A truth’s initial commotion is directly proportional to how deeply the lie was believed. It wasn’t the world being round that agitated people, but that the world wasn’t flat. When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.
Any system ruled by humans, no matter how perfect in theory, will be ruled by greed. It is difficult, though, for intellectuals to see themselves in the ranks of the greedy, as members of the unenlightened. Once they see themselves as enlightened it is easy for them to imagine an authoritarian government in the hands of similarly enlightened people – Plato’s philosopher-kings.
==America’s Forgotten History, Part 2: Rupture (Mark David Ledbetter)
Individual men may be moral in the sense that they are able to consider interests other than their own in determining problems of conduct, and are capable, on occasion, of preferring the advantages of others to their own. They are endowed by nature with a measure of sympathy and consideration for their kind, the breadth of which may be extended by an astute social pedagogy. Their rational faculty prompts them to a sense of justice which educational discipline may refine and purge of egoistic elements until they are able to view a social situation, in which their own interests are involved, with a fair measure of objectivity. But all these achievements are more difficult, if not impossible, for human societies and social groups. In every human group there is less reason to guide and to check impulse, less capacity for self-transcendence, less ability to comprehend the needs of others and therefore more unrestrained egoism than the individuals, who compose the group, reveal in their personal relationships.
The inferiority of the morality of groups to that of individuals is due in part to the difficulty of establishing a rational social force which is powerful enough to cope with the natural impulses by which society achieves its cohesion; but in part it is merely the revelation of a collective egoism, compounded of the egoistic impulses of individuals, which achieve a more vivid expression and a more cumulative effect when they are united in a common impulse than when they express themselves separately and discreetly.
==Reinhold Niebuhr: Major Works on Religion and Politics: (Library of America #263) (Niebuhr, Reinhold)
Unless there is a catalyst that can arouse the American people to a revolt bordering on the bloody, there is zero doubt that all of the “free” trade deals that have been in the works long before the Obama took his turn on the throne of the American Empire will become not only the law of this formerly geographically and culturally defined nation-state called America, but the law of all the lands. Designed by and for the transnational corporate and power elites the TPP and its less discussed twin the Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership should go down as one of the most egregious acts of treason in American history.
However, most likely the history that will be written ages from now will be produced from the minds of collectivist slaves of a world order who will have no idea what it was like to be part of the American nation or understand the importance of personal freedom and the rights of the individual over the collective, over the giant transnational corporate Leviathans that will rule their world. By decree of the transnational elites that rule or by total mental assimilation into the ant farm of humanity serving them, the coming inevitable passages of these “trade” pacts will be heralded as the blessed end to national sovereignty and the true start of the new era. It has been rightfully said that history is written by its victors. It is damn apparent to me, at least, that this history has been written for some time now.
We are entering the terminal phase of finance capitalism and its credit induced over-consumptive binging , but the elites must continue to rip apart any barriers to capitalist accumulation, the securitization of everything and induce, by gentle means or coercion, the continued mindlessly voracious consumptive appetites of the masses. The vast majority of the citizens of America, indeed, the entire world serve only as wealth producing vehicles for the transnationalist state power-capitalist classes and the global bureaucratic sycophants that support them.
These are not free markets being pursued, these are transnational, state supported, crony capitalist architectures that not only will destroy the remaining vestiges of our national civilization, they are intended to further subjugate the workers of America and the world to the total control of the largest, interlocked transnational corporations. The Orwellian proletarianization of the world.
Crisis of the magnitude we are now immersed in are, unfortunately, not just multi-generational for there are far larger cycles in play here as well. The fall of Rome and the subsequent Dark Ages, the Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution and the explosive growth of market based capitalist economies, and more recently the destruction of free markets under the Schumpeterian self-destructive iron hand of capitalism and democracy that inevitably fosters autocracy. Not the autocracy of the last age, nor the fascism of the 20th century we are accustomed to, but one defined by an all powerful ruling, global elite whose collective wealth and power dwarf all rulers of past history. And do so in an accepted, almost blindly welcomed manner by those who have become their servants.
Major turning points in the history of civilizations have one constant that makes all crises similar: the human response to them. This does remain the one eternal cord tying us to the past. Societies and nations evolve, as do their socioeconomic constructs and ideologies, but humankind remains rather constant over many, many millennia.
Thus, regardless of the original catalysts or the unique dynamics of the challenges we face as a nation and as a civilization, it is the seemingly repetitive response to such crises that are likely to reconstruct past civilizations behavioral patterns. If, history were to play out, a period of authoritarian suffering will lay ahead of us as well as war and social upheaval.
If we do not awaken from our lobotomized, brainwashed somnolence prior to the full implementation of the control systems of our dystopian future soon, the length of our New Dark Ages could be beyond any of our lifetimes. If we fight, now or relatively soon, as the financial and socioeconomic world continues into an accelerated planned implosion, we may have a chance of recovering what was once ours; our freedom and our God given rights as individual human beings. Paying for the stupidity of our past is our just due, paying for the mistakes we are likely still to make is what we all should be trying to prevent. History does not give us much chance at being successful, I am sorry to say.
Charles Dickens’ Scrooge is, in many ways a truly modern character, but certainly so in his understanding of his own power to change his seemingly ordained future. Scrooge, after a terrifying evening of ghosts and visions, says to the last ghost, the ghost of Christmas future, “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?” Fortunately, for the old miser it was the latter.
But today we tend not even to ask this simple question, for we know with an almost overweening sense of certitude that we can always change our course and that no fate is set in stone, even those that may seem so intractable. A culturally instilled self-confidence that emerged to counter the concept of predestination only a few hundred years ago has become an absurdly arrogant sense of unlimited hubris; it drives “modern” civilization to a belief in the inevitability of progress and a total disregard for our collective fallibility.
More dangerously, this sense of our ability to shape our destiny, regardless of how difficult the task appears, has led to a dangerous complacency about unsustainable, self-destructive national pursuits, bordering on the surreal. It also blinds most of us to the destructive power grab that has been going on over the past 30-40 years, if not longer, by the power elites of wealth and state as we are lulled into a totally false sense of our ability to collectively act.
“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,’ said Scrooge.’ But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. — Say it is thus with what you show me.”
We have learned to disregard the voices of caution of even the most prominent Cassandra’s of doom, despite the fact that even Cassandra was ultimately proven correct in her fateful visions. What basis, even in our recent past, allows any of us this sense of calm or of overconfidence, in the belief that we can work ourselves out of this morass without substantially more pain and disruption than we have yet experienced?
For history has proven, repeatedly, that confidence can be horribly and disastrously misplaced. America is not the only nation that has become infected with this perilous disease of overconfidence; it is Europe, it is the whole edifice of Western civilization. Once this misplaced faith in our ability to respond under pressure to threats from within and without our national borders, both real or fictitious, becomes ubiquitously obviously false, the rationale for our existing form of governance will be questioned and attacked, perhaps violently. The solutions given to us by those in power will be only lead to our further enslavement.
The foundations of American exceptionalism have been eroding for over a century through subtle, then blatant, empire building and a steady desecration of the institutional framework designed by the nation’s founders to protect America from itself. With Empire comes arrogance, concentrations of inbred power, supporting belief structures and historical amnesia.
Empire has also sown the seeds of the militarization of our nation, a massive increase in a sub-rosa intelligence community and a mentality of secrecy, concealment and deceit permeating our government. But, we live under more than an empire of the State, we live under the empire of Capital, of state supported crony capitalism whose ultimate goal is the destruction of free markets and of freedom itself.
I have said over the past several years that the social, economic and political crisis this nation is facing will be as severe a test as any we have faced before, even that of the Civil War or Great Depression. Less bloody than the former it may be, but very likely as serious a test to the perpetuation of America’s foundational principles. The total picture has become so complex, with so many interrelated parts that it is a Gestalt; the holistic whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Moreover, it is global, it is Transnational.
Most who opine on the clear dangers from specific policies and socioeconomic dysfunctions are, by the nature of their area of expertise and focus, unable to grasp the full extent and enormity of the overarching problems we face. We are using anachronistic tools to describe an emergent phenomenon, a new world order with tectonic cultural, civilization and socioeconomically disruptive power shifts.
I believe that mature, long established capitalism thrives best without free markets, but free markets absolutely require capitalism. So therefore, all capitalist economies are not remotely free market economies, but all free market economies require some form of capitalism to function. In fact, it can be said that capitalism ultimately devours free markets as the concentration of wealth leads to an equal concentration of political power, power that is actively wielded to further reduce the unpleasant pretenses of competitive open markets. Call it crony capitalism if you like; personally, that phrase does not go remotely far enough. I call it Fascism, the marriage of the state and corporate interests.
We, the United States of America are a Fascist State. Furthermore, we risk migrating to a more pronounced, more overt and controlling marriage as power remains unchecked by the people of this country, and that would be full-blown totalitarianism. Do not dismiss this idea. It is foolhardy to believe that we as a people, as members of the same human race as those in Germany in the 1930’s or Italy in the 1920’s are immune from the same trauma induced frailties. They were also card-carrying members of the same club, Homo-sapiens
Few seem to truly grasp the holistic picture, the Gestalt that is this crisis, both domestically and globally. For it ultimately is a crisis of transnational finance capitalism vs. free markets, democracy, or even, yes socialism. The crisis had to be global in nature. It had to encompass all nations that embraced the siren song of American style finance capitalism, albeit with a crony and fascist bent. We needed to infect the whole world with credit, consumerism and financial markets increasingly devoid of functional purpose.
Trying to put out small fires in the hopes that the larger conflagration will burn itself out and all will resume as it was before is not only ineffective, but also patently delusional. A man deep in the woods that hears the sound of a chainsaw, sees the resultant felling of the tree nearby, is going to be more focused on the trees immediately around him and less likely to be concerned about the whole forest. It would appear that that the whole world seems to be making the same mistake, a failure to admit the magnitude of the problem and to face the truth. The truth that most of humanity is being deceived, deluded and coerced by an increasingly concentrated system of global capitalist and bureaucratic elites that have little to no real empathy for the destruction of the social, legal and moral bindings that have supported and protected the rights and liberties Americans and the citizens of the West for hundreds of years. Forget the brush fires and the trees being felled nearby, worry about the whole forest, for there is a damn good chance it is going to go up in flames.
A crisis of political accountability besets contemporary democracy. Mounting evidence suggests that elections, even “free and fair” ones, do not elevate to office individuals who are especially responsive to the political aspirations and expectations of their constituents. Moreover, democratic governments seem decreasingly adept at preventing society’s wealthiest members from wielding excessive influence over law and policy making. Rather than facilitating popular rule, electoral democracies appear to permit and perhaps even encourage political and economic elites to enrich themselves at the public’s expense and encroach upon the liberty of ordinary citizens. The inability of citizens to control the behavior of public officials and counteract the power and privilege of the wealthy poses a grave threat to the quality of political representation today; it severely debilitates conditions of liberty and equality within the republics of our age.
==Machiavellian Democracy, John P. McCormick
“Our enormously productive economy…demands that we make consumption our way of life that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.”
Victor Lebow, Economist, Congressional testimony, 1955:
The Chairman of Eisenhower’s Council of Economic Advisors, Arthur F. Burns, seemed to buy this hook, line and sinker and canonized the new economic gospel by stating: ―”The American economy’s ultimate purpose is to produce more Consumer goods.”
Look around you. From now on, it gets worse. In ten years’ time, there will be no American Dream, any more than there’s a Greek or Portuguese Dream. In twenty, you’ll be living the American Nightmare, with large tracts of the country reduced to the favelas of Latin America, the rich fleeing for Bermuda or New Zealand or wherever on the planet they can buy a little time, and the rest trapped in the impoverished, violent, diseased ruins of Utopian vanity.
== After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, Mark Steyn
One can only hope
“We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in a position of global strength. If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will. And they’ll write those rules in a way that gives Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand.”
Barack Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a Speech at Nike Factory in Oregon, May 8, 2015
Those very few words of Obama’s, his most widely circulated PR effort to garner support for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and thoroughly representative of the thinking of our imperial elite, are so revealing, so wrong and so dangerous on so many levels that one scarcely knows where to begin. In fact they carry the seeds of our destruction.[gview file=”http://www.troutinmilk.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Win-Lose-is-Lose-Lose-in-the-21st-Century.pdf”]
This is just pure gangster tactics on full display under the “progressive” party of the New Fascist Dems Coalition headed by none other than ObamaGod himself. It’s quite sickening when you think about it. Seems like it belongs more on Game of Thrones than Capitol Hill, but there you have it. Blackmailing senators in order to push the fascist corporate Bill of Rights down the throats of people in this country seems almost normal in ‘Merika these days, doesn’t it?