I not already offended everybody I know, and many people I don’t,
I’d hesitate to post this essay. I’m an equal-opportunity
offender, as I’ve written often in this space. My latest example,
though likely not my last, is offered in this brief missive.
seems Americans are falling for it again. Afflicted with hope and
humanism, willfully turning a blind eye to the horrors of
imperialism, they are trading reason for wishful thinking and
genocide for a few dollars in the bank. Repeat after me, fellow
Americans: We’re number one!
our collective enthusiasm has waned, who could be surprised? We’ve
traveled this pothole-littered path before, only to be bamboozled by
the same shuck-and-jive nonsense as previous generations.
generally admit that politicians are reasonably intelligent and
knowledgeable about a broad array of topics. And yet we express
surprise when the latest elected official changes course
post-election. The masses, naively believing politicians will serve
them instead of the moneyed interests that greased the election,
constantly ignore the age-old patterns of broken promises,
redistribution of wealth and power, and accelerating oligarchy as
to acknowledge imperialism, horrified to accept the truth about this
set of living arrangements, we muddle along, pretending not to notice
reality even as it intrudes into our personal lives. We can’t even
accept our own individual death, much less the demise of empire or
extinction of Homo
we vote, with plenty of evidence to suggest our vote doesn’t
matter. We each hold our nose in checking the box beside the
politician we believe is the lesser of evils. The lesser of evils is
still evil, and the support of a fascist enterprise we incorrectly
label “democracy” has led to the expected, fascist outcome.
Lenin, who ought to know, said, “fascism is capitalism in decay.”
Or, as I pointed out with far more words than Lenin in a
book published more than a decade ago:
“The administration of George W. Bush is characterized by powerful
and continuing expressions of nationalism, identification of enemies
as a unifying cause, obsession with militaristic national security
and military supremacy, interlinking of religion and the ruling
elite, obsession with crime and punishment, disdain for the
importance of human rights and intellectuals who support them,
cronyism, corruption, sexism, protection of corporate power,
suppression of labor, control over mass media, and fraudulent
elections. These are the defining elements of fascism.”
situation in the United States has worsened considerably as one
spineless, empty suit in the Oval Office has been replaced by
another. I’ve no doubt we’ll rinse and repeat at every future
opportunity. Serving corporate masters comes at a cost to the
laborers, though the latter are adept at denying their slavery. And,
although the United States is almost certainly the worst of the
bunch, other industrialized countries are happy to follow the dirty
road of lies, propaganda, and concentration of power within the hands
of the few at the expense of the many.
Kafka’s short stories and novels don’t even come close to the
reality of our time. We’re firmly ensconced in Aldous Huxley’s
brave (sic) new (sic) world. Most of the proles refuse to acknowledge
the disaster of human affairs, much less the abject horrors beyond
the human realm.
a minor example, from among thousands: the complete isolation of the
political system from the economic system. The latter is never
debated in Congress, much less in town halls or universities.
Economic issues, as emphasized by politicians, are limited to
conversations about taxation and re-distribution. The taboo on
discussions of, for example, ownership and control, is as severe as
the taboo placed by the dominant culture on discussions of grief,
death, sex, and urinating. Discussions about economics are limited to
the economics of capitalism, the unquestioned only path worthy of
conversation. Rather than deal with the foundation of capitalism —
much less the deeper issue of civilization — we allow ourselves to
address the color of the trim on the structure (e.g., wages and
the typical American about any of the following topics, and you’ll
likely receive the same response: atomic bombs, cluster bombs,
depleted uranium, land mines, indefinite detention without due
process, torture of untried detainees, and murder of children. The
response to each of these crimes: We’re upholding security in the
world. If not us, who?
offended when the self-proclaimed patriots marinating in imperialism
refer to the operation housed in the Pentagon as the Department of
Defense. The language was a bit more honest before 1949, when the
entity bore the War label. Even then, Department of Conquest would
have been more accurate.
doubt a Department of Peace emerges any time soon. Peace is boring.
Conquest means bling. Not for you and me, but we don’t matter
beyond our contributions as cannon fodder and cheap labor. And of
course as consumers of cheap products we don’t need.
favorite candidate for political office isn’t going to repair the
system. For starters, the system isn’t broken: It’s fixed, albeit
not for you or me. Another politician isn’t going to douse the
conflagration. He’s more likely to throw gasoline on the fire. Only
then will it be clear what is meant by the expression, “Feel the