Great American Myths
The following myths have long persisted in this country. Mostly they have been perpetuated by the Right, by the Reagan Coalition if you will. But they are un-truths that must be un-taught and undone if we are to save the United States and Planet Earth from continuing and inevitable decline in life quality.
Virtue, Democracy, Liberty and Capitalism are the same thing. The American Right has conflated those terms and concepts for decades. And politically it's worked -- until now. After 911, George Bush spoke of liberating Iraq. But on the ground, U.S. military, government and corporate actions in Iraq have demonstrated that what Bush really meant was liberating Iraq's oil for multinational corporations and eager (but struggling after 911) U.S. consumers. That's not liberation. It's theft and its murder.
Instantaneous information through the Internet and other real-time media has ended the era of pirate capitalism. Globalization has created an integrated world economy which promises fair market prices, basic rule of law and freedom from violence -- for all. Today it is finally time for the United States of America to learn to go along, get along, renounce war and violence, pay fair market prices like everyone else, or learn to do without. As a citizen of the world, America must acknowledge that unregulated Capitalism benefits primarily the richest, while The Bill of Rights defends the poor, the weak and the powerless from exploitation by subjugating everyone to the rule of law. In short, Capitalism fosters greed while the rule of law fosters justice. As human beings, Americans must work harder to mitigate the damage produced from these irreconcilable differences.
It was only through simplistic, bumper-sticker conflation of human values, masking a greed agenda, coupled with fear-mongering -- first under The Cold War then later The War on Terror -- that the Right could ever induce a majority of Americans to vote against its own best interests for three decades.
Cheap gasoline is an American birthright. Henry Ford may have invented (essentially first to economically mass produce) the automobile, but he didn't invent oil -- and neither did John D. Rockefeller. Oil is a naturally occurring commodity resulting from millions of years of slow geological processes. And today, after more than a hundred year industrial and technological revolution, gasoline is still mostly refined from crude oil. But now our world is running out and Peak Oil is a legitimate economic and geopolitical concern. Thus -- absent real technological transformation away from oil to renewable energy sources and conservation -- America's cheap gasoline economy is doomed -- a too-far-flung, suburban dinosaur of economic history.
Finally, the two-time election of a smirking, imbecilic, ne'er-do-well oil man as President of the United States has exposed America's addiction to oil.
When the rich get richer, everyone benefits. When I was a boy, one salient aspiration I held was to earn $12,000 annually (my father's approximate salary at the time), live in a well maintained home that I could keep as I pleased and to try and be happy. Today my wife and I have amassed a net worth, including our home and rental property, well in excess of $1M -- but I am not rich nor happy. Instead I feel mostly cheated and resentful -- just another victim of Milton Friedman's Trickle Down theories of economics.
What exactly do I resent?
- I resent that -- no matter how hard I work, how much I save, or how well I invest -- I will never become rich -- as I was taught my whole life I could. At age 46, I realize that I am simply not lucky or connected enough to become a member of the one percent club. Thus, under Capitalism, like other top-down, politburo systems -- e.g. Soviet Communism, when one is unable to attain membership in the one percent club, then intelligence, education or any form of self/world awareness is simply a vexation to one's existence.
- I resent that in my country, I cannot afford health care; that if my wife or I became very sick, we would be forced to spend two lifetimes of savings in very short order.
- I resent that the President of my country is a war-mongering imbecile. And that my country might very well elect another war-mongering imbecile, John McCain, to replace him.
- I resent my leaders -- all of them -- these government and corporate leaders of myriad nameless, faceless, amoral agencies and corporations that I must serve to remain economically viable as price inflation and currency deflation (baseless, fiat currency is the ultimate economic bubble) erodes my paycheck and my self esteem.
- I resent that corporate officers where I work earn 300 times what I earn annually. And I resent that by most comparisons, my situation is actually quite good, because for most workers, CEO-to-worker pay ratios are often greater than one-thousand-to-one.
- I resent that my electoral government and capitalist corporations have merged -- are basically interwoven threads of the same corrupting fabric of minimally regulated, under-taxed capitalism that has never produced any meaningful economic outcome except the one-percent-club and everyone else.
- I resent that corruption and concentration of power is so great today that I see little difference between my country (where all my life I was taught I was free to choose my destiny) and Ronald Reagan's former evil empire, the Soviet Union. I resent that today, my nation is a soft neo-fascist State ruled by oligarchs and aparatchiks, with a collapsing national currency, with its economic vitality drained to further enrich the top one percent -- and inching ever closer to the old Soviet adage of "you pretend to pay us and we pretend to work." In other words, I resent working to stay poor.
- I resent that my Grandfather's America is gone and that my Father's America, built from post-WWII Baby Boom optimism (resulting undoubtedly from basic survival in the face of incomprehensible war and death) has produced little more than a morally and intellectually deteriorating materialist society consisting of desolate highways between myriad, sprawling suburban tracts surrounding rotting city cores . That I, like most American citizens, am simply caught up -- distracted if you will -- in my own inevitable self-burial under a seemingly endless supply of new and improved consumer goods, manufactured elsewhere by workers like me, earning slave wages.
- Finally, I resent that amoral ambition is so frighteningly overrated while happiness -- or simply sustainability -- is so vastly underrated, by Capitalism.
War, for lack of a better term, is good. The Cold War. The War on Terror. These are not wars but rather insidious advertising campaigns designed to engender permanent obligation on the part of citizens -- to a government and multi-national corporate Military Industrial Complex.
In the modern world, War is nothing more than government/corporate-induced plague. And we as citizens are both ignorant and foolish for yielding to the illusion of its necessity.
First, we are ignorant (from a basic statistical standpoint) for panicking at every incident of unrest anywhere on this planet. Second, we are fools for queuing like cows in chutes to the killing floor to die en masse for essentially capitalistic and corporate goals masked by sick jingoism ("...the people who knocked down these buildings [will] hear all of us soon.") -- for swearing oaths (I am a veteran of the U.S military, by the way) of servitude to governments no smarter (only more cynical and manipulative) or omniscient than ourselves.
In rational -- and later technological -- terms, Nietzsche may very well have killed God, but his fake Church and his lying State (Stendhal's Red and Black) are ever prospering on Planet Earth -- at the expense of every living, especially thinking, thing!