Skip to comments.PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS, THE UNDERMINING OF FREE ENTERPRISE,-EMERGENCE OF “SOFT FASCISM”
Posted on 11/13/2006 7:05:07 AM PST by hedgetrimmer
Over the past decade, the expression public-private partnership has crept into our publiclexicon. What is a public-private partnership? What purposes were they supposedlycreated to serve? What, on the other hand, is free enterprise? Are the two compatible?In answering these questions we shall see that although advocates of public-privatepartnerships frequently speak of economic development, public-private partnershipsreally amount to economic controlthey are just one of the key components of thecollectivist edifice being built up around the idea of sustainable development. Within theeconomic arena of sustainable development is the emergence of what we might call softfascism: a system that fits the dictionary definitions of fascism but whose totalitarianeffects will be felt primarily by those who wish to walk their own paths in life rather thanwalk the paths the sustainable developers are in the process of laying down.
1. Public-Private Partnerships.
Advocates of public-private partnerships paint a rosy picture of them as free-marketfriendly.From one of the main Web sites devoted to them comes the following, from awhite paper published by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships:
Public-private partnerships are a means of utilizing private-sector resources in away that is a blend of outsourcing and privatization. PPPs can involve thedesign, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of publicinfrastructure or facilities, or the operation of services, to meet public needs.
PPPs are often financially free standing, i.e., privately financed and operated on2the basis of revenues received for the delivery of the facility and/or services.One key to this is the ability of the private-sector to provide more favorable longtermfinancing options than may be available to a governmental entity and tosecure that financing in a much quicker time frame. Public-sector assets(including human resources and infrastructure) are often included. Theagreement under which the PPP operates is closely governed by a contractualrelationship between the public- and private-sectors, with the objective ofutilizing the best skills and capabilities of each sector. The objective of a PPP isto provide a more efficient and cost effective means of providing the same orbetter level of service, at a saving to the public (both general and governmental).1
More briefly, in a follow-up report:
PPPs are contractual arrangements under which the public and private sectorsjoin together in a partnership to utilize the best skills and capabilities of each tobetter serve the public. Public-private partnerships are formed to meet anobjective that any constituency would wantto provide the highest qualityservice at the most optimal cost to the public.2
In other words, according to their advocates, public-private partnerships use the financialresources of business (the private sector) to carry out activities or functions government(the public sector) has assumed for itself. Implied here is the recognition that privateenterprise is more efficient than government. As one quoted expert put it, in arguing forthe necessity of public-private partnerships:
Counties, states, provinces and communities have hit the tax wall, meaning theyhave no more room to raise taxes. Doing so would either violate someconstitutional or statutory limit, or send people and businesses packing forfriendlier climes. In other cases, government simply has not kept pace withtechnology and productivity advances and must rely upon private enterprise toput its unique expertise to work.3
There are now thousands of public-private partnerships in place throughout the country,engaging in activities ranging from building roads and neighborhoods to providing waterand wastewater services to renovating government schools to overseeing the managementof real estate to providing health care. This number seems destined to grow in theimmediate future. It is fair to say that public-private partnerships have been acceptedwithout question by the mainstream of both government and business.
This is because a new paradigm for the relationship between the two has emerged, verygradually, over the past few decades. This paradigm, of course, is that of sustainabledevelopment, which combines the power of the purse, one might call it, with the power ofthe sword. The resources of business (the power of the purse) are utilized to do the workof governance (the power of the sword)with the formers full cooperation andsupport. The reports we cited noted several examples of what appear to all intents andpurposes to be successful public-private partnershipssuccessful, that is, in achievingthe ends wanted within government. Expansionist or interventionist governmenttheidea that government should undertake responsibility for managing huge portions of a3countrys economy and infrastructureis taken for granted, but limits on the capacity ofgovernment to effect change by itself are acknowledged. The solution to the problem ofthe limits on the capacity of government, in the new paradigm, is to employ the resourcesof business, in a way that brings business fully on board and enlists it as collaboratororpartner. Of course, the larger the business the better, because bigger businesses tend tohave deeper pocketbooks than smaller businesses. The critics of public-privatepartnerships usually cited in the favorable literature are not those who do not trustgovernment but those who do not trust business. The latter see private-sectorinvolvement asin the words of one critica plot to establish a completely free marketwith overtones of dog-eat-dog survival of the fittest, and culling of the weakest .4 Idont believe that dog-eat-dog laissez faire is on the public-private partnership radarscreen. Far more credible allegations, however, can be mounted not just against publicprivatepartnerships but against the paradigm in which they are most at home. But first,we must do more of the historical detective work and identify more of the major behindthe-scenes players.
2. Public-Private Partnerships and Sustainable Development (Agenda 21).
How did the enthusiasm for public-private partnerships begin, and what do they have todo with sustainable development?
We can the idea of the comprehensively planned society at least to Plato, who envisionedsuch a society in his Republic. In the Republic, there is a place for everyone andeveryone knows his place. Properly educated philosopher-kings rulebecause by virtueof their educations they are most suited to rule. This image of Utopia has grippedpolitical thought for over two millennia, making it the scene of a long-term strugglebetween those who believed they held the keys to power and those who see power asdangerous. Those who believed they held the keys to power have tended to have theupper hand. In modern times we must cite the collectivism of Jean-Jacques Rousseauwho, in his Le Contrat Sociel, invented the idea of a general will through which theindividual could be forced to be free. And we could cite G.W.F. Hegel (author of ThePhilosophy of Right and other works), inventor of the idea of the state as the historicalmanifestation of the Absolute. In the Hegelian vision, the individual belongs to the state.Power triumphs supreme. Karl Marx, of course, famously said, The philosophers haveonly interpreted the world ; the point is to change it (Theses on Feuerbach).
As methodologists we would also have to cite those Fabian socialists who formed in thelate 1800s and whose watchword was gradualism, as opposed to the violent tendencies ofrevolutionary Marxism. (We will say more about the Fabians below.) Characteristic ofall these visions is that once implemented, the individual person does not own himself; heexists to serve the state or the collective. He is not to be allowed to direct his own paths,but is compelled down paths laid by those in power or their underlings. There have beena few incisive critiques of central planning of whatever sort, such as those of Hayek5; butcollectivists have never allowed intellectual criticism to stand in their way. Thesustainable development paradigm is a paradigm of comprehensive collectivist planningsupposedly to safeguard the environment, as we have already seen (Michael Shaws4article). The long-term goal here is what can be increasingly envisioned as an emergingworld state with many facets (the three Es of sustainable development being equity,economy, environmentwith a prospective fourth E being education). This world statewill gradually subsume and eradicate nation-states until the phrase United States ofAmerica names not a sovereign country but a large tract of micromanaged real estateatleast half of which will be off-limits to human beings (Wildlands Project).
During the 1970s, with the growing realization that explicitly socialist planning wasfailing on a massive scale, the United Nations gradually turned its attention to theenvironment. Its advocates picked up on such notions as the limits to growthpromulgated by elite groups such as the Club of Rome.6 The UN assembled theBrundtland Commission in 1983 to study the problem; in 1987, this commission releasedthe report that officially defined sustainable development as development that meets theneeds of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirown needs.7 This definition presumes that we can know the needs of future generationswith sufficient specificity to act effectively. At a deeper level, it presumes that economicdevelopment cannot be left to the free choices of acting persons but must be managedthat is, controlled (via governance). The philosopher-kings impulse was very muchalivein billionaires such as Maurice Strong or longstanding UN-sponsor DavidRockefeller Sr. The UN began to call for the centralization of economic developmentalong with all resourceshuman as well as natural. It began to assume more and moreof a role as emerging megastate, orchestrating the progression regionalizing of the world,policing the centralization process in the name of protecting the environment andsafeguarding future generations.
Other components of the new paradigm steadily emerged. In the late 1970s a Britishscientist, James Lovelock, developed the so-called Gaia hypothesisa renovatedversion of the old pagan faith in Gaia, Mother Earth.8 This idea came to the attention ofPrince Charles of Wales. Charles had already become preoccupied withenvironmentalism, and because of who he was, doors automatically opened to him.When he spoke, people listenedespecially people with deep pockets. Prince Charleswent on to create the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum, which promoted theconcept of sustainable development within the multinational corporate orbit. The neworganization, which held its first meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1990,provided a major connecting link that brought international business on board with theUnited Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.9
Agenda 21, arguably the bible of the sustainable development movement, was unveiledtwo years later at the Rio Summit, in Rio de Janeiro. An immense, comprehensivedocument, it had chapters involving business and other nongovernmental organizations(huge foundations, nonprofit groups, sometimes extremely wealthy individuals) in thepromotion of sustainable development. The idea of creating and strengthening publicprivatepartnerships could not be clearer:
30.7. Governments, business and industry, including transnational corporations,should strengthen partnerships to implement the principles and criteria forsustainable development. 30.8. Governments should identify and implement an5appropriate mix of economic instruments and normative measures such as laws,legislations and standards, in consultation with business and industry, includingtransnational corporations, that will promote the use of cleaner production, withspecial consideration for small and medium-sized enterprises. Voluntary privateinitiatives should also be encouraged .
30.23. Large business and industry, including transnational corporations, shouldconsider establishing partnership schemes with small and medium-sizedenterprises to help facilitate the exchange of experience in managerial skills,market development and technological know-how, where appropriate, with theassistance of international organizations. 30.24. Business and industry shouldestablish national councils for sustainable development .10
The following summer, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed an executive order creatingthe Presidents Council on Sustainable Development. That same yeara milestone yearin this processsaw the creation of the World Business Council for SustainableDevelopment. The phrase public-private partnership itself appeared in 1996 at theUnited Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II, held in Istanbul. Dr.Wally NDow, Secretary-General of that conference, told businesswoman and authorJoan Veon, We have got to a point where we cannot not partner with the private sector,as governments, as the civil society, as NGOs, but also as people active in internationaldevelopment such as the UN.11 In the late 1990s, the so-called economic boomovershadowed (and diverted attention from) the fact that our economic system was beinggradually bent in the direction the sustainable developers wanted it to go. This was theera of reinventing government, which was portrayed as a devolution of power to thelocal level, which was where the sustainable developers preferred to work in stealth.12 Itwas easy once a critical mass of corporate players in each locale were on board. By thestart of the 2000 decade, one city or town after another all across the country wasbringing in consultants and having visioning sessions. Communities began to betransformed from within, typically with the full cooperation of mayors and other electedofficials, other local government officials, business groups such as the local Chamber ofCommerce, presidents of local colleges, and neighborhood-association groups. Planswith names such as Vision 2025 (used in both Tulsa, Okla. and Greenville, S.C.) wouldresult from these sessions.
Few residents have seen the edifice of controls gradually being built around them, asoffshoots of sustainable development such as the New Urbanism have taken root. Most(as I can attest from personal experience) have not heard the term sustainabledevelopment. But partnering came to be seen as a good idea. Thus public-privatepartnerships formed and began to create centers of activity with as much as possible inthemlarge and small businesses of all varieties, apartments, condominiums, schools,etc., often in very close proximity to one another. The New Urbanism promotes itself ascreating communities centered around convenience. Those living and working in themare able to walk or bicycle everywhere: to work, to buy groceries, to attend classes.These sustainable communities are typically very automobile-unfriendly, with narrow,crooked streets, multiple speed bumps, and an absence of adequate parking. Residential6activity is tightly regulatedto the point of specifying what kinds of plants residents mayplace on their balconies.
Gradually is a key word above. Those who have wished to transform entire societiesfrom their foundations upward learned two lessons some time ago. The first is thatproceeding slowly and working piecemeal accomplishes more than attempting to fomentrevolution. The Fabian Socialists adopted gradualism as a pragmatic alternative torevolutionary agitation when they formed in Great Britain in 1883. They took their namefrom Quintus Fabius Maximus, the Roman general noted for his tactics of delaying thedecisive strike against an enemy as long as possible. Their description of what theyintended to do: penetrate and permeate. They founded very few institutions of their own(although the London School of Economics is an exception). They preferred to transformexisting ones from within. Eventually they became the dominant presence in the BritishLabour Party. Today, Tony Blair is a member.
The influence of Fabian socialism on U.S. history should not be underestimated. TheWilson Administration was permeated with Fabian socialists and their associates. TheFabians had realized early on that Americans would not warm to the term socialism; theyresponded by ceasing to use it and instead forming (for example) the League forIndustrial Democracy, chaired by John Dewey.13 John Maynard Keynes, architect of theso-called mixed economy, was also a member. There can be no reasonable doubt thatFabian gradualism influenced the development of the environmentalist movement in theUnited States. Fabians in large foundations such as Ford helped bankroll it. This bringsus to the second lesson, already mentioned. Pure socialism, as we noted, was provingunworkable. It simply could not produce. Capitalism could, however. It made sense toallow capitalism to develop and to exploit its transformative potential via theSchumpeterian concept of creative destruction.
Thus Fabian socialism actually penetrated the direction business itself took, especially inthe 1980s, with the creation of, e.g., enterprise zones: capitalism allowed and evenencouraged but kept on a leash.14 The idea was to build up a form of capitalism thatwould transform itself into socialism via the collectivization of its participants through,e.g., self-directed work teams. As our economy seemed to improve for a while duringthat period, few noticed the collectivism that permeated the thinking of the mainstreamabout work and economic development. We began to hear catchy phrases such as,Theres no I in team. Education had become entirely group-focused through groupprojects and group grades. Thus the business personnel turned out would have no moralcenter other than the collectivist one. It also became increasingly vocation-focusedapoint we shall explore in more detail below. Its products would be easily sold on theenvironmentalist agenda via arguments ranging from the supposed rights of futuregenerations to allegations of global climate change. With an impoverished educationalbackground, younger generations were vulnerable to what the sustainable developerswanted. This offers the best explanation of how businesseslarge and smallwerepersuaded to get behind an agenda one would otherwise think they would repudiate ascontrary to their best interests. Arguably the edifice of regulations contributed massively7to driving business overseas, taking our job base with it when keeping jobs in Americasimply became too expensive.
If one needs examples of public-private partnerships, one can find hundreds. Considerone area: transportation. In the Richmond, Va., area, plans were launched for a westernloop around the town. A creative state law called the Public-Private Transportation Actwas quickly passed, allowing the Virginia Department of Transportation to partner witha private company based in Danville to the south to develop the highway. The Virginiatransportation commissioner lauded the project: It is another fine example ofgovernment and business working together to provide a major public works project in away that saves taxpayer dollars and takes much less time to complete than weve come tonormally expect.15 There are two questions we would need answers to: was thehighway really a necessity, and if so, could the private sector have handled it still morequickly and for a still lower cost? To indicate that there may be more than meets the eyeto public-private partnerships in the realm of transportation, consider the Trans-TexasCorridor (TTC)or as some are calling it, the NAFTA Superhighway. This project, stillin the planning stages, would extend Interstate 69 (which currently runs from Port Huron,Mich., on our border with Canada, to Indianapolis) down through eastern Texas to ourborder with Mexico. The TTC could conceivably pull in other major interstate highwayssuch as I-35 or I-45 (the exact pathway through Texas is still far from decided)over4,000 miles of highway in all, involving also rail lines and utility networks, very possiblythe largest engineering project in U.S. history.16 Such a project would facilitate one ofthe goals of the little-known Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP),signed by our President Bush, Mexicos President Vicente Fox, and outgoing CanadianPrime Minister Paul Martin. This partnership between states has the explicit intent ofbreaking down the borders between them and bringing about a regional economicintegration that could only be a precursor to regional governance by unelectedbureaucrats.17
Or consider again education. In some cases, the use of public-private partnerships tofacilitate the construction of more government schools has been promoted.18 On otheroccasions, public-private partnerships actually get involved in instruction and curriculumdevelopment themselves, sometimes beginning with very small children, e.g., the ChildCare Partnership Project. This entity serves as a kind of incubator for public-privatepartnerships between state-level child care administrators and businesses, nonprofits,foundations, and other groups.19 Education, unsurprisingly, is a preoccupation of elitegroups such as the World Economic Forum, which sponsored the Global EducationInitiative. Consider:
Education for the next generation of the worlds growing young population is anurgent priority not only for the governments around the world, but also for all ofsociety. For the private sector in particular, an effective education system iscritical for economic growth and development in building a skilled labor force,increasing the purchasing power of citizens and improving productivity.Education goals such as equity, access and reducing gender disparity, coupledwith issues such as poverty and hunger that are prevalent in many developingnations, pose a complex development challenge that demands a bold new8paradigm. This paradigm is based on collaborative public-private partnershipsthat leverage the key strengths of all of societys stakeholders such as the globaland local public and private sectors and community based civil society.
The vision for the Global Education Initiative (GEI) was conceived during theWorld Economic Forums Annual Meeting 2003. Together, business leaders ofthe Information Technology and Telecommunications Community of the Forumlaunched an initiate to create new sustainable models for education reform in thedeveloping world through public-private partnership.20
All of this has a pleasant, futuristic ring to it. But as a prospective model for theeducation of the next generation, consider what subjects are not mentioned: personalfinance, for example. Increasing the purchasing power of citizens without alsoteaching them personal finance, i.e., money management, from their youngest ages is arecipe for a citizenry saddled with debtwhich is essentially what we have in Americatoday. Also not mentioned are mathematics, logic, history, basic government (includingConstitutional limitations on government), basic economics, or even basic literacy.School-To-Work education, of course, emphasizes vocation at the expense of academics,i.e., traditional subject areas. It integrates exceedingly well into the new paradigm.Vocationalism in education makes sense, if ones goals are social engineering. It willturn out human worker bees who lack the mental tools to think about the policies shapingtheir lives. Michael Chapman and Sen. Michele Bachman (R-MN) have argued thatpublic-private partnerships effectively embrace a state-planned economy. They involve asystem that first integrated education and government via the Goals 2000 EducateAmerica Act, then education and business via the School-to-Work Opportunities Act andfinally business and government with the others via the Workforce Investment Act.Public-private partnerships built up through these three thus have had the sanction offederal law with bipartisan support. Together, these laws align and consolidate all local,state and federal policies, programs, and funding into a single state-managed economicsystem.21 Among the casualties of this system are traditional academic subjects, whichare relegated to the status of decorations as job training is ratcheted up. Students arecompelled to select a career cluster as early as the eighth grade. As they neargraduation they find themselves sent to work sites for labor training instead of inclassrooms learning reading, mathematics, history, government, and so on.
Public-private partnerships are fundamentally different from previous organizations andcollaborations that have involved business. Their goals are also different. While havingadopted the language of markets and seeming, at times, to further markets and economicdevelopment as an ends in themselves, their widespread adoption is bringing about aform of governance that is alien to the founding principles of the United States(Constitutionally limited government, government by consent of the governed) andinimical to individual liberty. We have begun to see government not by consent of thegoverned, but governance (i.e., control) by committee, and by bureaucracy. This brandof governance employs an arsenal of tricks imported from behavioral psychology, suchas the use of Delphi technique to coerce a consensus by intimidating and marginalizingcritics. It has no problem using Hegelian dialectic to achieve desired results in a city ortown. Hegelian dialectic in this context involves the triad of crisis, reaction, response.229Manufacture a crisis, such as allowing levels of development in certain areas of a city toresult in intolerable levels of traffic congestion. This yields a predictable reaction, as thepublic demands that the city or county (or both) do something. What they do is adoptsmart growththe response, the goal desired by the sustainable developers all along.
When those techniques fail, as they will occasionally, developers resort to legalized theft.If an existing business or even an entire neighborhood is the way of, e.g., a sustainableproject, that business or neighborhood must go. The neighborhood is declared blightedunder local ordinances and eminent domain is employed. Arguably, the sustainabilityagenda has paved the way for the obliteration of private property rights in America. Theeducational wing of this agenda assures the graduation of citizens who do not know whatprivate property rights are, as they will have job skills but no knowledge of such ideas ortheir historical and philosophical origins or justification. The Supreme Courts Kelo v.New London, Ct. decision of early summer 2005 set off alarm bells, but should havesurprised no one following the gradualist progression initiated by the Fabian socialists.This decision permitted the use of eminent domain, traditionally reserved for publicgoods such as the building of a road or a library or a school, to be employed for privatedevelopment. Since last summer we have seen, moreover, numerous other methods touse (or misuse) eminent domain to take private property away when it stands in the wayof what a private developer (often in partnership with a governmental entity) wants. It isbecoming clear that individuals who stand in the way of the advancing sustainabilityagenda risk being forced from their land.
3. Free Enterprise Revisited.What, precisely, is free enterprise? It arises from a philosophical view of the world, onewhich (whether rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition or Aristotelianism oras seemsthe most credible route, in a fusion of the two) understands human beings as standing in aspecific relationship to the rest of reality, including the environment. The universe doesnot take care of us. But it does work according to regular laws. We use our minds todiscover and improve our understanding of these laws. Our survival depended on this. Itwas always contingent on specific courses of action, the ends of which were water, food,shelter, and so on. Moreover, only individual persons can take action; the necessarycognitions go on only in individual brains, not within a collective.23 Thus from thestandpoint of human action collectives dont exist! Individuality is the bottom line forusalthough individuals obviously derive great benefit from extended families and a lifewithin stable, thriving villages and towns.
The need to use the environment to survive is simply a given. If this is evil, then humansurvival itself is evil (I think many of the so-called deep ecologists actually believethis!). We find raw materials and turn them into useful products. Human action thustransforms the useless into the useful. Acting on what was previously a commonscreates property, that which I have transformed and made my own. Thus emerges theidea of ethically defensible property rights: if I find a large piece of white stone and fromthat stone I carve a bust of the philosopher John Locke, my mind guides my physicallabor and creates something that wasnt there before, and I have the right to consider it10my private property. If I homestead a tract of land, turning it into a field where cropsmay be grown and harvested, I have the right to consider that field and its fruits myprivate property. Private property rights are rights of exclusivity. I am ethically allowedto protect and defend my land from invaders. This is where private property and propertyrights come from. The totality of labor (physical or otherwise) guided by intellect,transforming the useless into the useful, is production.I may produce for myself alone, but in the company of others I need not do so. Humanbeings are a diverse lot, with many talents. We both enjoy and are healthier in thecompany of others than in total isolation, except for the occasional hermit. As we cometogether in villages and towns, therefore, we recognize our different talents and divideour labors. I produce a surplus of what I am best at producing and trade that surplusvoluntarily for the product of others who are doing what they do best. It may be that I amunable to produce this surplus myself, and must find others to assist melaborers oremployees in newly created jobs. I thus earn my living through voluntarily trading thefruits of my productive labors to those who want it in exchange for the fruits of theproductive efforts of others that I need but cannot produce all by myself. When currencyis established (backed by precious substances, of course!), this process undergoes aquantum leap in simplicity, as we need no longer a barter system involving our bestguesses at the relative worth of our various products. Instead, the price of my products,the value of labor (wages I pay my workersor am paid, in case I am one of theworkers), are determined within the open market by what others are willing to pay. Asmy village or town develops, it may be presumed that I am not the only person, e.g.,growing and harvesting crops. If others offer a better price than I do for the sameproducts, then other things being equal, I must offer the best for a competitive price or befaced with losing out.Thus free enterprise comes into being, and is sufficiently open-ended to allow for changeand developmentbut not so open-ended as to incorporate oversight on the part ofagencies acting from the outside. Its participates will likely be suspicious of change forthe sake of change. They will, above all, not trust concentrations of power. How doesgovernment get into the act? Some, of course, dont think we need government at all(e.g., theoretical anarchists or anarcho-capitalists). We cant presume, however, thateveryone will respect the private property rights of their neighbors, or that their neighborswill have the means to defend their rights on their own. Nor can we presume that ourtown wont be invaded from outside. So we have the option to create an institution thatencodes specifically enumerated rights for all: to life, to liberty (to use ones mind andundertake the actions necessary to sustain ones life), and to private property (to assumefull control over the fruits of ones actions or labors and also full responsibility, or strictliability). This institution sets up an enforcement mechanism, but prohibits itself frominterfering with its citizens rights. Its sole purpose of protecting rights both from threatsfrom within and from threats from without, and punishing lawbreakers (rights violators).Education will be a serious and essential business in such a community: who, indeed,watches the watchers? Education will include the warning that the world is notnecessarily a safe place. It will encourage what is today called exceptionalism: the ideathat ones own system of government, economic system, culture, etc., are special, which11can be rationally justified if and only if the rights so enumerated really match theconditions for sustaining life and creating prosperity through peaceful transactions andrelations. If those whose business is educating the young succeed in transmitting thisexceptionalist view to the next generation, then should invaders threaten, our town of freemen and women will have no trouble organizing to defend itself. Moreover, we willnever launch an unprovoked attack on another town that hasnt threatened us.Under such arrangements, government will indeed be a small and limited entity. It willrepresent its citizens, not presumed interests of its own. Its functions will remain fewcarefully defined by a written document designed to enumerate (not invent) the rights ofits citizens, set out how those who initiate force and fraud against others are to bepunished, and protect the integrity of its borders. Nowhere among those functions will befound the activity of providing subsidies to the small businesses continually emergingaround new ideas or in competition with existing ones. Such subsidies can only beobtained through a system of legalized theft from producersor borrowing from banksthrough a system of fractional money, also resulting in the equivalent of theft as currencyis debauched. Legitimate government will not expropriate the productive efforts of someto give to othersnor will it partner with some in order to give them a specialcompetitive advantage, as a reward for furthering some aim of its own. (I would argue,based on the history of our own civilization, that there are certain endeavors thateveryone should undertake the responsibility of keeping an eye on, the best examplebeing banking, but such concerns are outside the scope of this article.24) Government,finally, will not form partnerships with any of the myriad endeavors comprisingcivilization for the purpose of undertaking agendas and projects not mandated in itsfounding charter, or constitution, because they do not stem from its mandate to protectlife, liberty, and private property.
4. Public-Private Partnerships and Home-Grown Soft Fascism.We should see from the preceding section that public-private partnerships do not fit intothe conceptual model of free enterprise. A free society has no need for them and shouldshun them as illicit, prosperity-draining sources of collusion, corruption and theft. Whenthey appear, we should be vigilant to the possibilityprobabilitythat something hasgone badly wrong even if the language of free enterprise is still used. Let us pass thereins of the argument into Joan Veons hands, for she has done as much as anyone todocument the specifically fascist tendency at work here. Veon explains:
A public-private partnership will always have as its goal a business-makingventure that requires some form of governance. The question is, since theplayers will vary in experience and wealth, who has the most power? We knowfrom life itself that whoever has the most money has the power. For example,when a public-private partnership is comprised of governments such as theCounty Department of Environmental Initiatives, the State Department ofEnvironmental Resources; a number of private entities such as a land trust(foundation) and the Nature Conservancy (nonprofit); along with a corporationsuch as Black and Decker, the players with the most money control thepartnership. In this case, it would be the Nature Conservancy with assets of over12$1 billion, and Black and Decker Corporation with a capitalization of $1.6billion. Representative government loses.25By this method, then, citizens are deprived of private property rights and control overtheir lives and business activities. When private companies must compete in an openmarket for the best employees and for customers, that is free enterprise capitalism (orlaissez-faire). However, when they form partnerships with government, or when eitherone partners with foundations or nonprofit sector entities, or even, I would argue, arelegally able to borrow money from banks created according to the fractional reservesystem, free enterprise is compromised. The economic system begins its move from aone based on liberty and productivity to one based on control and plunder. Ifcorporations have the most moneyas is often the casethey will obtain levels of powerthat make them as dangerous as any government not on a constitutional leash.Fascism is the name we give to the ideology which merges the power of the purse(business, foundations, nonprofits) with the power of the sword (government) in order tocreate policy, impose it by methods ranging from subterfuge to force, and take a societyin a desired direction. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines fascism as apolitical philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above theindividual and that stands for a centralized, autocratic government headed by a dictatorialleader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression ofopposition. Perhaps still better:
Fascism adheres to the philosopher-king belief that only one classwhich isby birth, education, or social standingis capable of understanding what is bestfor the whole community and putting it into practice.26Thus fascism tends to develop when those in business who want unearned wealth orpower join forces with would-be philosopher-kings with that Platonist visionor becomeone and the same, under the Platonist assumption that they and their selected cohorts aremost fit to rule. At first, the system is not overtly totalitarian. Those with newfoundpower want as many people as they can to accept their leadership without being forced.Joan Veon quotes Bertram Gross from Friendly Fascism:
Although the classic fascists openly subverted constitutional democracy theytook great pains to conceal the Big Capital-Big Government partnership. Onedevice for doing this was the myth of corporatism or the corporate state. Inplace of geographically elected parliaments, the Italians and the Germans set upelaborate systems whereby every interest in the countryincluding laborwasto be functionally represented. In fact, the main function was to providefacades behind which the decisions were made by intricate networks of businesscartels working closely with military officers and their own people in civiliangovernment.27Todays public-private partnerships have these same ingredients even if the main powerplayers have changed. Veon argues persuasively that the process of reinventinggovernment that took the country by storm during the Clinton years is the best means of13understanding the political environment in which public-private partnerships are most at home.
home.What, precisely, do we mean, soft fascism? This notion can be understood only in thecontext of the fourth E of sustainable development: education. While a full treatmentagain goes beyond what we can do here, American history discloses two broadphilosophies of education, what I will call the classical model and the vocational model.28The classical model incorporates the full scope of liberal arts, including history andcivics, logic and philosophy, theology, mathematics as reasoning, economics includingpersonal finance and money management. Its goal is an informed citizen whounderstands something of his or her heritage and of the principles of sound governmentand sound economics generally. The vocational model considers education sufficient if itenables to graduate to be a tradesman or obedient worker. History, logic, etc., have littleto contribute to this, and so are ratcheted down, as in the School-To-Work model.Mathematical education, for example, will be sufficient if it enables students to usecalculators instead of their brains. Government schools, over recent decades, have beenincreasingly bent in the direction of the vocational model. This is known colloquially asdumbing down.29
The result of this process is a graduate who will follow his leaders, be they governmentalor corporate, directly into public-private partnerships because, having no knowledge oftheir problems both economic and constitutional, he has no other points of reference. Hisscope is present-focused or near-future-focused. He will go along as did those Germans,schooled according to the Hegelian model of education that subordinated the individualto the needs of the state or of society. This model arguably began to be incorporatedinto government-sponsored schools at their beginning, when Horace Mann visited Prussiain the 1840s, and eventually evolved into the vocational model. In our situation,vocational programs school students to fit the needs of the global economy seen asan autonomous, collective endeavor, instead of educating individuals to find their ownways in the world, shaping the economy to meet their needs.This system is fascist since it involves corporations and governments working together tomake policy; it is soft fascist because (due to the lack of genuine education) it is notovertly totalitarian. Tyrannical controls are barely needed, because among the mindcontrolledworkers and future workers there is little resistance. Most go along, fearingunemployment. After all, as George Orwell once observed, Circus dogs jump when thetrainer cracks his whip, but the really well-trained dog is the one that turns his somersaultwhen there is no whip.30 Soft fascism thus employs behavior modification rather thanobvious acts of tyranny. It is guided by an incentive system rather than overt acts ofcoercion: operant conditioning, a product of several decades of behavioral psychology towhich the classical fascists were not privy. Thus for much of the population, there is nowhip. Those who do not turn their somersaultsperhaps out of a realization that theirchoices have been artificially reducedare marginalized and eventually able to find onlymenial jobs. Lack of resources renders them effectively helplesstheir punishment fornonconformity, in the behavioral psychologists sense. The system is effectivelyinsulated against their criticisms, which as Orwell also observed, will not be read in14places where they threaten the governing class. This class will have the Platonistphilosopher-kings at the helm, overseeing public-private partnerships involving biggovernment, big business, big foundations, with the full backing of the mainstreammedia, approximately 90 percent of which is owned by a half-dozen huge corporations.This explains why you will not encounter criticisms of public-private partnerships or ofthe idea of sustainable development in any mainstream media outlet today.
5. Implications and Concluding Remarks.
We should make no mistake about what we are dealing with here. Public-privatepartnerships are a central manifestation of sustainable development, along with educationfor sustainability. Sustainable development is itself one (albeit a very large)manifestation of a larger tripartite goal, the goal of the would-be philosopher-kings whoseem themselves as most fit to rule. They are bringing about a permanent revolutionemploying Fabian methodology (penetrate, permeate, transform from within, quietly,quietly)31 employing Orwellian doublespeak wherever necessary. We are seeingif weknow what to look foran expansive agenda, decades old, bankrolled by evil men withvery deep pockets. The tripartite goal:
(1) global economics, built up as managed-capitalism in order to exploitthe enormous wealth available through corporations of all sizes, especiallymultinational and transnational;
(2) global government seen as necessary to regulate trade within thisglobal economy, also built up through progressive regionalization, as theend run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece proceedsapace32; and
(3) a global pagan religion based on principles such as the Gaia hypothesisand what can be found in the Earth Charter.
This is not a conspiracy theory, even though you will not hear it reported on the 6oclock news.33 It is as much a fact as gravity. It is not even hidden from us; thedocuments supporting such claims, penned by their own advocates, are readily availableto anyone willing to do some elementary research.34
Achieving (1) means (for example): appearing to advance global free trade whileactually destroying private property rights, existing prosperity, and government byconsent of the governed. It has involved employing pseudo-free trade agreements (e.g.,NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA, etc.) and other devices where necessary (e.g., SPP) to bringabout a migration of power to transnational organizations such as the UN, GATT, theWTO, the Bank for International Settlements and the World Economic Forum, amongothers. It is important to realize, with a nod to Orwell, that in the contemporary setting,free trade no more means free trade than freedom means slavery. This does it excludeallowing pockets of economic free choice if they serve special purposes, such as locally15owned small businesses being forced to close when people choose to shop at the newlyopened Wal-Mart.
Achieving (2) calls for the erosion and eventual elimination of national sovereignty, anatural outcome of the processes just sketched. The gradualist regionalization processwas championed by Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book Between Two Ages.35 This booklaid out the entire agenda that has been pursued under the Orwellian free trade rubric inthe chapter entitled The Third American Revolution. Gradualist regionalization wasagain championed at Mikhail Gorbachevs first State of the World Forum in 1995.Arguably it has been almost achieved under the auspices of the European Union, and itsadvocates in our hemisphere are using the EU as a model to create a North AmericanUnion.36
Achieving (3) means: either undermining Christianity by continuing to limit its capacityto influence the culture while promoting paganism and an egalitarianism of faiths(possibly excepting Islam), or hijacking it. In the case of the latter, millions of ordinarychurchgoers who would never be tempted by overt paganism can be made to serve thepurposes the globalism. It will be sufficient to lure unsuspecting (because again poorlyeducated) churchgoers into a "spirituality" based exclusively or almost exclusively onfeelings, so that as members of "faith-based" organizations they will be caught up inpublic-private partnerships without question. They will be led to support the agenda ofthe UN and other globalist bodies without realizing it.
Progress on the first two areas began at least in the 1940s, which saw both the creation ofthe UN and GATT; it began to pick up speed in the 1970s following the publication ofBrzezenskis book and David Rockefellers creation of the Trilateral Commission. The1980s saw the creation of enterprise zones, under the realization that carefully managedcapitalism would more easily evolve into a workable global socialism than the actuallyexisting socialism in places such as the Soviet Union, the collapse of which wasengineered under the watchful eye of globalist Mikhail Gorbachev. In the 1990s, withNAFTA and the WTO, this agenda accelerated rapidly, and has continued to the pointwhere it can be argued that we have, in fact, sacrificed a substantial fraction of ournational sovereignty as well as seen much of our middle class destroyed.37 A descriptionof progress on the third again exceeds the scope of this article, but arguably also began toin the late 1940s when the pseudoscientific, Rockefeller-bankrolled Kinsey reportsadvocated a naturalistic, morally neutral vision of sex. By implication this attacked theidea of a connection between Judeo-Christian morality and sexual activity, giving rise tothe sexual revolution.38 This was also the period when bogus interpretations of the FirstAmendment by the Warren Supreme Court forcibly removed prayers from governmentschools, which from the beginning served as repositories of social engineering. In otherwords, what George Herbert Walker Bush called the new world order is no longermerely emerging, it is practically here, almost unnoticedand being willingly embracedby a lot of people who from lack of proper education do not know any better.39
Public-private partnerships are a key component of this overall process. They invariablyinvolve governance, working under the assumption not merely that government cannot16get the job done but that freedom cannot get it done. In so doing, they effectively mergelarge business and large governments in ways characteristic of fascism. Combined witheducation that stresses vocation at the expense of subjects such as history, logic, personalfinance, comparative economic systems, etc., they presage the rise of home grown softfascism with which an unthinking mass will readily comply. Ultimately, this systemthreatens Americans with the equivalent of totalitarian controlsjust in case those whostop their somersaults lead to the coming of the whips.
The globalist plan for the world will, of course, eventually fail; the economics it requires(of massive borrowing and theft through redistribution of the worlds resources) is out ofaccord with the requirements reality places on us if we are to achieve genuine freedomand lasting prosperity. It will not fail immediately, however, and if allowed to run itscourse will wreak havoc across the entire globe, after having destroyed the onecivilization that gave the globe ideals of liberty worth emulating. Exposing the growingedifice of controls on individual freedom contained within sustainable developmentthrough public-private partnerships is necessary if we are to get rid of this hidden threatto liberty in our lifetimes, and begin the job of restoring individual liberty and privateproperty rights. Hopefully this paperand this sessionhas provided a worthycontribution to this effort.40
1 For the Good of the People: Using Public-Private Partnerships To Meet Americas Essential Needs, AWhite Paper on Partnerships Prepared by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, 2002, p. 4.
2 Critical Choices: The Debate Over Public-Private Partnerships and What It Means For AmericasFuture, a White Paper Prepared by the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, 2003, p. 5.
3 For the Good of the People, p. 6.
4 Ibid., p. 18.
5 E.g., The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944).6 Cf. D. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (New York: Macmillan, 1974).7 Our Common Future: The World Commission on Environment and Development (Oxford, UK: OxfordUniversity Press, 1987), p. 8, 43.
8 J.E. Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look At Life on Earth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982)
.9 For details see Joan Veon, Prince Charles: The Sustainable Prince (Oklahoma City: HearthstonePublishing, 1997), ch. 2; see also p. 125.
10 Agenda 21, ch. 30, http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21chapter30.htm
11 Joan Veon, Prince Charles, p. 38.
12 Cf. Robert P. Hillmann, Reinventing Government: Fast Bullets and Culture Changes (Murchison Chairof Free Enterprise, no date).13 For a good history of Fabian socialism see Rose L. Martin, Fabian Freeway (Santa Monica, Calif.:Fidelis Publishers, 1968).
14 Cf. Stuart Butler, Enterprise Zones (New York: Universe Books, 1981). This work openly credits aFabian for the concept:
On 20 June 1978, Sir Geoffrey Howe [a Fabian], Member of Parliament and spokesmanon economic issues for Britains then-opposition Conservative Party, delivered a speechon the problem of blighted inner-city neighborhoods . Sir Geoffrey suggested thatmany, perhaps most, of the problems experienced by depressed neighborhoods in centralcities were due to the erection of bureaucratic, tax, and other obstacles by the verygovernments that were seeking to revive these areas . He went to lay out a radicalsolution, to which he gave the name Enterprise Zones. Within these zones, he said,everything possible should be done to maximize economic freedom . By so doing, heargued, a process of economic and social experimentation would be set in motion that17would restore inner cities to their former role as centers of creativity and opportunity .Similar lines of thought and conclusions had been developing in academic and othercircles for a number of years on both sides of the Atlantic. Enterprise Zones were, ineffect, a political package emanating from the work of many writers and many projectsaround the world. For instance, in his speech Sir Geoffrey paid warm tribute to thethinking of Professor Peter Hall, an authority on urban planning and a former chairmanof the Fabian Society, a leading intellectual group in Britain committed to democraticsocialism . (pp. 1-2, emphasis added).Thus the direct connection between enterprise zones and Fabian socialism and the rise of managed orcontrolled capitalism. I am grateful to Terry Hayfield for having first brought this material to my attention.
15 For the Good of the People, op. cit., n. 1, pp. 10-11
.16 See, e.g., http://www.corridorwatch.org/ttc/cw-corridor.htm for more details.17 See http://www.spp.gov.
18 See e.g., Ronald D. Utt, How Public-Private Partnerships Can Facilitate Public School Construction. Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation, 1999. Cf. also the literature cited in Utts bibliography.19 At http://nccic.org/ccpartnerships/resource.htm.
20 At http://www/weforum.org/pdf/JEI/Summary.pdf.
21 Michal J. Chapman and Senator Michele Bachman, How New U.S. Policy Embraces a State-PlannedEconomy, http://www.edwatch.org/pdfs/US%20planned%20economy%20-v1.2c%20pdf.pdf
22 Originally, of course: thesis, antithesis, synthesis: uniting opposites to a achieve a sought-after goalwithout the participants knowledge.
23 As Ayn Rand correctly observed, There is no such thing as a collective brain," Capitalism: TheUnknown Ideal (New York: Signet, 1966), p. 16
24 But see G. Edward Griffin, The Creature From Jekyll Island (Westlake Village, Calif.: American Media,1994), for the best historical account of how central banking cartels have effectively wrecked thisrepublics finances.25 Joan Veon, Prince Charles, p. 41.
26 Ibid., p. 86, quoting William Ebenstein, Todays isms: Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, Socialism(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972), p. 67.
27 Ibid., pp. 84-85; quoting Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism (Boston: South End Press, 1980), p. 11.
28 For a detailed account cf. the authors In Defense of Logic, in preparation.
29 For a very detailed, authoritative account cf. Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, The Deliberate Dumbing Downof America (Ravenna, Oh.: Conscience Press, 1999); cf. also John Taylor Gatto, The Underground Historyof American Education (New York: Oxford Village Press, 2000/2001), B.K. Eakman, The Cloning of theAmerican Mind (Lafayette, La.: Huntington House, 1998), and Sheldon Richman, Separating School andState (Fairfax, Va.: Future of Freedom Foundation, 1994).
30 George Orwell, British Press Circus Dogs, Tribune, July 7, 1944 (currently available athttp://www.orwelltoday.com/orwellwarcircuspress.shtml.)
31 Terry Hayfield has developed the concept of permanent revolution to describe our times; cf. especiallyhis article The Permanent Revolution, The Idaho Observer, January, 2003,http://proliberty.com/observer/20030115.htm.
32 Cf. Richard N. Gartner, The Hard Road to World Order, Foreign Affairs, April 1974. Foreign Affairsis the flagship journal of the Council on Foreign Relations
33 Cf. James H. Fetzer, Thinking About Conspiracy Theories, in The 9/11 Conspiracy (Chicago: CatfeetPress / Open Court, forthcoming) or at http://www.scholarsfor911truth.org/fetzerexpandedex.htm.
34 In fact, this evidence was available long before the rise of the Internet. In the 1950s Congress set up theReece Commission, or the Special Committee to Investigate Tax Exempt Foundations, which found thatthe huge fortunes accumulated under the names Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, and so on, were today beingused to destroy or discredit the free enterprise system which gave them birth. See Rene Wormser,Foundations: Their Power and Influence (New York: Devin-Adair, 1958). Quote is from p. vii. For agood summary cf. Joan Veon, The United Nations Global Straitjacket (Oklahoma City: Hearthstone,2000), pp. 61-104, which goes into far greater detail about how public-private partnerships furtherempower the powerful than can be done in a paper of this length.
35 New York: Viking Press, 1970.
36 Cf. Building a North American Community, published in 2005 by the Council on Foreign Relations.
1837 Cf. also Alan Tonelson, The Race To the Bottom (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2002); WilliamNorman Grigg, Americas Engineered Decline (Appleton, Wisc.: The John Birch Society, 2004).
38 For Kinsey cf. Judith Reisman, Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences, the Red Queen and the GrandScheme (Fairfax, Va.: Institute for Media Education, 1998).
39 Again I say emphatically: the actual documentation for these conspiratorial sounding claims isimmense, for those willing to go to the trouble of seeking it out.
40 I am grateful to my associates Michael Shaw and Henry Lamb for their participation in this project, andto the former in particular for long phone conversations relevant to the subject matter of this paper. I amalso indirectly grateful to Terry Hayfield whose ideas on what he calls the permanent revolution (anexpression inherited from Marx and Trotsky) influenced the direction of this paper, especially the idea thatthe Fabian-directed building up of global capitalism has become a means to world socialism andeventually communism (the real thing, as opposed to the state-capitalism of the Soviets). The usualdisclaimers apply.
Big time global socialism coming your way....
Long read but very much worth the time.
Something to ponder the next time you pour yourself some tap water, turn on an appliance, cook with gas . . . .
Excellent article. There is no altruism in the "Common Ground" agenda.
That's a great line!
"Physical Conservatism is what made this country prosperous and independent. The lack of it will kill or enslave us."
Young folks today are not willing to sacrifice for a goal. I think if they looked at their elders they would have learned how. Maybe they have no goals.
Well now we have a term describing the road builders: Fascism Lite.
Ping to meself for later.
For similar analysis see The Road to Serfdom by Hayek.
One example from my youth comes to mind. About 20 years ago Houston began its campaign of providing public bus transportation. Many Hispanic immigrants started operating private bus services based on a very simple modelthey went up and down the major routes and charged a dollar. Houston did not like the competition, so they made it illegal to pick up or drop off passengers within the city.
Well worth a read, at least once! Sounds like a textbook plan of where California is headed... Public Private Partnerships, Global Warming, renewed Enterprise Zones, massive borrowing, eminent domain, etc.
I wonder if Fabian Núñez got his name from the Fabian Socialists.
I think the Islamo-fascists are gonna monkey wrench the Fabian's plans big time.
That is NOT a partnership... That's involuntary servitude, dude!!!
Government, when stripped down to it's basic essence in nothing but pure FORCE!!! It therefore cannot be your "friend" or "partner!"
Of course I'm not saying anything you all didn't understand already!!! (even if you are all 5th columnists)(snort!)
Later read if I can force my simple brain to try.
Just a thought:
"My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it... People need somebody to watch over them...
Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. News & World Report, November 26, 1990
"WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND!!!"
Sorry for yelling like that, but that's the reaction I have to that leftist lummox, Schwartzenegger!!!
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