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Trump's stance also represents a departure from US engagement with what is known as the rules-based international order which the United States helped create after World War II. American presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama may have had differences over priorities and tactics "but all of them spoke about leading others," he said. Trump, on the other hand, is "deeply skeptical of multilateralism" and has "turned his back on that world that America made," he said.

While Trump has been described as an isolationist, the scholars said that depiction is not quite accurate. Lindsay warned that the US risks creating a "political vacuum on the geo-political level" if it abandons its global leadership role. Right now the Chinese are trying to do that. The content you requested does not exist or is not available anymore. Page not found. They had no automobiles, nor even horses; only ox-wagons. Their standard of living, in a word, had remained that of the pioneers of Illinois a hundred years ago.

Possibly their standard of living has already been raised. It may be that in time every tooth in Russia will be brushed thrice daily and every child fed spinach. But if this is done for the people in former Russia, it will not be done by them, but to them. And what will do it? The State? The picture of the economic revolution as the final step to freedom was false as soon as I asked myself that question. For, in actual fact, The State, The Government, cannot exist. They are abstract concepts, useful in their place, as the theory of minus numbers is useful in mathematics.

In actual living experience, however, it is impossible to subtract anything from nothing; when a purse is empty, it is empty, it cannot contain minus ten dollars. On this same plane of actuality, no State, no Government, exists. What does in fact exist is a man, or a few men, in power over many men. The Reformation reduced the power of the State, the priests, so that common men were free to think and to speak as they pleased.

Political revolution reduced or destroyed the power of the State, the kings, so that common men were more nearly free to do as they pleased.

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The American Credo, by George Jean Nathan and H. L. Mencken.

But this economic revolution concentrated economic power in the hands of the State, the commissars, so that the lives, the livelihoods, of common men were once more subject to dictators. Every advance toward personal liberty which had been gained by the religious revolution and by the political revolution, was lost by the collectivist economic reaction.

When I considered facts, I could not see how it could be otherwise. The communist village was possible because there a few men, face to face, struggled each for his own self-interest, until out of that conflict a reasonably satisfactory balance was arrived at. The same thing happens within every family. But the government of men in hundreds of millions is another thing.

Time and space prevent a personal struggle of so many wills, each in personal encounter with each of the others arriving at a common decision. The government of multitudes of men must be in the hands of a few men. Americans blamed Lenin because he did not establish a republic. Had he done so, the fact that a few men ruled Russia would not have been altered. Representative government cannot express the will of the mass of the people, because there is no mass of the people; The People is a fiction, like The State.

You cannot get a Will of the Mass, even among a dozen persons who all want to go on a picnic. The only human mass with a common will is a mob, and that will is a temporary insanity. In actual fact, the population of a country is a multitude of diverse human beings with an infinite variety of purposes and desires and fluctuating wills. From time to time, an action of a majority can alter the methods by which men get power, the extent of that power, or the terms upon which they are allowed to keep it. But a majority does not govern; it cannot govern; it acts as a check on its governors.

Any government of multitudes of men, anywhere, at any time, must be a man, or few men, in power. There is no way to escape from that fact. A republic is not possible in the Soviet Union because the aim of its rulers is an economic aim. Economic power differs from political power. Politics is a matter of broad principles which, once adopted may stand unchanged indefinitely; such principles as, for example, that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.

From such principles are drawn general rules; as, no taxation without representation.

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Such rules are embodied in law restricting or limiting political power; as, The sole right to levy taxes is vested in Congress and only Congress may spend the collected tax-money. Economics, however, is not concerned with abstract principles and general laws, but with material things; it deals directly with actual carloads of coal, harvests of grain, output of factories.

Economic power in action is subject to an infinity of immediately unpredictable crises affecting material things; it is subject to drought, storm, flood, earthquake and pestilence, to fashion, and diseases, and insects, to the breaking down and the wearing out of machinery.

Shall lipsticks be permitted? Is there any economic value in chewing-gum? There is a perfectly good point of view, from which the whole tobacco industry is an economic waste. The entire economic circulation-system of a modern country is affected by the number of its people who wash behind the ears. This somewhat private matter affects the import and production of vegetable oils; the use of fat from farm animals; the manufacture of chemicals; perfumes, colors; the building or closing of soap factories, with attendant changes in employment in these factories and in the building trades and heavy industries, and in the demand for raw materials and for labor in their production; and freight-car loadings and use of fuel, with its effects on mines, oilfields and transportation.

So much for soap; consider now the washcloth, to be used or not to be used, with all the effects of that decision upon cotton fields, or flax, and labor, in field and in factory, cotton-gins with their by-product of cottonseed for oil or fertilizer or stockfeed, and spinning and weaving machines, their demands on the steel industry. All these economic factors and many others change with changing habits of personal cleanliness.

A Hollywood diet or a passion for jigsaw puzzles has prodigious results in the most unexpected, remote places. Whether the hungry child home from school eats bread and butter or candy is a matter of international economic importance. Centralized economic control over multitudes of human beings must therefore be continuous and perhaps superhumanly flexible, and it must be autocratic.

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It must be government by a swift flow of edicts issued in haste to catch up with events receding into the past before they can be reported, arranged, analyzed and considered, and it will be compelled to use compulsion. In the effort to succeed, it must become such minute and rigorous control of details of individual life as no people will accept without compulsion. It cannot be subject to the intermittent checks, reversals, and removals of men in power which majorities cause in republics.

In Russia, then, our hope was realized; the economic revolution had occurred. That is to say, in actual fact a sincere and extremely able man, Lenin, was in power, devoted to the stupendous task of reducing multitudes of human beings to efficient economic order, for what this man and his followers honestly believed to be the ultimate material welfare of those multitudes. And what I saw was not an extension of human freedom, but the establishment of tyranny on a new, widely extended and deeper base. The historical novelty of the Soviet government was its motive.

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Other governments have existed to keep peace among their subjects, or to amass money from them, or to use them in trade and war for the glory of the men governing them. But the Soviet government exists to do good to its people, whether they like it or not.

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And I felt that, of all the tyrannies to which men have been subject, that tyranny would be the most ruthless and the most agonizing to bear. There is some refuge for freedom under other tyrannies, since they are less thorough and not so remorselessly armed with righteousness. But from benevolence in economic power I could see no refuge whatever. Every report I have since heard from the Soviet Union has confirmed this opinion, and I listen only to reports from its friends, for I believe that Communists best understand what is happening there.

For twenty-seven years the men who rule that country have toiled prodigiously to create precisely the society we dreamed of; a society in which insecurity, poverty, economic inequality, shall be impossible. To that end they have suppressed personal freedom; freedom of movement, of choice of work, freedom of self-expression in ways of life, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience. Given their aim, I do not see how they could have done otherwise. Producing food from the earth and the sea, making goods from assembled raw materials, and their storing, exchanging, transporting, distributing and consuming by vast multitudes of human beings, are activities so intricately inter-related and inter-dependent that efficient control of any part of them demands control of the whole.

No man can so control multitudes of men without compulsion, and that compulsion must increase. It must increase because human beings are naturally diverse. It is the nature of men to do the same thing in different ways, to experiment, invent, make mistakes, depart from the past in an infinite variety of directions.

Plants and animals repeat routine, but men who are not restrained will go into the future like explorers into a new country, and exploration is always wasteful. Great numbers of explorers accomplish nothing and many are lost. Economic compulsion is, therefore, constantly threatened by human willfulness.

It must constantly overcome that willfulness, crush all impulses of egotism and independence, destroy variety of human desires and behavior. Centralized economic power endeavoring to plan and to control the economic processes of a modern nation is under a necessity, either to fail or to tend to become absolute power in every province of human life.

The only thing that matters is the collectivist State. The Communist hope of economic equality in the Soviet Union rests now on the death of all the men and women who are individuals. A new generation, they tell me, had already been so shaped and schooled that a human mass is actually being created; millions of young men and women do, in veritable fact, have the psychology of the bee-swarm, the ant-hill. This does not seem to incredible to me as it once did.

There may yet be a human bee-swarm in Russia. It would not be unique in history; there was Sparta. There was Sparta, unchanging in its rigid forms of standardized behavior and thought until it was destroyed from without. There is the bee-swarm, static, unchanging through untold generations of individuals who ceaselessly repeat the same pattern of action devoted to the welfare of all.

If there is progress in life, that it not life; it is a kind of animate and breathing death. I came out of the Soviet Union no longer a communist, because I believed in personal freedom. Like all Americans, I took for granted the individual liberty to which I had been born. It seemed as necessary and as inevitable as the air I breathed; it seemed the natural element in which human beings lived. The thought that I might lose it had never remotely occurred to me. And I could not conceive that multitudes of human beings would ever willingly live without it.

It happened that I spent many years in the countries of Europe and Western Asia, so that at last I learned something, not only of the words that various peoples speak, but of the real meanings of those words. Everywhere in Europe I encountered the living facts of medieval caste and of the static medieval social order. I saw them resisting, and vitally resisting, individual freedom and the industrial revolution.