We’re not done.
We thought we were…we were encouraged to think so, by those who would have an End to such Leveling; Such a Challenge, to unearned Privilege, Wealth and Power.
It’s not only the Fault of the NeoAristocracy…We(capitalised), Abdicated….We left the Field, to pursue more Mundane things…We halted the Climb, of Education(falling into Specialism), towards the Ideal of “Every Man, a King”…
My 10 yr old asks,”what’s the Cold War?”
How does one answer this?
With the saccharin Mythos, of Commie East vs Capitalist West?
With the simplistic story of competing Ideologies, which were, in reality, merely different means to the same end?(Total State)
Or, does one attempt to Define Terms, as Honestly and Realistically, as is possible? To tell the Tale, shorn of it’s Black and White Polemics?
(from Wiki:Anticommunism:” Many capitalist critics[who?] see a key error in communist economic theory, which predicts that in capitalist societies, the bourgeoisie will accumulate ever-increasing capital and wealth, while the lower classes become more dependent on the ruling class for survival, selling their labor power for the most minimal of salaries, blaming the effect on capitalism. Anti-communists[who?] point to the overall rise in the average standard of living in the non-communist West and claim that both the rich and poor have steadily gotten richer.”)
How does one refute this, when the Language has become meaningless? The assumption, so widespread as to be an Article of Faith, is that We, in the US, are “Capitalist”….as God intended.
….and that our “Capitalism” defeated the evil Commies, by “Winning” the Cold War.
It appears to me, after studying the matter, that We haven’t been Capitalist, in the Adam Smith sense, in 70 years,or more…that , instead, we have been increasingly under some New Thing, wrapped in the trappings of the Popular Conception of “Capitalism”, while building something quite different. And, as for “Winning”…the USSR appears to have collapsed, of it’s own accord, despite the belligerence and posturing of St. Ron.
What happened, after WW2, that could account for this change, from something that at least resembled Smithian Capitalism?
I told my kid, that the Cold War was a Cover, for a War on Us…on We the People…it was a Stealthy War…fought in our minds, and never openly declared(the Cowards!)
What the Aggressors in this War were after was a New Feudalism….an End to the Enlightenment Project… of which both Capitalism and Socialism ,and Communism, were a product. They wanted to Freeze Time, and curb the Brush Fires in the Minds of the People. Unions, Fair Wages, Democratic Government, and the like.
What we have today is something different than what we believe we have.
Ask a person on the street to define, “Capitalism”, “Socialism”, “Communism”, “Fascism”…and ya get a bundle of Bumper Stickers.
No one knows, and worse…no one knows that they Do Not Know…on the contrary, they are quite Certain that they Do have a good grasp of what these words mean. Making Rational Discourse, Dialog, Impossible.
It is like a case study on effective Propaganda.
I assert that both endeavors, the so called “Communist East”(USSR,China, etc), and the so called “Capitalist West” are failures(the latter failure is still in process). Neither of them have any relation, in their actual function, systems and results…with the Names on the Flags, as it were. There was very little of Marx in the Commie East…and there’s very little Smith (or even Keynes,Mises, et al) in the West.
The effect of our version of “Capitalism”, is looking a whole lot like the effects of “Their Version” of “Communism”.
Look around, look at the Panopticon, the Drug War the “War on Terror”…all of it is consistent with the barrage of Propaganda, warning us all about the Evils of Communism.
Look at Captain America, Iron Man, etc…the caricatures of Evil, Incarnate that they fought, on behalf of Freedom and the American Way…
It’s Identical…the imagery, the Rhetoric…about the “Need” for such activity; I’ll go one further, it’s functionally Identical to the Propaganda pushed by everyone from the Nazi’s to the Khmer Rouge.Were these all “Communists”? Or is there some other Facet we should be concentrating on.
It is almost impossible to have this conversation, in America, today.
Too quickly we fall into predictable tracks, of “Thought” and Rhetoric…
Indeed, for all of my life, and that of my parents, real, two-way, Dialog…in the Socratic Sense…has been all but verboten…
Somehow, Unions, and even Democracy, have been equated to Death Camps, Goose Stepping, Widespread Spying….the whole panoply of Totalitarianism…
This is the Mind Fuck I keep talking about…for all of the Evils, for which We were told to FEAR the East…We have allowed to be visited on Ourselves…under Color of Freedom.
It’ll take time to get all this across, to my Boys…I’m reluctant to talk, Honestly, even about the Drug War(ie Legalize It!)…for fear that tongues will slip, or that they will talk to the Friendly Police Officer, who visits them every year.(Echoes of Stasi)
I’m Reluctant, but I still have that conversation with them. To avoid it out of Fear would be Criminal.
I have seen the “History” Textbooks, that the High School uses.
You’d think that the Republicans have saved Civilisation, numerous times, from people a lot like Me…Dear Old Dad…
I have my work cut out for me.
Consider this, from the Wiki for “Communist Manifesto”: “This section further explains that the proletarians will eventually rise to power through class struggle: the bourgeoisie constantly exploits the proletariat for its manual labour and cheap wages, ultimately to create profit for the bourgeois; the proletariat rise to power through revolution against the bourgeoisie such as riots or creation of unions. “
Wonderful(and it’s consistent with my understanding of the Manifesto, itself…I happen to be well into a Wiki Wander)
So “Communism” is a Threat, a Challenge… to the “Bourgeoisie”…isn’t that the whole Point?
Unless that Perfect World suddenly manifests, where the Rich have a care for the Poor, and restrain their Dictatorial Tendencies…until all Men are Vituous…Until then, it seems to me that the Bourgeoisie should be asked to defend themselves…they require a Rival, so that they may be held back from what appears to be the end of their unmolested trajectory…an amalgam of all conceivable Dystopias.(…that we get closer to every day, Look at the News).
Instead, Considered Opposition to Corporate Monopoly “Capitalism” has been severely circumscribed…often by self-censorship on the part of those who would counter the Ruling Paradigm. There’s a whole world of Thought, which cannot be used, lest one be tagged a “Commie”…and now that they’re all the same thing,lol…a Socialist and Fascist, as well.
”Liberal”, as epithet.
The false equivalencies run deep. “Capitalism”, somehow, is now the same thing as Corporate Monopoly “Capitalism”….even the Libertarian Party has gone this way, starting during the last half of the Bush Darkness. And, if one took a stand against Corporations, one could not be a “Capitalist”, and was, thus, Evil…and the whole list of epithets I stated , above.
As I’ve said before…I don’t consider myself a Marxist. I appreciate his Ideas…and I think his predictions, regarding the progression of “Capitalism” to be remarkably Prescient. His “Cure” for such things…well I have a lot of problems with.
That’s really the Point I’m trying to make in this Meander…we can’t talk about economics, or politics, or anything of substance, because of all the Mythology and the Rush to Label, the Corruption of Language and the overall dumbing down.
So we’re stuck in this Paradigm, because not enough of us can agree on definitions, to conceive of anything But This Paradigm…No Exit from the train.
Is this how Ammianus Marcellinus felt? Or any number of his contemporaries?
I’ve lately included Ivanhoe to the little pile of Books In Progress, that I keep by the bed. Behind the rambling Hanoverian English, and the prejudices Scott was known to harbour…it’s made me think about Feudalism, Manorialism…the System that the Enlightenment Project overcame.
It’s also brought me back to the idea of a continuity of Struggle…between Power and Privilege, and the Little People, the “teeming masses, yearning to be Free…”.
Viewed through a suitable Historical Telescope, from a far enough distance, all of Human History is the story of this Struggle…
The First Farmers led to the First Village, which led to the First City…and somewhere, along in there, was the First Priest, who got together with the First Strongman…and sought Power and Privilege, over the rest.
It is the same struggle, we face today.
The Names of the Combatants have changed, as well as the Names, and Perceptions and Understandings, of what, exactly, was being fought over…
Progress, indeed, has been made, over the last 500 years, or so…towards a more Liberal World…incrementally…
But the Struggle continues, and the Progress is accompanied by Confusion, purposefully expounded by those who wish to undo the Progress.
Or is it Purposeful? Is there a Unified Effort to counter the Enlightenment? Or do those who so counter it believe that what they do is Good and Just? Even, in the height of Irony, to be a Continuation of Enlightenment? Such is the nature of History’s Unfolding…Confusion, not only of Belief, but of Purpose….as in the example of Napoleon, bringing Enlightenment, at the point of the Sword…
(The late Steve Kangas informs me on much of recent history…(http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/tenets.htm )...especially, “On the Origins of the Overclass”,essential reading.)
(From Kangas’ Quote Pages: "All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind."
-- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations)
(it’s no wonder, at all, that he was “Suicided”.)
The Overclass…the Machine….
It is instructive that to talk about “Class”, along with many other “Marxist” Tropes, is all but Forbidden.We are, it is insisted with Fervor, a “Classless Society”….
In my time as an “EZGO Repairman”, traveling to Golf Courses all over Texas, I heard such sentiments in the Clubhouses, where I would go to call for more parts, and the like….uttered by old white men, with soft hands and baby aspirin-colored shorts, looking askance at the filthy, Working Class Hippie, intruding on their Preserve.(an aside, I was the one who was pressed into this Invasion, because I was 1. White(the Mexicans among my crew were explicitly forbidden entry), and 2. In possession of sufficient Stones.(which the Crewleader was not))
These wealthy Parasites had the nerve, and blindness to assert their Classlessness…Cigar Smoke, and Glennfiddich, neat…notwithstanding!
Rugged, Hyperindividualism! Self-Made-Men, every one of them…Yet, how many were then receiving Social Security, Medicare, and Generous Pensions? How many enjoyed Profits from “Investments”, protected by Law? Who did they call, when the line was busy, and I had to hang around for 15 minutes in their Sacred Enclave? The Police, bought and paid for by Me, no less than Them….(!)
(This really happened, in the Woodlands)
These same Self-Regarding Apes routinely launched barrages of golf balls, into our out of the way work areas…We routinely complained to the Management of the various Courses, to no avail…Boys will be Boys…It’s all in good fun, this rain of small white projectiles…
(This really happened, as well…almost everywhere we went)
Turns out, despite the moratorium on such language, that there is, indeed, Class in America…
At that time, in the early 90’s, there was still a functioning, and sizeable, Middle Class…since 2000, that Middle Class has shrunk, by every objective measure, falling downwards, on the Class Scale, swelling the Lower Class. The Mythos of Lazy, Drug Addicted Po Folks shouldn’t by all rights be effective, any more…since so many of the Nouveau Poor should see it’s falsehood, by now…having so recently experienced, First Hand, such rapid decline.
But 40 years of Propaganda, of Mind Fuck, has been remarkably Effective, in, among other accomplishments, instituting an Habitual Blindness to Objective Reality, in Americans; as well as an Easy Forgetfulness.
When I blame all of this on “The Right”, I am using my own Terminology…and I’m not just talking about Republicans, although they are most Guilty. Plenty…hell! The Majority…of Democrats fall under this Definition, this Taxonomy…I think of Nimrod;”
Raphèl maí amèche zabí almi! “
. The Confusion of Tongues! He could be our Patron Saint…
(I’m experiencing a confusion of font size)
What a World we have allowed to be constructed around us, while we were busy with Careers, and Ball Games, and other endeavors(like going into Debt, so as to make up for our lost wages). We let them replace Reality, with Surreality. We , many of us, supported this, believing them when they told us,” you will be fine, it is those Other, Lesser Folks who will , Rightly, Pay”…
My Oldest Son, and I, are watching “Gandhi”, with Ben Kingsley…necessarily over several nights(he’s 10). He now Understands my use of the syllogism, Garden as (Charkha) …as a Stick in the Eye of those who would Rule us, with scarcity.
Hydraulic Despotism, again…one of my very favorite concepts…it, along with Pharaonic System, accurately describes what We endure, today…Various Despotic Tentacles of the Machine, sit astride the Supply Lines.
I ask my son,”When there are so many Folks without Jobs, or without Good Jobs, in Mason…so much Poverty…why does Toilet Paper come from somewhere else? Why is it made by a few Corporations, instead of by our Friends and Neighbors, thereby reducing their penury?”
This is, of course, somewhat allegorical…but I believe it certainly Fits.(see: (http://encyclopedia.toiletpaperworld.com/manufacturers)
One must dig around to find specifics, like where, exactly, TP is made. The Odious Kochs Brothers enjoy a large “Market Share” )
The Rugged Individual…
Recently, some Liberal Videographer(I first saw this on the Daily Show, I think) made a “commercial”, tongue in cheekily advocating Somalia as a Randian Paradise. In other words, the Tea People’s stated desire for No Government, Social Darwinism, Every Man for Himself, already exists….in the war torn, governmentless Horn of Africa…where Piracy and Warlordism are Upwardly Mobile Career Choices. Sweet Freedom!
I have used this trope, in arguing with “Conservative” Trolls, and even with a few good friends, who have, despite my efforts, fallen for the whole enchilada of Right Wing Myth(Welfare Queens, etc). To a man, they have Scoffed at such assertions…without ever getting around to Refuting them. Being of the habit of mind to challenge assertions, even when I am the asserter(!), I have tried to Refute this, in their stead…unsuccessfully. I cannot think of a single reason why Somalia isn’t the End(of) State to which all the Deregulation, Drowning in a Bathtub is leading. Is that not the Stated Goal?
Isn’t an End to Government what they want?
Confusion of Tongues, again…and Orwell must be referenced, here…(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink) …Cognitive Dissonance, as the Normal State of Affairs…especially on the Right.
Real Liberals(Ha) at least Try to make sense with themselves.
The Right believes all manner of Contradictory, Mutually Negating Nonsense…so much, that it is almost Impossible to have a Reasoned Discussion with them. This Dissonance can be found in almost every Article of Faith held by the Right.
(For an interesting discussion of Rightist Psychology, and Pathology, see” (http://jacobinmag.com/spring-2012/against-law-for-order/) )
The Only thing, that We have on our side, is our Number…(h”We are Many, They are Few”))
As I’ve said, the Enlightenment contained it’s own defeat…as it inherited, from what came before, a tendency to bifurcate, into Manichean Black and White…into Opposing Extremities…all of Human Endeavor. This Idea, which also contains an element of Certainty, the Enemy of Thought, is expressed in the Focus on Orthodoxy…that is, “Right Thought”…irregardless of Orthopraxis,or “Right Actions”…
So similar is our current time, in this regard, to all the long Darkness that came before, it is a Testament to Diseducation, that We miss it so completely.
The Orthodoxy of our Age, is “Capitalism”….and to Question it(an Essential part of Enlightenment!), is a Sin.
12th Century Europe could produce no better example….and, as then, the Counterweight to the Triumphant Belief, was Orthopraxis…in that Age, Chivalry, Romance…the Canon of the Troubadour. (see:Joseph Campbell, Jesse Weston,and the Source Material, from Wulfram to Malory)
The Sacred Feminine, asserting Herself, once more…in the face of overwhelming Hypermasculinity, “Believe, or Burn”…She comes, San Graal in hand. Occupy….the People, themselves….are the embodiment of this Counterweight. Caring, subverts Domination.
Love conquers Hatred.
And, growing ever louder, Community outweighs Hyperindividualism.
The last half of the 20th Century saw the Rise to Extreme Height, this Hyperindividualism…glimpses, everywhere…the demise of Front Porch, in favor of “Private” Backyard….Cars, with one Person,;in lieu of Trains. A growing Fear, if not Hatred, of one’s Countrymen…shattered polity, factions, warring Parties.
All of this, to give ethical cover to the self-righteous, self-regarding “Overmen”, at the Top of the Pile….deluding themselves with Fantasies of Self. Dog-Eat-Dog. Wanton Competition, for Competition’s Sake!
“I got mine…Burn the Ladder beneath ME!”
….and the Sacred Feminine, relegated to the Kitchen…or the Whorehouse.
We are left with Emptiness, among Abundance. Individuality rendered Meaningless by lack of Connection. Isolated Kings, Ruling Islands with no one on them…
We are all Amfortas, now….wounded, castrated, powerless…the Land, suffering as a result of our Infirmity. Where is the Holy Fool?
Who shall ask the Healing Question? “Uncle, what ails thee?”
Our Grall, tarnished and bereft of it’s former Luster….who shall ask of it…”How do I Serve Thee?”…whereby the Land is Healed?
Divine Right, as Justification for Authoritarian Rule, is now Transmuted into an insistence that Economics is a Science…just like Biology…
…That there are Laws of Nature at work, keeping our Petty Little Kings atop their “Sad Little Hills.”
What about the Rest of Us?
What about Our promised Kingdoms?...all of the “Knowledge Jobs”, that the “New Economy” promised us, in return for the Pharaohs’ reckless and wholesale export of Our Old Jobs; all the Labour Arbitrage, the Inflationary Meddling, and the Stagnant Wages?
What about the Golden Age of Globalism, still being incessantly preached by our Post Modern Jesuits, flowing out of the Chicago School’s Walnut Paneled corridors?
I want my Limousine! Just like Mr Friedman.
We have tried the Ditch, on the Right Side of our collective highway.
The Drivers, hopped up on Meth, have insisted that this is Necessary, lest we careen all the way across the (perfectly serviceable) Road, into that Other Ditch, where “State Communism” goes to Wallow in it’s own version of Excess. There are Only the Ditches, you see…
The Road, itself, let alone either Shoulder, is left Empty.