Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Influence of Henry George in England, by John A. Hobson


The social philosophy of the "West-End club contains a doctrine of "agitation" which easily explains the influence of such a man as Henry George. "Agitation" thus interpreted implies neither a genuine grievance in the agitated, nor an honest purpose in the agitator; for the one is substituted an irrational discontent, for the other a mere lust for popularity and power. The agitator thus conceived is an uninstructed "spouter," who plays upon a natural fund of envy and cupidity latent in the masses, stimulating an attack upon the established order of things. By such foolish and dishonest means, somehow or other, dangerous social forces are generated, threatening the material and moral prosperity of society. Quite unsupported by history or psychology, this doctrine is completely satisfactory to those who hold it. Yet it is evidently of such a nature as not to merit serious refutation. Deriving something from nothing, assigning an effect without anything that can be called a cause, it stands upon the same level of irrationality with that " rationalism" to which the religions of the world are nothing but recurrent bubbles of illusion created by a persistent human capacity for error.

Plain contradiction is the only appropriate refutation. It must, therefore, suffice to say that an agitation can only succeed if there is something to agitate, some real, deep-grounded passion or conviction to which an appeal can be made, the product of the pressure of some genuine need or aspiration. Henry George was indeed distinctively a great" agitator," but in order to understand the nature of his power, it is best to turn first to the matter agitated, and afterwards to the mode of his agitation. The specifically economic character of George's "mission" is its peculiar note. But we must recognise at the outset that the substance of George's land theory and policy was nothing new; he is not to be looked upon as a fanatic, who conjured out of his imagination, or his private experience, some brand-new doctrine which he sought to impose upon the popular mind. Those who would thus conceive him are forgetful or ignorant of the tenor of the peculiarly English science of Political Economy, which, from John Locke to J. S. Mill, may be regarded as continually engaged in undermining the ideas of justice and social utility attaching to private property in land. The anomalous position of the landowner received early emphasis in English theories of "Distribution." In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith never tires of pointing the contrast between labourers and capitalists, who receive their remuneration for services personally rendered, and landowners who do nothing for the rent they take. He also plainly indicates the power of the landowner to enhance his taxation of the rising national wealth. "Every improvement in the circumstances of the society tends, either directly or indirectly, to raise the real rent of land, to increase the real wealth of the landlord, his power of purchasing the labour, or the produce of the labour, of other people." It is significant that from the heterogeneous armoury of Ricardo, not only the social democrat, but the land nationaliser draws his most effective weapons. The more rigorous formulation of the law of rent obliged Ricardo to take a step in advance of Adam Smith, by assigning to landowners the economic power to take not merely an absolutely larger rent, but a constantly growing proportion of the national wealth at the expense of the industrial classes. "The economical progress of a society constituted of landlords, capitalists, and labourers tends to the progressive enrichment of the landlord class; while the cost of the labourers' subsistence tends on the whole to increase and profits to fall." It only remained for J. S. Mill to impart a fuller meaning to this theory by illustrating the power of the landowner to take in enhanced rent the results definitely due to the skill and energy of other persons, and to develop a curative policy of taxation of " unearned increment."

These allusions to the most prominent teachers of political economy will suffice to show that the trend of economic theory in this country has been to lay stress upon the opposition of interests between landowners and other industrial classes, and to impute to the former an increasing power to extort from the latter a growing proportion of the wealth produced by them.

It is true that most political economists, sometimes induced by a proper regard for the limits of science, sometimes by timidity, have abstained from the plain advocacy of a remedy, and have contented themselves with pointing out the theoretic powers of landowners to reap where they have not sown. But the margin between theory and practice is here peculiarly thin, and not only Mill, but other teachers of political economy, both in England and on the Continent, have stepped from the indicative mood of economic science into the imperative mood of politics in advocating social defence against the antisocial powers of the landowner.

George did not even originate the policy of the "Single-tax" on land most distinctively associated with his name. The small step from the physiocratic doctrine that all taxation was, in fact, borne by rent, to the position that all taxation ought to be so borne, was taken by more than one would-be reformer of this century.

The real importance of Henry George is derived from the fact that he was able to drive an abstract notion, that of economic rent, into the minds of a large number of "practical" men, and to generate therefrom a social movement. It must be understood that the minds into which George dropped his seed were, for the most part, "virgin soil"; the teaching of economists to whom allusion has been made had never reached the ear of most of them, or had passed unheeded. The populariser of a new idea requires for his task a certain capacity of dramatic exaggeration. This is needed to teach, it is still more needed if the direct object of the teacher is to incite to action.

In this work personality and opportunity alike favoured Henry George. Keenly intelligent, genial and sympathetic, his nature contained that flavour of obstinacy which borders on fascination, and which is rightly recognised as essential to the missionary. A passionate attachment to the cause of the poor, derived from the experiences of a varied life, was the true source of his power with tongue and pen. The habit of speaking and of writing in America is less restrained than ours, the academic influences are weaker, even in the intellectual world more dramatic modes of expression are practised. Henry George had all the popular gifts of the American orator and journalist, with something more. Sincerity rang out of every utterance. Sparing in book knowledge, he had hammered out his thoughts upon the forge of personal experience, and showed them hot from the hammer, rude and unfinished in form. For this very reason Progress and Poverty, a stumbling block to responsible politicians, to the economic professor foolishness, struck the common mind of the thinking people with convincing and dramatic force. The influence of this first book of serious economic import which ever reached the outer circle of the English reading public, is not to be slighted. It is a matter of deep significance that such a book should have reached a circulation of far upwards of a hundred thousand copies. Upon the pressure of the early popularity of his book, Henry George threw the weight of his present personality, and his great gifts as orator and debater secured his influence, and widely advertised his doctrines at a time particularly favourable to their reception. His dialectic may not have satisfied the trained critic in economic issues, but the persuasive and effective illustrations which it carried were well calculated to impress the average man. Nor is this designed as a depreciatory criticism. The refusal to qualify, the dramatic exaggeration, even the argumentum ad hominem are justifiable and indeed necessary instruments in such work of education. A single illustration brings home the nature of this power. When Henry George was present at a meeting of the Lords' Committee upon Sweating, a number of miserable workers from Cradley Heath were there for examination, George turned to a friend and said, "Why have you brought these people here? To find out why they are poor? "Why, here is the cause," pointing to the noble lords who constituted the committee, "and here is the effect," pointing to the witnesses.

But while a powerful, perhaps a fanatical, passion motived his career as agitator, it never dominated his speech or writing. He was essentially argumentative in method; though passionate rhetorical appeals are not infrequent, such passages were appendages to, and not substitutes for, reasoning. Henry George clearly understood that his business was to teach men to think who were not in the habit of thinking on such matters, and few writers upon economic subjects are so lucid, simple, and consecutive in their presentation of an argument. For this very reason, those who find his "economics" faulty and reject his conclusions, are able to lay their finger upon the precise points of error, which the critics of more involved and more metaphysical exponents of revolutionary doctrine, as, for example, Marx, are notoriously incapable of doing. Bright, pointed, and vigorous, he never failed to make his meaning understood, and he must rank extremely high as a teacher who first brought home to a large section of the public the need and the interest of economic study.

A certain dramatic opportuneness attending the advent of Progress and Poverty gave to Henry George the public ear. A voice from the Far West of America, a land of boundless promise, where, if anywhere, it might seem that freedom and material progress were secure possessions of honest labour, announced grinding poverty, the squalor of congested city life, unemployment, and utter helplessness. Though huge tracts of uncultivated land awaited the spade and plough, the willing and able hands which could work the soil were shut out of all access to the raw materials of wealth. California and the rich West had fallen into the hands of private owners, wealthy syndicates, or domineering railway companies, taken from the people, sold for an old song, or assigned as a gift to persons who had no intention of occupying or working the land, but who held it for profit. Hence in the newest portion of the bright New World, amidst a sparse population of civilised white men, perhaps better educated and more energetic than any other people in the world, endowed with political freedom and institutions of self-government, the same social maladies arose which the sanguine temperament of America had hitherto regarded as natural results of congestion, misgovernment, or incapacity in the effete old world. The picture which George presented, even if highly coloured, was substantially correct, though his analysis of causes was defective, and it dealt a severe shock to that doctrine of progress by the normal development of industrialism upon the existing basis of property which prophets of free trade had preached for two generations in this country. When Progress and Poverty appeared, the vast majority of those who seriously concerned themselves with "the condition of the people " in this country believed that the expansion of education and intelligence among the working classes, the growth of thrift and of other organised habits of self-help, improved administration of the Poor Law and of charitable energy, assisted by the higher wages which, it was held, must follow the rapid development of modern methods of production, were gradually reducing the sum of poverty and misery, and that the unfettered action of these forces sufficed for the gradual and safe solution of the darkest social problems.

Although the thinking members of the working classes had never thoroughly accepted this laisser-faire theory of the doctrinaire radical and the political free trader, they had unconsciously absorbed some of its complacency and its disbelief in the need of governmental action.

Henry George shook this complacency, and, what is more, he gave definiteness to the feeling of discontent by assigning an easily intelligible economic cause. It is not without significance that Progress and Poverty appeared in the year 1879, which marks the turn in the tide of agricultural prosperity in this country. The following years of gradually deepening depression brought rural land questions more and more to the front and that divorcement of the people from the soil, which formed the kernel of the social problem according to George, assumed increasing prominence. The phenomenally rapid growth of large industrial towns, with their close concentration of working population, the direct and obvious result of our free trade policy, had been quickly ripening the land question in the towns, and the rising standard of sanitation and of other civic needs was driving home to municipal reformers a sense of conflict between the public interest of the town and the private interests of the owners of town land.

The pressure of these forces had awakened a good deal of incoherent sentiment directed against landlordism. George welded this loose sentiment into a coherent positive conviction. So far as his appeal was directed to personal and obvious interests, England was even a more favourable field than the United States. For in America, notwithstanding the encroachment of large landownership and the growth of mortgages and tenancy, a very large proportion of citizens had a direct stake in the land. England, on the other hand, is vested in a smaller number of owners than any other country of equal population, and nowhere else have the vast majority of actual cultivators so slight a property or interest in the land they cultivate. Thus a peculiarly effective presentment of the iniquity of landlordism, dramatically concentrated in a small class, was possible in England. Moreover, George's ability enabled him to fully utilise that advantage which land grievances possess over most other economic issues, their susceptibility to powerful concrete local illustration. Many of our towns belong to a few noblemen or wealthy persons who are familiar personages, and whose actual economic power is visibly and constantly exercised. The nature of economic rent and the power of the landowner can thus be made clear to the meanest intelligence.

To some it has seemed strange that the highly exaggerated power which George assigned to landowners should have gained acceptance among any class of Englishmen.

By what is termed the " Crusoe method " of illustration, it was not difficult for George to show that a single landowner or a small body of landowners might, by a ruthless use of their economic might as controllers of the raw material of wealth and the conditions of physical subsistence, keep down in utter servitude the rest of the population, taking in rent the results of all improvements in the arts of industry, and leaving to the producers only so much of the produce as would keep them alive and in working efficiency.

Some have found it hard to understand that many in this country should accept a theory which posits the landowner as the "residual claimant" in the scheme of distribution, and assigns him the power to take every increase of wealth beyond the minimum requisite to sustain labour and capital. The most casual reflection upon the recent course of English industrial history would seem to make it evident that other classes have partaken, and more fully than the landowners, in the immense growth of industrial wealth during this century. If England were enclosed by a ring fence of prohibitive tariffs, if all the land were engaged in producing food and other raw materials of wealth, if the full powers to draw economic rents were rigidly enforced, George's contention would have some tolerably close relation to the truth. But the merest tyro in economic thinking must perceive that the power of competing landowners to tax the manufacturing and commercial classes falls far short of their power over the agricultural and mining classes, and that even in the latter case the constant expansion of the area of production of food and raw materials for our market clips the wings of English land-lordism.

Those who regard the nationalisation of the land of England as a cure for all the ills that states are heir to, ignore the leading feature of our modern commercial policy, its internationalism. Grant their major premiss, that common ownership and control of land will secure equality of economic opportunities for all citizens and cut away the natural supports of all industrial monopolies, can such a consummation be attained for us by nationalising the land of England? Is not the land of America, China, Egypt, Russia, and all other countries, which by trade intercourse supply us with food and materials of manufacture, as integral a part of England for economic purposes as the land of Kent or Devon? No ultimate solution of the land question or any other social problem is even theoretically possible upon a strictly national basis. Neither the theory which posits " land" as the residual claimant in distribution, nor the policy which assumes that political limits are coterminous with economic limits, can gain any wide and permanent acceptance among thoughtful people.

The adoption of George's theoretic position, so far as it has gained ground, must be imputed to a certain tendency among lovers of abstract reasoning to swallow premisses which will yield a compact and portable body of judgments conformable to certain preconceived opinions. Even such notable thinkers as Ricardo and J. S. Mill, we saw, stopped only a little short of George's conclusions when they closed their eyes to the facts of industrial life and abandoned themselves to an abstract analysis of rent.

Indeed, this fallacy of a residual claimant is not by any means confined to land nationalisers. The whole structure of economic science is honeycombed by the fallacy of a theory of distribution which assumes that of the three factors of production, land, labour, and capital, two of them may be considered to be fixed charges upon the product, while the third is in the position to take all the surplus that remains after the others are paid off. The Marxian Socialists practically place capital in this position. Other " orthodox" economists - General Walker, for example - give the place to labour. Henry George and his followers merely play the third remaining variation of the fallacy.

But George's true influence is not rightly measured by the small following of theorists who impute to landlords this supreme power of monopoly. Large numbers who would not press this extreme contention are disciples of Henry George because they regard unqualified private ownership of land to be the most obviously unjust and burdensome feature in our present social economy. The spirit of humanitarian and religious appeal which suffuses Progress and Poverty wrought powerfully upon a large section of what I may call typical English moralists. In my lectures upon Political Economy about the country, I have found in almost every centre a certain little knot of men of the lower-middle or upper-working class, men of grit and character, largely self-educated, keen citizens, mostly nonconformists in religion, to whom Land Nationalisation, taxation of unearned increment, or other radical reforms of land tenure, are doctrines resting upon a plain moral sanction. These free-trading Radical dissenters regard common ownership of and equal access to the land as a "natural right," essential to individual freedom. It is this attitude of mind which serves to explain why, when both theoretic students of society and the man in the street regard Land Nationalisation as a first and a large step in the direction of Socialism, organized Socialists regard the followers of Henry George with undisguised hostility and contempt.

In fact, Land Nationalisation stands upon two widely different and philosophically inconsistent bases. To those who take their stand upon the "natural rights " of the individual it is the coping-stone of a free-trade policy. Equal access to the resources of nature seems essential, if liberty to labour and to accumulate property is to be equally secured to all. To such thinkers "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," constitutes at once sound morality and useful policy: that an absentee landowner should take away the value which God or man's labour has imparted to land appears a plain violation of honesty and a direct discouragement to industry. "To every one the right to work on land and to enjoy the full fruits of his labour," -this sums up the Individualist basis of Land Nationalisation. Such men sternly repudiate the notion of extending public ownership and control to capital, and of " nationalising " all the instruments of production. Land and labour they hold are the only original requisites of wealth-production: let each man own himself and have an equal use of nature with every other man. and all will be well. George himself stood out boldly in his repudiation of Socialism and entered a strong and ingenious defence of profit and interest. How comes it, then, that Georgism is so closely associated in the public mind with Socialism? It is not due to mere laxity of thought. For while George has many followers who stand by his ideal of full free trade, there are many more to whom Progress and Poverty has been a stepping-stone to a more or less formal Socialism. This is explained by the other basis of Land Nationalisation, the recognition not of the rights of the individual, but of the definitely social origin and character of land-values, the apprehension of the truth that they spring from and embody, not merely the energy of this or that tenant or labourer, but the common activities of an organised society, and the constantly growing material needs of an increasing population. This idea of rent as a definitely social product emerges with tolerable frequency in George's writings, but it does not form the main strand of his argument; his appeal is more usually to individual than to social rights. He, therefore, never fully confronted the question which takes this shape: "Are not all values, those which reside in forms of capital as well as in land, due to the operation of social forces, arising from the needs and activities of organised society, and not resoluble into the results of the action of the several units which form the society?"

The answer to such a question depends upon the conception we form of the relation of individuals to one another in society - i.e., of the organic character imputed to society. George never clearly faced this question. Among his followers many have accustomed themselves to draw their arguments, now from the Individualist now from the Socialist armoury, and to stand aloof from the wider issue. Others accept Land Nationalisation either as avowed Individualists or as Socialists. The rift is curiously visible in the policy of the two English societies which attack the land question as a whole. The Land Nationalisation Society, though rejecting the "no compensation" policy of George, visibly clings to the idea of individual rights, claiming for every citizen the option to occupy a definite piece of land with full effective proprietorship. The Land Restoration League, on the other hand, fastens its eyes definitely upon the social origin of rent and land-values, and seeks to secure this public property by process of taxation.

The influence of George is not, however, to be measured by the number or zeal of the advocates of a wholesale policy of nationalisation of the land. It is rather to be traced in the energy which, during the last fifteen years, has freely flowed into many channels of land reform.

Heroic remedies are little to the taste of Englishmen: a more discriminative logic rules their policy. The spirit of reform awakened by Henry George manifested itself, not in one, but in many movements directed to the redress of specific grievances and the attainment of specific aspirations in connection with the land. For practical purposes, therefore, there is not one land question, but many. Town and country, agriculture, mines, manufacture, transport, residential and industrial use, each discloses its own set of problems claiming study and solution. A vast reticulation of separate organisations has arisen to enforce existing laws and to secure further legislation curtailing the powers of landowners; societies for the preservation of existing public rights over footpaths and commons; for the protection of tenant rights and the attainment of freedom of cultivation and security of property in improvements; for the registration of titles to land and mortgages; for the abolition of tithes, the enfranchisement of leasehold land, abolition of entail, and the removal of all other barriers which separate land from other forms of property, and prevent its free transfer. Many of these movements are not in just line with the tenor of George's policy, but all of them have been vitalised by the spirit of his agitation. No one can fail to perceive in every legislative and administrative body in the country, from the House of Commons to the Board of Guardians and the Parish Council, an increased desire to confront, in a more liberal public spirit, the particular problems of land policy which lie within their purview. In various ways and at various paces these numerous land-issues are ripening in England. Size and the pressure of social needs are bringing a few of them rapidly to the front of the political platform. Though England will never attack the land question en bloc, certain large sections have visibly advanced during the last few years. The demand for effective national control of the railroads, our modern highways, is the most definite advance towards a policy of nationalisation, and probably commands a wider and more heterogeneous support than any other movement of radical reform. In the field of municipal politics, the taxation of ground rents and values has already won the complete formal adherence of one great political party, while the justice of taxation of "unearned increment" from public improvements may be considered to have gained an even wider theoretic recognition. Practical difficulties, however, in enforcing public claims by the instrument of taxation are generating a powerful support for a policy of municipal ownership, which receives material assistance from the successful experience of several of our most progressive municipalities. Corresponding to this growing tendency to recognise the utility of municipal ownership and control of town lands, is the tendency to seek some solution for the more urgent rural grievances, by placing more power to acquire the ownership or practical control of agricultural land in the hands of locally elected bodies.

While a clearer apprehension of the complexity of the land question has thus led practical reformers to resolve unity into multiplicity, it is not difficult to discern a cohesive and co-operative character underlying these several movements of land reform. Most of them are definitely, and in part consciously, aiming to secure that fuller public property in the resources of nature, that fuller social control over the uses of land for human industry and human enjoyment which found in Henry George their most powerful advocate.

No doubt it is easy to impute excessive influence to the mouthpiece of a rising popular sentiment. George, like other prophets, cooperated with the " spirit of the age." But after this just allowance has been made, Henry George may be considered to have exercised a more directly powerful formative and educative influence over English radicalism of the last fifteen years than any other man.

J. A. Hobson

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Woodrow Wilson defends his campaign pledge to be an Unconstitutional Governor

On October 3rd, 1910, at a campaign rally at the Taylor Opera House, Woodrow Wilson said the following:
If you elect me I will be an unconstitutional Governor in that respect. I will talk to the people as well as to the Legislature, and I will use all moral force with that body to bring about what the people demand. I am going to take every important debate in the Legislature out on the stump and discuss it with them. If the people do not agree, then no harm will be done to the legislators, but the people will have their way in things. This is serving the spirit of the Constitution.

I have heard of such a thing as 'the Beard of Guardians'. Is that the constitutional body Mr. Lewis will obey? If it is, the Constitution ought to be changed. The Governor is elected in this State, and if he does not talk the people have no spokesman. I welcome upon the platform any politician who wants to talk. If you elect me your governor I propose to be your spokesman.

I have posted several times about Wilson's pledge to be an unconstitutional governor, but as I am usually good about doing,(when I find them) I wanted to post another article on the same topic to show how it was not just a one time comment on his part. I particularly like this line about "no harm being done to the legislators", which on the one hand carries plenty of implications on its own. On the other the more important follow up question is something along the lines of "what about the damage done to constitutional republicanism and the rule of law?"

You can find Wilson's quote in (of all places) the New York Times. DR. WILSON SAYS HE IS OWNED BY NO ONE, October 04, 1910.

The last thing of note, I think, is how even back then in 1910 the NY Times had no interest in defending the Constitution(any of them) and the rule of law. Campaign rhetoric is treated as just that - as if it has its own basis and starts today. The only two balances are what one or the other person says, not the anchors of right reason and Constitutional protections of the people.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Los Documentos Federalistas Completa - The Federalist Papers En Español

A few of my readers may remember that some time ago I worked with a few people to produce a Spanish translation of one of George Washington's speeches, and placed it on YouTube.

I always planned on a repeat, but this time I wanted to do something much larger. The Federalist Papers in Spanish. Fortunately this work is already done. Luckily, the work we did translating G.W. allows me to now partially read Spanish and be capable of understanding a little bit of it. I had to conduct a few Spanish-language searches to find that this existed. Also available on

La Declaración de Independencia

La Constitución de Estados Unidos

Carta de George Washington a la Congregación Hebrea

Abraham Lincoln: El Discurso de Gettysburg

Ronald Reagan: La marcha de la libertad

Something I noticed that I want to make sure gets mentioned - the Federalista are only downloadable in a PDF document, but this document has no copyright notices on it. So as long as you and I are only using this for educational purposes, I am sure that they will be more than happy to see us spread it around.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Is "expert" a new euphemism for "dictatorship"?

Long after finishing the book "Public Opinion", I still have many notes written about it. Another is that progressives use the lofty position as "expert" as a means of shutting down debate and thus getting what they want. I'm sure I've brushed into this many times indirectly, but now is a good time as any to be as direct as possible about it. Starting on page 399:

As a private citizen, as a sovereign voter, no one could attempt to digest these documents. But as one party to a dispute, as a committeeman in a legislature, as an officer in government, business, or a trade union, as a member of an industrial council, reports on the specific matter at issue will be increasingly welcome. The private citizen interested in some cause would belong, as he does now, to voluntary societies which employed a staff to study the documents, and make reports that served as a check on officialdom. There would be some study of this material by newspaper men, and a good deal by experts and by political scientists. But the outsider, and every one of us is an outsider to all but a few aspects of modern life, has neither time, nor attention, nor interest, nor the equipment for specific judgment. It is on the men inside, working under conditions that are sound, that the daily administrations of society must rest.

The general public outside can arrive at judgments about whether these conditions are sound only on the result after the event, and on the procedure before the event. The broad principles on which the action of public opinion can be continuous are essentially principles of procedure. The outsider can ask experts to tell him whether the relevant facts were duly considered; he cannot in most cases decide for himself what is relevant or what is due consideration. The outsider can perhaps judge whether the groups interested in the decision were properly heard, whether the ballot, if there was one, was honestly taken, and perhaps whether the result was honestly accepted. He can watch the procedure when the news indicates that there is something to watch. He can raise a question as to whether the procedure itself is right, if its normal results conflict with his ideal of a good life. (3) But if he tries in every case to substitute himself for the procedure, to bring in Public Opinion like a providential uncle in the crisis of a play, he will confound his own confusion. He will not follow any train of thought consecutively.

For the practice of appealing to the public on all sorts of intricate matters means almost always a desire to escape criticism from those who know by enlisting a large majority which has had no chance to know. The verdict is made to depend on who has the loudest or the most entrancing voice, the most skilful or the most brazen publicity man, the best access to the most space in the newspapers. For even when the editor is scrupulously fair to "the other side," fairness is not enough. There may be several other sides, unmentioned by any of the organized, financed and active partisans.

The private citizen, beset by partisan appeals for the loan of his Public Opinion, will soon see, perhaps, that these appeals are not a compliment to his intelligence, but an imposition on his good nature and an insult to his sense of evidence. As his civic education takes account of the complexity of his environment, he will concern himself about the equity and the sanity of procedure, and even this he will in most cases expect his elected representative to watch for him. He will refuse himself to accept the burden of these decisions, and will turn down his thumbs in most cases on those who, in their hurry to win, rush from the conference table with the first dope for the reporters.

Only by insisting that problems shall not come up to him until they have passed through a procedure, can the busy citizen of a modern state hope to deal with them in a form that is intelligible. For issues, as they are stated by a partisan, almost always consist of an intricate series of facts, as he has observed them, surrounded by a large fatty mass of stereotyped phrases charged with his emotion. According to the fashion of the day, he will emerge from the conference room insisting that what he wants is some soulfilling idea like Justice, Welfare, Americanism, Socialism. On such issues the citizen outside can sometimes be provoked to fear or admiration, but to judgment never. Before he can do anything with the argument, the fat has to be boiled out of it for him.

That can be done by having the representative inside carry on discussion in the presence of some one, chairman or mediator, who forces the discussion to deal with the analyses supplied by experts.

When he says "representative inside", he is talking about a few paragraphs up, where importance is placed upon "insiders" as opposed to "outsiders". In other words, the insiders have all the information, and the outsiders are clueless as to what is going on.

This is important to understand, because of what this structure then does. On the one side, the expert supplies information to the uninformed, while another expert, the much vaunted "insider", sits on the other side of the uninformed and carries on a discussion with him/her.

In this, the progressives really can have it both ways because they control what comes in, and control what goes out. He continues:

The partisan voices should be there, but the partisans should find themselves confronted with men, not personally involved, who control enough facts and have the dialectical skill to sort out what is real perception from what is stereotype, pattern and elaboration.

Is there anybody who dares to challenge this? What are your credentials? Who are you to tell me, him, or anybody else if you have none? Or your credentials are lesser? Well then, you have no authority here, the credentials have spoken.

That's really the bottom line. Authority. That last line really puts the point to all of this. Experts control what comes in, they control what comes out, and even during the debate, the "partisans" get filtered by even more experts so that the uninformed only hear what the progressives want them to hear. Total authority. Total control. Dictatorship.

The next line after that is also very telling:

It is the Socratic dialogue, with all of Socrates's energy for breaking through words to meanings, and something more than that, because the dialectic in modern life must be done by men who have explored the environment as well as the human mind.

That's really what this whole book is about. On the surface, it would seem weird to anybody who picks up the book "Public Opinion" to find out that as they read this book Mr. Lippmann is, on the one hand, held up historically as a paragon of objective journalism, but on the other hand, he spends large portions of this book cataloguing how humanity operates. If you put it together with the real world results of what journalism has become, and even what it had become while Lippmann was still alive and very influential in the world of news, you see that the legend cannot match reality. If objective journalism was the goal, we would have a historical record of Walter Lippmann turning upon his own industry for it's widespread malfeasance and malpractice. But we don't have that, we have the opposite.

His own book "Public Opinion" encourages the use of key words to influence the populace to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion - he himself uses expertise (as a journalist) against the populace like a weapon. And even as some of the articles that I've dug up and displayed from Lippmann's own hand, he encouraged growth in government. So then the only conclusion you can come to by reading the book is that he went through the process of studying the people around him so that he could devise better ways to control them. Walter Lippmann was a man who "explored the environment as well as the human mind", no wonder then, he would write as if it were nothing - about the use of stereotypes in the news as a means for public control. Editorials reinforce.

I recently made a post about the concept of "technocracy", which is basically yet another label for the same bankrupt theory. That experts in their bureaucracies and commissions should be the ones in control of society.

This is what the progressives have set up, doesn't matter if you call it technocracy or something else. Under the guise of "administration", using "regulations" as their laws that they can immediately change, and using "credentials" as a way to suppress and oppress dissenting views. You don't have the credentials that we have, so you should lie down before you hurt yourself. We got this.

"Credentials" have replaced "divinity" - A few hundred years ago the dictators believed they had a divine right to rule and proclaimed themselves monarch. Now the dictators believe they have a credentialed right to rule and proclaim themselves expert.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

William Henry Smyth had tyranny in mind when he wrote about a technocracy

Has the word "expert" superceded the word "monarch"? It has, if you have ever taken the time to read the writings of William Henry Smyth, the original postulate of the concept of a technocracy.

If you read the Wikipedia page for "Technocracy", it tries to persuade the reader that a technocracy is an advanced form of meritocracy. That's a bunch of cuss words. Seriously, what an insult to everybody who reads the page. A "technocrat" is not any different than a bureaucrat. A bureaucrat with an engineering degree is still a bureaucrat. They just use one label to camouflage the other.

In the first four part series on Technocracy, William Henry Smyth ended the fourth essay (and thus, the first collection) this way:


So it is, with modern progressives who are fully immersed in bureaucratic despotism - technocracy. Just ask Peter Orszag, who not all that long ago was a higher level member of the current Administration's staff. (Director of OMB) Here is what he wrote: (My previous entry)

To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions.

The problem(as he later points out) isn't their existence or that it is "undemocratic"(He is calling for less democratic rule), the problem is that it is too openly undemocratic. That is, the progressives want to run your life via "expertise" without you realizing it.

In other words, Orszag wants Smyth's "control without control". Smyth is quite honest that control without control is a paradox, but that will not stop people from seeking it. Furthermore, just as Orszag calls for "independent institutions" (He means commissions and boards, quite openly) William Henry Smith called for exactly the same thing: (From Technocracy, part 1, last paragraph)

The need of a Supreme National Council of Scientists supreme over all other National Institutions to advise and instruct us how best to Live, and how most efficiently to realize our Individual and our National Purpose and Ideals.

This "advise and instruct us how best to Live" does not sound like Smyth had liberty in mind to me.

Progressivism - Technocracy - Bureaucratic despotism.

Technocracy - Human Instincts in Reconstruction

Technocracy (Alternate link)


Human Instincts in Reconstruction.

An Analysis of Urges and a Suggestion For Their Direction.

By William Henry Smyth

Note The author shows that the forces of the four great human instincts to live, to make, to take, to control are as essential in modern social life as at any time in the past. But all of these urges in a living democracy should be controlled without being controlled. To achieve this seeming paradox we must have a great national purpose, and unselfish leadership such as could come through a National Council of Scientists.

Mr. William Henry Smyth has been in general practice as a consulting engineer since 1879. He is the inventor of many machines and mechanical devices, including a system of raising water by direct explosion on its surface, the device being known as the "direct explosion pump." He has been an engineering expert in many patent cases, and is a frequent contributor to technical journals. As well as a pioneer in mechanics, Mr. Smyth is a pioneer in economics. He is a member of the leading scholarly associations in that field, including the American Economic Association and the Royal Economic Society of Great Britain.

Parts I, II and III appeared originally in "Industrial Management" of New York. The concluding PartIV has not heretofore been published and will appear exclusively in The Gazette. Editor.

Instincts Control.

Instincts are the most persistent human urge factors. Seemingly, they are less subject to change than even the most unchanging aspects of our physical environment.

The Instinct to Live (self-preservation) is as dominating today as in the days of our cave-man ancestors; the Instinct to Construct is as persistent in Man as in the beaver; the Mastery Instinct (desire to control others) is as vital as ever; the Thievish Instinct (desire to acquire and hoard) shows no change, and is the same old urge as that disclosed by the pre-man stores of insects, birds and various animals.

Indeed, without these primordial urges Man could not have developed, and the loss or atrophy of any one of them would probably mean the rapid extinction of the race. Thus it would seem that our fundamental instincts are essentially necessary to human continuance - at least, to our social existence. So let us look once more at these vital factors, in the light of recent events, in order to see what part they now take and are likely to play in our future social economy.

Brute Force.

No lesson of the war, probably, is more obvious or more clearly defined than the rapid trend toward Skill as a predominating and controlling factor in our immediate social development.

Recorded history and archaeological investigation confirm the suggestion that in the matter of economic control of human activities and their products, the possession of this control has oscillated to and fro under the influence of one or other of the instinctive urges, so that characteristic types of men secured alternate mastery.

Starting in the pre-human period, before the dawn of definite self-consciousness, and continuing during eons in the twilight of human intelligence, raw brute force must have been the dominating economic factor.

The influence of Skill during this period was practically negligible, except in so far as it affected individuals. Of this the huge prolongation of the unchanging "Stone Age" is sufficient demonstration.

Contest With Cunning.

The gradual growth and rapid culmination of the Skill factor is an important consideration in our present inquiry and likewise in our Social Reconstruction problems. For while Purposive Skill is of slow development Purposive Cunning, on the contrary, is inherently otherwise. Indeed, Cunning and Purposiveness both imply mental alertness and hence are in some wise synonymous.

For these reasons, in the early stages of human development, raw strength and animal cunning must alone have contended to satisfy the other instinctive urges - to live, to control - practically uninfluenced by the relatively modern urge of Purposeful Skill.

Doubtless this simple conflict (of raw strength and brute cunning) waged with varying results, slowly oscillating, age by age and race by race, in favor of one or other human type as environmental conditions or racial admixtures gave one or other the advantage of circumstance.

And, as Economics implies: the usages, laws, and institutions where-by a community endeavors to organize its methods and means of living: those whose activities characterize the times initiate and administer its economics.

Age-Long See-Saw.

So, with these age-long oscillations of control types, economic institutions necessarily underwent like changes, conforming to the dominating human characteristics of each Age and Nation. That they did so oscillate and economically conform, in the vaguest dawn of human beginnings, is the teaching of archaeology.

During the past few thousand years the contest of Strength and Cunning is shown by reliable historical records to have oscillated with comparative rapidity between one and the other extreme - including considerable periods during which Strength and Cunning unified control by union of Church and State.

Prior to the immediate present was a transition stage caused by the gradual weakening of the bond between Church and State, with a coincidental shifting of control favor of Cunning (under a changed and relatively modern guise representing the instinctive Urge Take) expressing itself as Commercialism. With this change came consequent modification of usages, laws, and institutions appropriate to its highest expression - Capitalism - capitalistic economics. The result of this last oscillation of control favor of (acquisitive) Cunning was that Germany became a nation of slaves, England a nation of paupers, France quit breeding, and the States went wealth crazy!

Challenge by Purposive Skill.

The war represents the conclusive termination (in this period) of the age-long contest of Force and cunning - for the control of men, and the products of their activity.

But this last and most spectacular conflict is complicated by the intrusion of the most modern and most, rapidly developing factor - Organized Purposive Skill.

Here, then, Skill enters the arena with a challenge to both earlier contestants - for the prize of human control, and mastery of the social machinery; enters that contest - than the race itself - the struggle to satisfy the primordial instinct : to Live - to Control - to Take.

Strength vs. Cunning vs. Skill.

Thus the contest has become a triangular fight between the Strong, the Cunning, and the Skilful; a fight in which raw brute force is a participant of rapidly diminishing importance - a modified continuation of the old time bloody contest, for a humanly undesirable outcome.

Cunning-control is today the victor, and in possession of the spoils - the financial wealth of the world. But all the evidence points to a short enjoyment and a losing fight against the organized forces of Purposeful Skill.

Creaking Capitalism Cracking.

Capitalism - under war stress - shows convincing evidence of inadequacy. The non-effectiveness of money and credit wealth has become so obvious as to procure the enactment of "Work or Fight" laws. Thus, into the discard went our pre-war money evaluation of men to be substituted by a standard which measures millionaire and hobo alike in accordance with their relative skill.

Our pre-war faith in the mysterious Magic of Money too received a staggering shock when all the private fortunes enmassed and all the billions of national credit combined utterly failed to add a single pound of much needed sugar to our limited supply, necessitating the "two pounds of sugar per person" apportionment - a commonplace vulgar fraction measure applicable to Financial Potentate and Weary Willie - alike!

Producer Versus Parasite.

On broader lines also the evidence points the same way: purposive skill is inherently productive, while purposeful cunning is naturally parasitic. Then, the capability of cunning to rule, and the continuance of its success in controlling others, resides in and depends upon the stupidity and illiteracy of the governed: mystery and magic are its weapons - equally in the realm of modern Finance as in the ancient Theocracies.

Skill implies the reverse of all this, for skill is intelligence physically manifested. It is knowledge of Nature's Laws utilized dexterously - and the spread of scientific information characterizes our age. Thus as the bulwarks of cunning-control crumble, the weapons of skill are multiplied and perfected.

So the outcome seems a foregone conclusion.

With this outcome, our methods of life will necessarily change. Capitalistic customs, laws, and institutions will be substituted by others differing as widely from those with which we are familiar as the motor ideas and ideals of purposeful cunning differ from those of purposeful skill.

"Work or Fight" Lesson.

Peradventure, the "Work or Fight" and the "2 pounds of sugar per person" measures are tonic foretastes of the coming Skill-Economics.

Obviously we are in transition to a new social order.

The signs of the times portend the dethroning of decadent acquisitive capitalism and the crowning of productive skill - Autocrat of the new Age - Artizanism.

This change has been in dubious process for years; the War has merely speeded its progress and made the outcome practically inevitable. But, whether it be brought about by evolution or revolution, or whether it comes in clean-cut aspect or befogged by irrelevant social factors and forces, it is in no sense a rational or final solution of our "social problem."

In any event, should Artizanism come, it will be merely another social spasm, probably shorter than, but equally as futile as, our present world-wide finance madness.

Instincts Not A Rational Basis.

While it is conceivable that human societies could be organized upon and with any one of the stated basic Instincts as dominant factor and raison d'etre; it is practically certain that any such national society would be quite ineffective, and transient. For obviously it would not and could not satisfy even our present limited intelligence, our rational imagination, or our modern spiritual ideals.

No very extended analysis would be required to show the validity of this proposition. The past has already demonstrated the insufficiency of societies based upon the Mastery Instinct - Autocracy. The present amply proves the failure of the Acquisitive Instinct as a social basis - Plutocracy.

A moment's thought will show that a society based upon the Making Instinct would simply crumble in its formative process under the demands of our complicated modern mental make-up, for clearly this instinct provides inadequate Human scope - and hence presupposes parasitism in even more extended form than that of acquisitive Capitalism. And - worse than all - a society based upon the Instinct to Live and Propagate, would return us at once to the brute state from which we have arisen through ages of struggle, strife, and bloodshed.

Control Without Control.

Still, it is apparent that the basic instincts which urge "to live," "to make," "to take," "to control," are as useful, yes, are as essential in and to modern social life as they have been in all the past. But, while all are necessary, no one of them constitutes a proper basis - law of operation - for a rational human society organization. They are factors, necessary and desirable contributary parts, no one of which is inherently adapted to function as the machine's unifier, its strain and speed equalizer - its control element.

Thus, the determination of a suitable character of "control" element is seemingly the crux of our social problem; the problem of controlling with-out control, that old, old paradox: Freedom made effective by restraint - a paradox, however, which the war may have resolved for us, by demonstrating its non-existence.

It has, in somewise, answered our troublous question by clear definition in the statement of the Nation's object in going to war.

The war has answered the question, in another aspect, by the Nation's adoption of the method (forced upon it by logical compulsion) whereby success was achieved.

"To make the World safe for Democracy" is the clearest and most universally accepted statement of our purpose in going to war Self-government for Nations, Self-government for Individuals.

Concept of Control.

Control by others, then, is antithetical to the ideals for which we have waged this last, the greatest, and, it is hoped, the final bloody contest for Self-government.

Control is equally antithetical to our Ideals of Self-government whether the control is exercised by "others" characterized by the Instinct to live and breed the Masses; or whether the control is exercised by "others" characterized by the Instinct to Make the Skilled Artizan; or whether the control is exercised by "others" urged by the Instinct of Mastery - the Employers; or whether the control is exercised by "others" under their dominating Acquisitive Instinct - the Financiers.

Indeed, the concept: control by "others," is an idea inherent in and appropriate only to now discredited Autocracy a concept which the War has rendered an obsolete ideal if we are yet intelligent enough to profit by its costly teaching.

Discard Cave-Man Control.

To be rationally consistent this "control" concept should be as absent as it is obsolete (in fact and effect) in our inevitable reconstruction.

This Autocracy "control" concept must be thrown in the discard where we have dumped the European autocrats whose ideal it was - if our reconstruction efforts are intended to produce a rationally organized Modern Human Society; a Society founded upon the Ideals consecrated by the life blood of our bravest and best.

But our age-long familiarity with "control by others," in our halting progress, from brute beast to modern Man, has so deeply ingrained in our mental fiber this stone-age concept as to make it almost impossible for us to even conceive the idea of a society lacking this cave-man spiked-club element.

Yet, no fact and lesson of our participation in the War is more clear and free from doubt than the spontaneous acquiescence by the people of the United States rich and poor, artizan and laborer, alike in self-control, self-repression, self-dedication to the united will and unified purpose of the Nation.


No lesson of the War is more significant than: Given a National Purpose, intelligently comprehended and acquiesced in - only unselfish Leadership is needed, and neither control by force nor control by cunning is necessary to bring about the unification of effort needed to accomplish the Nation's Objective.

The significance of this lesson is the utter irrationality of national control in the hands of any class characterized by self-centered instincts, or that strength or skill or cunning should be dominating factors in the social structure.

Though none of these factors should dominate, each and all of these vital and necessary elements should have free scope for the socially effective outflow of its particular expression of life energy.

Second only in significance to the acquiescence and co-operation of the united people is the method irresistibly forced upon the Nation by the logic and necessities of its stupendous War problem.

First Real Nation.

This most modern economic institution, and the unified co-operation of the united people, are the two outstanding lessons of the War for us.

Taken together, they point significantly to the solution of our social problem — the lacking element which should and could consciously, deliberately, and rationally unify the basic instinctive urges into an harmonious direction of national effort and so produce a humanly efficient national organization — the first real Nation on earth!

The lacking element? — the element which is adapted to assume the function and position to be vacated by the obsolescent autocratic concept — arbitrary "control" — the element capable of controlling without control, of making Freedom effective. Democracy a living fact as well as a noble Ideal!

In this, as in many other seemingly difficult problems of long standing, the solution has evaded us by reason of its very obviousness. Such a unifying factor has always existed in plain view — unutilized in its proper function of Social Strain Equalizer. Indeed, this urge factor, more even than the Instincts — "to Live," "to Make," "to Take," "to Control" — is the most universal and most humanly characterizing trait of that most marvelous complex — Man.

Desire to Know.

I refer to Curiosity — curiosity rationalized into Desire to Know.

Desire to Know, while equally urgent for gratification, inherently lacks the undesirable and inappropriate qualities which render the other human Instincts unsuitable as organizing and strain equalizing factors in the social structure. Also it possesses qualities and attributes which make it peculiarly adapted to perform the rationally harmonizing function so irrationally assumed in all earlier social organizations under the guise of Forceful and Cunning Control.

Desire to Know is as imperative in its demands as any of the self-centered motor Instincts — to live, to make, to take, to control — but it is impersonal; while It is as aggressive as other Instinctive Urges, characteristically its energies and activities are directed at Nature, not in aggression on human opponents; hence it engenders no human strife; and while it drives furiously, it drives none but its possessor — in the pursuit of Knowledge.

Desire to Know, while profoundly interested in all that pertains to Human Life and living — to eugenics and racial development — characteristically its possessor would risk his own life in the pursuit of Knowledge.

Desire to Know, though urgently interested in Nature's Laws and in all that concerns the correct making and constructing of things, characteristically lacks desire to make or construct things, but seeks only systematized concepts of Knowledge.

Desire to Know, while deeply interested in all that pertains to the desirable things of the world and to economic affairs, characteristically lacks the thievish impulse — the Instinct to Take, to acquire physical possession: supremely acquisitive it craves only to acquire Knowledge.

Desire to Know, while surpassingly Masterful, desires no mastery of Men; it craves instead, God-like insight, pre-vision, prophecy power in the boundless realms of Knowledge.


Here then is an indomitable Urge lacking all the inappropriate qualities of the strife producing Autocratic Force-and-Fear Control motor concept of Social Organization, and possessed of all the unifying qualities of Social Leadership.

A Human Society or Nation is sanely designed and rationally organized on correct principles only when it has a Purpose, and (as in the case of a well considered machine) only when full cognizance is taken of all its contributory elements, together with their essential functions and their proper co-ordination.

A National Objective.

A truly efficient National Organization would facilitate (not suppress or prohibit) the expression of all inherent Instinctive Urges, rationalizing their outflowing life energy (by sane institutional conventions) into unification in a fully predetermined National Purpose.

In a crude but clearly perceptible manner the United States, during the War, gave suggestion of such an Ideal Social Arrangement.

It had a defined and universally accepted purpose:

Its Scientific (Desire to Know) Men and its Scientific Societies were (more or less) organized into a Unifying and Advisory Board to formulate and suggest methods and means for sane living and to accomplish the predetermined purpose of the Nation.

We have accomplished the object of the War:

We have made the World safe for Democracy.

Now, let us inaugurate a Democracy - a Democracy with an object for its existence - a Democracy with a Purpose.

By the peril to its life, the Nation has been shocked into momentary sanity. Let us while still rational, rationally take to heart the lessons which the War has taught at so staggering a cost:

First: The need of a National Purpose; a purpose based upon peace and rational Human Development; a purpose as inspiring and as unifying as War for Democracy, and as high as our highest Ideals of Life.

Second: The need of a Supreme National Council of Scientists supreme over all other National Institutions to advise and instruct us how best to Live, and how most efficiently to realize our Individual and our National Purpose and Ideals.

But, First and Last, a unifying National Objective.

Fernwald, Berkeley, December, 1918.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Obama White House calls for the formation of a tyrannical government in the wake of Ukraine protests

The White House released the following statement:
The United States is closely monitoring developments in Ukraine. We have consistently advocated a de-escalation of violence, constitutional change, a coalition government, and early elections, and today’s developments could move us closer to that goal. The unshakeable principle guiding events must be that the people of Ukraine determine their own future. We welcome constructive work in the Rada and continue to urge the prompt formation of a broad, technocratic government of national unity. We welcome former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s release from a prison hospital today, and we wish her a speedy recovery as she seeks the appropriate medical treatment that she has long needed and sought.

We continue to urge an end to violence by all sides and a focus on peaceful, democratic dialogue, working pursuant to Ukraine’s constitution and through its institutions of government. Going forward, we will work with our allies, with Russia, and with appropriate European and international organizations to support a strong, prosperous, unified, and democratic Ukraine. Going forward, the Ukrainian people should know that the United States deeply values our long-standing ties with Ukraine and will support them as they pursue a path of democracy and economic development.

Hmmm..... How many people realize this is an open call for a dictatorship? Right here:

We welcome constructive work in the Rada and continue to urge the prompt formation of a broad, technocratic government of national unity.

"Technocracy" is an obscure term for some, so I would like to educate you on it. The word "Technocracy" was first coined by a progressive named William Henry Smyth, in a series of articles by that same name. You can see that series of articles here. These articles first appeared in The Gazette in 1919, and here is how the Gazette editor described the series:

The author shows that the forces of the four great human instincts to live, to make, to take, to control are as essential in modern social life as at any time in the past. But all of these urges in a living democracy should be controlled without being controlled.

This series lays out the Technocratic Principles, and in a lot of ways they are a commentary on the Wilsonian government. By collecting these essays and publishing them into this book, Smyth essentially pushes out what can accurately be called the Technocratic Manifesto. While it is true that the quote above was not written by Smyth himself, it was written by the Gazette editor. We know Smyth agreed with it and we can prove this in two ways:

First, Smyth would've seen the original Gazette publications before final publication.

Second, Smyth would've seen them again when he collected the essays and published this book.

As to whether or not the description is accurate, take note of these two things from the first essay:

First: The need of a National Purpose; a purpose based upon peace and rational Human Development; a purpose as inspiring and as unifying as War for Democracy, and as high as our highest Ideals of Life.

Second: The need of a Supreme National Council of Scientists supreme over all other National Institutions to advise and instruct us how best to Live, and how most efficiently to realize our Individual and our National Purpose and Ideals.

That certainly sounds like control without control to me.(No matter what you may think, "control without control" is not an oxymoron) We know by reading other progressive authors that they desire to use the regulatory state to achieve their purpose.

I would like to point out to you how he ends the book: (See the last page, page 40)


That's tyranny. A technocracy is nothing more than despotic rule cloaked in "merit" and "expertise".

Note that Smyth himself puts this into caps, I didn't do that. This was an important question for Smyth, because he left that as the last thing. He left this as the final thought, the thing he wanted the reader to most consider and ponder. Is this "freedom thing" really all that valuable? Let's just put the experts in charge. If the little people - if the serfs don't like it well that's just too bad, we are the experts. We know how to run your lives.