The National Football League’s Manipulative Militarism

The National Football League’s Manipulative Militarism

The National Football League (NFL) is a massive, capitalist endeavor. It provides wildly profitable entertainment, is adept at steering taxpayer money its way, and is a premier collaborator in our participatory fascist social order. Capitalist culture is relentlessly anti-capitalist. As such, the NFL (a privately owned organization) makes for a good villain. Hollywood cast it as the “Evil Corporation” in the 2015 film Concussion. The film features this line: The NFL owns a day of the week. The same day the Church used to own. Now it’s theirs. The implication that the NFL is as powerful as...

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‘I Want to Believe’ the Propaganda: The X-Files, Waco and the Federal Leviathan

‘I Want to Believe’ the Propaganda: The X-Files, Waco and the Federal Leviathan

On September 9, 1993, The X-Files television series premiered. It followed two employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, as they investigated the paranormal, the occult, and the extraterrestrial. They even hunted the occasional serial killer. The show, which became a hit and then a cultural phenomenon, functioned as highly effective FBI and federal government propaganda. Almost seven months earlier, on Sunday, February 28, employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) descended on a small parcel of land north-east of Waco, Texas....

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Public Choice ‘Conspiracy Theory’ and the Illusion of Grand Strategy

Public Choice ‘Conspiracy Theory’ and the Illusion of Grand Strategy

Murray Rothbard believed there are good conspiracy theories and bad conspiracy theories. He wrote about it for Reason Magazine in 1977. The bad ones are gratuitous claims made without evidence that tend “to wrap up all the conspiracies, all the bad guy power blocs, into one giant conspiracy.” The claim that the 9/11 attacks were an insurance fraud scheme is a bad conspiracy theory. The good conspiracy theories marshal evidence and recognize the political and economic incentives at play within government. The claim that high-level employees of the Saudi Arabian government helped facilitate...

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Top Gun: Maverick and Participatory Propaganda

Top Gun: Maverick and Participatory Propaganda

Top Gun: Maverick is a brilliant film. Any film that can elicit the praise of Ben Shapiro, Willie Geist and Russell Brand, receive a five-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and make over $1 billion is, as the Stalinists would say, “objectively” brilliant. Moviegoers and film critics are loving it. Unfortunately, for those of us opposed to militarism, empire and genocide, Top Gun: Maverick is not just a fun summer sequel to 1986’s Top Gun. It is also a preeminent cultural product of participatory fascism. Participatory Fascism Robert Higgs popularized the concept of...

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The War in Ukraine and the ‘Star Wars Effect’

The War in Ukraine and the ‘Star Wars Effect’

The American media’s Ukraine narrative is a vast deception that functions as a reassuring fantasy. The facts on the ground in Ukraine have overwhelmed the narrative being deployed in the West, but the American media simply ignores those facts. The effect is to placate the American people in service to the American state. The American state has learned well the lessons of Hollywood. The blockbuster film Star Wars (1977) allowed the American people, disillusioned from the recent defeat in Vietnam, to project onto and root for a victorious rebel insurgency. The state-driven media presentation...

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Never Forget the Propaganda: New 9/11 Documentaries Reinforce Old Narratives

Never Forget the Propaganda: New 9/11 Documentaries Reinforce Old Narratives

There’s a moment in the documentary 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room in which former FBI agent James Kallstrom says, “It’s a day that 50 years from now our children will be taught about.” One can certainly imagine a future historian at the School of Interplanetary Communications giving a lecture about the al Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001. The most efficient and intellectually honest pedagogical strategy would be to assign the class Scott Horton’s books Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, and then lecture...

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