Not Dead

Sorry for the extended absence. Thanks for the emails. Life has required my attention. The podcast will resume. There are 13 episodes sitting on my drive waiting for post-production. Post takes approximately 2 hours per hour of audio. Holidays will continue to hold up process. Maybe Santa will leave a gift here. Otherwise see you next year.

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Feudalism in the USA

stephen-van-rensselaer
Stephen Van Rensselaer III – the last patroon in an American feudal dynasty. Died 1839.

Many writers and commentators of the present day have often remarked that America is moving ever closer to that distant and extinct mode of society, feudalism.  In this hierarchy, power is derived from the owning of property, particularly land, on which the masses must toil and eek out an existence as vassals, in exchange for protection from the land-holding lord.  The feudal lord had absolute dominion over the land and his tenants, creating the laws, exacting tribute, marshaling a police force, and dispensing justice.

While the exact functions of the system 600 years ago are a bit outdated, the general concept can still be readily applied.  The exploited masses woefully indebted, and laboring for a mere subsistence as slaves to a small group of wealthy elite, may sound shocking. Yet it is a pattern perhaps, that some in our society are beginning to see.  It has been termed in the alternative media as neo-feudalism, a more recent incarnation of the old system.

But just how distant a relic was feudalism?  If you have been following our podcast series on the History of Americas 1%, then you will know that land lords with feudal rights colonized America, particularly in New Netherlands (which eventually became New York).  In Parts 1, 2, & 3, we touched on many of the old landed aristocrats, one of the foremost being the Van Rensselaer estate, which comprised a large chunk of New York. These feudal lords remained intrenched there, exacting a ferocious and arbitrary rule over their territory.  However, with the American Revolution came sweeping changes of freedom and manhood suffrage and wiped out the old feudal conditions.  Or did it?

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Herbert Hoover: Capitalist or Socialist?

For no particular reason I decided to browse an old forum I used to visit named the Daily Paul, home of supporters of former U.S. Representative and Presidential hopeful Ron Paul, and what I would call a member of the Libertarian echo-chamber. At this point in time I am finding it healthy (and useful) to pull back from whatever perspective I am currently viewing the world through, and to take a look at things through a different lens. Seeing as how I am currently re-editing (and thus re-listening and reading) some of the works of Gustavus Myers, who writes, unabashedly, from the socialist/populist/progressive/etc. viewpoint, I figured why not take a glance from another end of the spectrum. A “how’s the stench in your neighborhood” type of thing if you will.

The topic I ran across first and which I wanted to address was this one: Some of our newer (and some of the older) Libertarian minded folks need to self-correct. Unfortunately, I couldn’t register to reply directly to the author, so it is doubtful he will ever see this but none the less, why have a blog if not to spew forth more information into the already over-crowded public space? (Sarcasm)

While I would like to address all of the points of the author in that thread, I don’t have the time. But one thing which I will address is this point in the authors list of history that is NOT TRUE: Herbert Hoover was a capitalist. Or, that is to say, that the author thinks that Herbert Hoover was NOT a capitalist. The real history, the author concludes supports that statement. Well then if he wasn’t a capitalist, what was he? A socialist? The answer is probably not as cut-and-dry as one usually is presented…

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