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Space for Rent: The Past is Prologue


These words were not uttered by Steven Bannon, but the fact that the American media and public cowered in fear while they were uttered led to our current situation. We were warned that trading liberty for security was a dangerous precedent. We were told that the machine of State engorged itself on the life’s blood of entire nations. We witnessed the torture of thousands in our name.

Buy why were they allowed?

Theodore Roosevelt.

Wait? What?

Yes, old Theo was an imperialist. In the late 19th century he was one of many. But he was different in one respect. He created an unspoken bargain with the American people. Allow the State a free hand to create a overseas empire and in return some of the profits of that empire would be shared with the people. Old Theo created a sort of Rubicon, an invisible wall between the outer Empire and the inner Republic. Subsequent presidents, from his cousin Franklin to Tricky Dick (yes, that Nixon), expanded the bargain. But the industrialist hated the grand bargain. They wanted no distinction between the outer provinces and the home territories. Their hatred grew as protections were extended (to a degree) to classes of people that once they could easily prey upon, such as Native Americans, Blacks, and second generation immigrants. They wanted nothing more than to drain the Rubicon.

And they have done so, bit by bit:

Carter’s experiments with neo-liberalism.

Reagan’s union busting trickle-down economics.

Clinton’s “Free” trade agreements and welfare reforms.

Bush’s creation of the Security State.

Obama’s failure to dismantle said SS.

And now, to paraphrase that old refrain, “They came for all the world…and now the came for me.”

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