I’ve always been fascinated by understanding how our world really works. Not the bedtime stories told by our parents, teachers and corporate media talking-heads but the real events that shape our world. It’s why I try to read everything I can get my hands on from a disparate variety of sources.
These bedtime stories, better known as propaganda, buttress the official narrative promulgated by our corporate deep-state. Unfortunately, the political, economic and media elite have come to believe this propaganda after decades of marinating in it.
Thus, no viable ideas or solutions to the current unfolding economic, social and cultural catastrophe can originate within this elite, who see the world only through a New York Times or Washington Post lens.
Instead the elite are solely focused on maintaining their wealth, power and status as America disintegrates. And why wouldn’t they? Generations of bi-partisan economic policies have left the 1% not only in possession of massively increased wealth, but also political power.
Time magazine’s article on this dynamic is remarkably direct: The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90% — And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure.
“The $50 trillion transfer of wealth the RAND report documents has occurred entirely within the American economy, not between it and its trading partners. No, this upward redistribution of income, wealth, and power wasn’t inevitable; it was a choice–a direct result of the trickle-down policies we chose to implement since 1975.
We chose to cut taxes on billionaires and to deregulate the financial industry. We chose to allow CEOs to manipulate share prices through stock buybacks, and to lavishly reward themselves with the proceeds. We chose to permit giant corporations, through mergers and acquisitions, to accumulate the vast monopoly power necessary to dictate both prices charged and wages paid. We chose to erode the minimum wage and the overtime threshold and the bargaining power of labor. For four decades, we chose to elect political leaders who put the material interests of the rich and powerful above those of the American people.”
For our corporate media the focus is not on the way in which our country has been looted but on how they as the gatekeepers are being disrespected. Seriously. You can’t make this shit up.
I think it’s a little too late for that nonsense. Most Americans have lost faith in the feral elite and their institutions. Going further, they’ve come to understand that traditional news outlets like the Times and Post have become tools of the very corporate and political interests they’re supposed to be overseeing. Indeed, the corporate media has become increasingly, arrogantly dysfunctional as traditional competition in the form of local newspapers and urban alt-weeklies has died out.
Americans increasingly sense the vast betrayal. In the middle of a pandemic they feel vulnerable and afraid. More than that they feel an inchoate rage at being abandoned by their putative leaders. People give different reasons for that unhappiness but the broad mass of America is getting pretty ready to rip the place apart. This rage is often expressed as hatred of foreigners or those who are different or vengeance against scapegoats, religious and ethnic chauvinism and nihilistic violence. It drives the tribal hatred that powers both sides of the corporate media, who monetizes this hate to sell ads. It drives Americans into the arms of rancid and insincere populists like Donald Trump.
The Biden administration, in the thrall of neoliberal Austerians, has reduced the promised checks from $2000 to $1400 that will be means-tested. The eviction and foreclosure bans, debt relief and enhanced unemployment insurance are all about to end, replaced with nothing. The gig economy appears to be the future of work, fueled by the recent California Proposition 22. Millions will lose healthcare.
And now, just in time, the liberal intelligentsia has proclaimed that the real villain is Dr. Seuss.
Unfortunately it’s a dangerous time to be such a trenchant critic. The last 4 years of the Trump administration have demonstrated that any person criticizing America along similar lines, must therefore be a Russian agent or a traitor or, worst of all–on the path towards radicalization. For example, in America, you cannot be patriotic while condemning neoliberal capitalism or the frequent wars for empire, and it is distinctly unpatriotic to express a wish for a single-payer healthcare system or to protest against the banksters who caused much of the population to lose their homes in 2008.
Yet, to fail to act, and to protest this state of affairs is a form of spiritual death. It means succumbing to nihilism, cynicism and ultimately numbness, robbing us of our humanity. It’s to be an accomplice.
To refuse to cooperate and protest is the path to maintaining our humanity, our personal autonomy and life itself. Rebellion is its own justification, especially against the theatre of cruelty our feral elite have constructed to oppress us. Rebellion helps keep alive the hope that there can be an alternative.