, and also criticizes Hermione Gingrich and the 1994 so-called “Republican Revolution,” and Gingrich’s praise of the New Deal and Civil Rights Act legislation at that time:

What kind of a revolution is it where the revolutionaries have wholeheartedly accepted the statist premises and causes of the present disaster? Obviously, this can only be labeled a revolution in an intellectual environment that is statist to the core.

Hoppe also noted that “there are more propagandists of democratic rule around today than there were ever propagandists of monarchical rule in all of human history.”

The propagandists are on the left, the right, the center, everywhere on the political map. Propagandists are those who promote the State, who apologize for the State’s abuses and its tyranny against its own people and against those of other nations and territories. And just today we are hearing of a Gen. David Petraeus-Max Boot email “propagandize for me” sideshow goof.

The majority of today’s news media are not the truth-seekers and truth tellers that they were in days past. They are not in the same league as H.L. Mencken, Edward R. Murrow, and certainly not Thomas Paine, nor Thomas Jefferson. And, while journalistic praise was given to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the time of Watergate, just where are they now? And Daniel Ellsberg and the New York Times exposed the offenses of the U.S. government at the height of the Vietnam War, but now the New York Times acts as one the Bush/Obama Wars’ chief propagandist rags.

However, hope is not all lost. As Hans Hoppe notes:

Fortunately, the ideas of individual liberty, private property, freedom of contract and association, personal responsibility and liability, and government power as the primary enemy of liberty and property, will not die out as long as there is a human race, simply because they are true and the truth supports itself.

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