De-Manufacturing Consent-The New Media Revolution: Citizen Journalists & the Battle of Ideas

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Abby Martin

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent: Guillermo is joined by the founder and editor of Media Roots and host of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin. Guillermo and Abby discuss a wide variety of issues and news stories, focusing on the psychological and sociological effects of media in the digital age. We discuss the power of media from across the spectrum, as both a form of societal control and a revolutionary tool. We examine the "dinosaur media" and its inevitable extinction, the new wave of citizen journalism, the problems with "doom and gloom" sensationalism, and the need for true independent alternatives.

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  1. Abby really nailed it at the end of this interview. She mentioned agitation propaganda and false paradigms. And I really appreciate most of Guillermo’s commentary as well.

    I think Abby’s statements from the end should be considered beyond the relatively easy targets of gay-rights and gun abortion. We should also consider the example which was given to us, by Guillermo, right here in this interview.

    After Abby stated that she wasn’t and anarcho-capitalist, because she thinks we do need some ability to regulate, Guillermo first stated that he understood this sentiment, since corporations can also be evil. But, then he added that he is interested in anarcho-capitalism because he trusts the individual more than the collective. This was followed not by an offer for Abby to respond, but a very quick change of subject; you could almost hear his feet as they scampered away from the topic, as if he had seen a ghost.

    First, his comment made no logical or rational sense. Public government and private/corporate government are both made up of individuals.

    Second, it seems that he had no idea that this was duck behavior or a form of the agitation propaganda which Abby mentioned later. Let’s call it ANCAP exceptionalism, since it parallels American exceptionalism with its unquestioning irrational talking points.

    Third, I think that this idea of anarcho-capitalism has been repeatedly introduced here at Boiling Frogs Post with almost no recognition of its detractors, save the one debate about the subject between Willcutts and Molyneaux.

    The repeated news and interview items, from Corbett and Jimenez, being re-published here at BFP are continually rebuked by most commentators here. But, to me, the conversation seems stagnant. It’s not moving forward – maybe because there have been no replies by either James or Guillermo. It is becoming more and more frustrating with each iteration.

    I would love to hear from them about whether or not they can see this as a choice between public and private government, instead of the false paradigm of government vs individual.

  2. Hello Xicha,

    Would you mind defining private government as opposed to public government?


  3. Hi Michel,

    I’ll give it a shot. Please let me know what you think.

    Both would include coercive action to enforce laws and agreements. Both would have individuals with funny hats or badges who have positions to act on behalf of others, who carry out such coercion.

    One is accomplished through privately owned organizations, such as insurance companies, private police and prisons, while the other is accomplished through representative and direct democracy, and publicly regulated institutions.

    One has owners in mind, the other has everyone in mind. One allows owners to vote, the other allows everyone. One respects common ownership (i.e. public lands), the other allows individual ownership of commonly used lands.

    One can be a defense against tyranny. The other a tool for its implementation. The definition of public government cannot be inclusive of tyranny. When public government has been replaced with a private one, especially one that continues to use a veil of public interest, tyranny is the result.

  4. Government should be representative and in the form of a republic. Watching a few ‘man-on-the-street’ interviews will amply illustrate why direct democracy is madness. A democratic republic based on the rule of law is a mechanism intended to buffer governance from transient public hysteria. The idea is that while the ‘people’ may go off the rails occasionally, they will invariably self-correct. So the ideal government would track the long-term migration of society while filtering out the short-term stampedes.

    Unfortunately our society has been decaying for decades, since it has nothing much to do except indulge itself. For the entire lifetimes of most of us, we haven’t been forced to overcome a situation such as the Great Depression or WWII. We haven’t had any big common goals since the moon landings.

    When the screenplay for “2001: A Space Odyssey” was written for the 1968 movie, the assumption was that we would keep up the feverish pace of space exploitation beyond the moon landings. Instead, we cut short the moon program and built a low-earth-orbit truck which lost money with each launch. Now it appears we’ll probably never again have a human being venture beyond earth orbit. It’s too dangerous! So we settle for a handful of robots which send back pretty pictures, which might maintain our attention for about 20 seconds before we go back to whining about not getting enough free stuff. The most telling fact is, this state of affairs doesn’t seem to BOTHER anyone!

    Now, we mostly want government to give us a whole bunch of free stuff. No government can make free stuff appear out of thin air, but we don’t want to hear that, so we vote for whoever is the most grandiose liar. Then we are shocked, utterly shocked! when the corrupt lying bastards we vote in because they promise us impossible free stuff, behave like corrupt lying bastards once in office. But all they have to do is up the ante on how much MORE free stuff they promise to magically wring out of the bureaucracy, and we keep sending them back to office so they can milk more life out of us.

    So we ask, what is the ‘tipping point’ for such a society of mindless cattle? It’s when you have no more milk to be taken, and find yourself ankle-deep in blood and facing the bored-looking guy who has a strange pneumatic device in his hands. That’s when your eyes widen and you say, “Oh!, I finally GET it now!” Then you do get it, right between the eyes.

    When a psychopathic government finally runs hard aground, it’s apt to attempt re-floating itself on a sea of blood, for lack of any better ideas. We are watching our US government build a giant internal security infrastructure, replete with comprehensive surveillance of every form of communication, secret lists of ‘terrorists’, armored vehicles, automatic weapons, military tactics, Iraq-style house clearing en masse, and very soon lethal drones and other remote controlled or autonomous killing machines. Now all they need are sufficient numbers of ‘domestic terrorists’ to direct this mechanism against, which can be created almost instantly by staging another mass-casualty attack and attributing it to some domestic group many people already fear.

    Those Sarah Palin-loving, motorcycle-riding veterans look pretty dangerous, don’t they? (They all have big GUNS, you know.) Many of them also have traumatic brain injury. What if a bunch of them get together somewhere, have a few beers, start whooping and hollering and waving guns and Sarah Palin posters, and go on a bloody RAMPAGE in a crowded mall? Yikes!

    Those Anonymous creeps in their Vendetta masks, they could start blowing up stuff any day now! They could be in cahoots with the hoodlums from OWS, couldn’t they? They could stage some kind of mass casualty cyber-attack, like making every airliner over Texas and Oklahoma fly by remote control into the Pantex plant! Couldn’t they? OMIGOD!

    There’s 80 MILLION gun-huggers in this country! If we apply the same 10% math as we do for Islamic jihadists, that means 8 MILLION of those gun-huggers are potential terrorists! My God, we need to lock down this country NOW! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! (running about in circles, waving arms wildly in the air, eyes rolling, head flopping back and forth, flinging spittle…)

    That sounds silly, but remember the climate immediately after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks? In that climate they slapped the name ‘Patriot’ on an odious piece of pre-written Orwellian legislation and crammed it down our cheering throats. It could happen again on a bigger scale, and we’d fall for it again, on a bigger scale.

  5. Knarf, consider a public school funding referendum. This represents voters who are engaging in direct democracy and who aren’t as selfish as you portray, as they are voting for a property tax increase. Direct democracy might be more practical at a local level, but can be a part of the mix.

    As for the corruption and militarization of government, the creation of the national security state, as well as the mindless fascination with meaningless gadgets and TV shows, I would source those all at private capitalists, who have corrupted our public government and use it as a tool for tyranny. Who makes those ads? Who controls the “news”? Who are the puppeteers of our elected officials? A bunch of Anarcho-Capitalists, who venture into voluntary agreements with each other, but who have almost completely destroyed the government that was meant to stop them from creating this tyranny.

    I have watched the sell off, of public lands in my hometown, to private parties. Lands with historical landmarks that have been used for hundreds of years by the public, now fenced off, with the actual landmark signage moved down the road. No one can use this space any more; we can only drive by and stare at the new privacy fence in disgust. Keep Out! Liberty, my ass.

  6. The “Federal” Reserve is another example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  7. Hey Michel,

    Here is one well-known anarcho-capitalist’s explanation of a privately run criminal justice system.

  8. @Xicha: Thanks for the reply. As I understand your definition, a public government consists of badge-wearers who are delegated by one group of individuals to coerce another group of individuals. An essential feature is that the badge-wearers are electable by the combination of the delegators and the coerced (“everyone”).

    In contrast, a private government is a public government where the badge-wearers are either (a) not electable by everyone, and/or (b) manipulated by a subset of everyone.

    If this is a fair re-phrasing of your definition, what does it matter to the coerced whether the badge-wearers are manipulated?

  9. @HAL 9000: Thanks for the video. It’s fascinating idea to consider under different estimates of evil or amoral people within society.

  10. Hi Michel,

    No, it’s not a fair re-phrasing of my definition.

    First, I used the word “include”. This aspect alone does not define either. The bit about coercive badge wearers was meant to explain that they will exist in the so-called ANCAP society as well. Would you agree that there is a difference between the USE of force (coercion) and the ABUSE of force (violence)?

    Second, you said “a private government is a public government where…” No, that is not correct. A private government is a private government, not a version of a public government. Private governments and ANCAPs don’t recognize the existence of a public.

    I have a feeling you’re looking at some kind of Customer Relationship Management software and need some keywords and technicalities to punch in. Sort of like Molyneaux’s strategy in his debate with Willcutts. Do you have any practical insights into this discussion?

    Why was Molyneuax’s private police grid fascinating to you? Did you fall for his number of evil people heads-I-win-tails-you-lose speech at the beginning?

    Can you recognize what I have been saying about private interests, under the veil of public government, being behind most of the worlds current problems?

  11. Xicha,

    Yes of course, for local issues direct democracy is the most practical method. We normally address the national government, but I was not explicit.

    What I also may have failed to make explicit, is that no government can be better than the people it purports to represent. The American people have lost their minds and their way; they’ve been purposely divided up into squabbling interest groups, and their halls of government have been hijacked by hucksters and psychopaths. This is not some kind of secret written in runes. It’s becoming more obvious every day thanks to alternative information routes and sources, such as BF.

    A sequence of events is being set in motion: More people are realizing their highest government officials and the largest corporate entities are psychopathic criminals who abuse the instruments of national power for their own benefit. The criminals are responding to this awareness by ramping up the fear mongering and totalitarian policies, because they have nothing else. The desperate tactics of psychopathic government, in turn, forces more people to wake up, and so it snowballs.

    It’s a given the psychopaths will go open loop at some point, and crash and burn. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

    If you’ve ever set a brush fire in the mind of a friend or relative, you are familiar with the symptoms of simultaneous excitement and grief. The excitement of discovering a rational way of seeing the world, and the grief for long-held illusions and delusions which get burned to the ground. Then comes the anger…

  12. Well said, Knarf.

    I just had an idea. You know how some people would like to nationalize our natural resources? That way, we would take control of them away from private corporations, some of them foreign.

    Well, I’d like a bumper sticker that says “Nationalize our Federal Government! “

  13. jackdonovan says:

    Guillermo, I think that George W.’s goofiness was very well crafted by his PR team. After all, they couldn’t have public perception that the President wasn’t dumb at all… He actually put into place a cornerstone of a New American Century.

  14. Hello Xicha,

    I agree that there is a difference between the use versus abuse of force.

    I’m unfamiliar with the Molyneux-Willcutts debate.

    I did fall for the proportion of evil people versus good people as an interesting consideration. What I think is fascinating is to compare the options that good and bad people have (as members or customers; as members or employees; as external parties) under different DROs. I wonder about how they can be used and abused, and how can good and bad people can react to those actions.

    And, I totally see and agree with you that private interests, under the veil of public government, are behind most problems. But I think that where we part ways is in the existence of a public interest. If all of the people share a common interest, then I would agree with calling it a public interest. But every individual has various interests, and I’m hard-pressed to think of a single common interest that all people share (even living is not an interest shared by all people). Because of that, I think all government is private in the sense that each individual act by badge-wearers is in the interest of one group of people, but is doubtfully in the interest of everyone.

  15. Hi Michel,

    Thanks for letting me know what you think about it.

    Is it not a public interest to have liberty?

    There should be a way for individuals who don’t value life or liberty to walk away from being a member of the public. Wait, there is already 😉

    Could you see this idea of ANCAP as possibly being a trick, by the oligarchs? One that is creeping its way into the resistance? One that ultimately tries to convince an audience to remove themselves from the resistance? To want collapse?

    I have started to see it this way. I still respect Corbett and Jimenez and don’t think they are conscious of the fact that they are being duped by this idea.

  16. You’re welcome, Xicha. Although, I’m still curious about how you define public interest.

    Since you know my opinion about public interest, I’ll aim to answer the spirit of your question. As to what is: clearly, looking around at our world, most people are not interested in liberty. As to what ought to be: I’m reluctant to answer that everyone should be interested in anything. However, I prefer those who do, and despise anyone who would infringe on the liberty of others.

    I agree that there are many ways to rule others, and divide and conquer via a collapse is certainly one option. However, if I were an oligarch, the easiest path would be to maintain a manipulated central government (ala your private government under the veil of a public government). But, a comment by Knarf (“… and the grief for long-held illusions and delusions which get burned to the ground.”) reminded me of a quote from Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”:

    “Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

    There is more than one way to resist.

  17. I’d call the public everyone in a society or community. Interest is something beneficial.

    On the possibility of oligarchs supporting the insertion of ANCAP talking points into pockets of resistance, I think the most important part is to create a division. Collapse isn’t necessarily a goal of the oligarchs, but an ineffective resistance to tyranny is.

    On the question about whether or not everyone should want liberty, I can ask you: should everyone have the liberty to decide how much liberty they either have or want? There’s your public interest. I could ask the same of you about life: should everyone be able to live to choose whether or not they value life? But I think the first question about liberty covers that already.

    On Paine: the key word is “necessary”. Look at what he says are the two equally bad situations. No government (which I would say means private government) and government in its worst state. So we are left with anything better than no government, or government in its worst state, as an improvement. The goal being a mere necessary evil, in his words.

  18. I appreciate your thoughtful reply, Xicha.

    I whole-heartedly agree with the (loose) statement that “everyone have the liberty to decide how much liberty they either have or want.”

    But, if there are some who value liberty, some who are indifferent, and some who are opposed, then what is the public interest with regards to liberty?

  19. Everyone shlould have liberty. Only then can individuals impose limits on themselves, but not others. That is a public interest.

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